Monday, December 3, 2007

Starting Off with a Bang

Hey, remember how I wanted to be all "Happy, Happy, Joy!" this month? Let's kick it off with a little groupie moment in the spotlight.

I am a huge fan of the Food Network Show "Ace of Cakes". I love the show and Duff, Mary Alice and Geoff are my favorite imaginary co-workers. My husband and I have turned into groupies from afar. Recently a friend of mine had a cake from Charm City for her husband's birthday and raved about how cool and down-to-earth Duff and Mary Alice were. So imagine my excitement when I contacted the folks at "Charm City Cakes" and Mary Alice agreed to do an interview with me for that other site I occasionally write for, DC Metro Moms.

Due to her crazy schedule, we did it via several emails, but let me tell you that Mary Alice even gives good email. You can check out "Ace of Cakes" on Thursday at 10pm Eastern on Food Network, and find out more about Charm City Cakes here.


How did the Big Three (Duff, Mary Alice and Geoff) come together?We all met in college at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), over 13 years ago. We've been close friends since then. Geof was Duff's first employee (around 2001), he had been working at an architectural modeling firm and wanted a change...his building and engineering skills transferred well to cake. I came to work at the bakery about 3 years ago, I was burned out working for non-profits and Duff needed a full-time administrative type. It was the best pay cut I ever took!

Can you give me a rough idea of what life was like pre- "Ace of Cakes" versus now? Things within the bakery have not changed much for the decorators or Duff. Since the show started airing, my job has been the most affected. Before the show, I would "finish" my job in the afternoon and help decorate there is no such thing as finished! The number of emails, phone calls, and stuff I have to deal with has increased exponentially since the show started. I now have a full-time partner in management crime, Jessica. We still do the same number of cakes, but now we book out a LOT further then we used to. Right now we're booked through the middle of March, whereas two years ago we'd be booked out maybe 2-3 weeks. Our staff has increased steadily, but I think we've really sort of hit the perfect sweet spot of number of employees and number of cakes per week.
Life outside the bakery has changed a lot, for all of us, but particularly Duff. He can't go anywhere now without being recognized (someone asked him for an autograph last week while he was changing a flat tire on the side of the road!) and it's pretty amazing.

My nephews are crazy about "Ace of Cakes" and think Duff is a rockstar. While I am rather sweet on Duff too, my friends and I all love you and Geoff's dry sidebars. What was your first "Rockstar" moment once the show started?
My biggest "woah" moment came when I saw a full-page ad for season 2 of the show in rolling stone magazine. That just blew my freaking mind, seeing my own face there. The first time someone asked me for an autograph was pretty surreal, too.

Every office I have ever worked in did the obligatory 3:00pm-cake-and-awkward- conversation-in-the-breakroom for someone's birthday, how do you celebrate at CCC? Is everyone sick of cake?Yeah, we don't really do cake for birthdays! We've done ice cream cake, pie, cookies, anything but cake! We usually celebrate with a dessert break ... Mary Smith inevitably puts on "Birthday" by the Beatles really really loud on the stereo, too.

Every time Duff lets out one of those great belly laughs, I think that I would scrub toilets to work for a boss like that. Is he as easy to work for as he appears to be on the show?Absolutely, he is hands down the world's greatest boss. I mean that. We do, of course, have our bad days and spats and typical work-related frustrations, but at the end of the day I count my blessings.

Charm City Cakes is so quintessentially Baltimore, but every episode the orders seem to come from farther afield. Are there plans to expand beyond the Beltway? Is there a Charm City Cakes night on QVC in your future?We have no plans to franchise or expand. We love Charm City and don't think we could replicate the particular perfect storm of staff talent we have going on here. We have a good niche in our geographical area, there are lots and lots of really amazingly talented decorators in other cities whose toes we wouldn't want to step on.

If you hadn't joined Duff and CCC, what would you be doing now? Without sounding like your guidance counselor, where do you see yourself in 5 years? If I hadn't have come to work for Duff I would have jumped off a bridge about 3 years ago! In my former life I worked in marketing and communications for a few different non-profit organizations. I never really "fit it" to corporate culture and had a hard time "settling down" to one thing...I get bored so easily! That is definitely not a problem here at the bakery. Five years from now I see myself at the bakery, hopefully with a new computer and maybe with a little mini-me under the desk!

Will there ever be an "Ace of Cakes' un-edited directors cut DVD?The production company has joked about that before, we'd love to see one. It's a good thing we're on the Food Network because we do tend to have potty mouths around here...I'd be mortified if my mother heard how I talk sometimes. So, yay for censoring! But also, there is always SO much stuff that goes on here that doesn't make it to the show (for each episode they turn seven days into twenty-three minutes!) so I would love for them to be able to show some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, and more of us being goofy. I like the goofy bits best.

My husband has a milestone birthday coming up in three years. Do I need to order his cake now?My motto is: there is no such thing as too early! But we actually don't even have a 2009 calendar yet to write anything in, so your safe for the time being.

1 comment:

Binky said...

Ooh, a celebrity interview! I like it.