Alaska proves to be a mountain of inspiration for Chef Duff Goldman on Sunday, July 19, during a sneak preview of the Food Network's "Ace of Cakes" season premiere at 9 p.m. AST.
The Food Network star traveled to the 49th state in April, on behalf of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, before creating a cake for the association's annual New York City media event. Goldman's experiences in Alaska and at the event were filmed for the hour-long episode, also airing on Thursday, July 23, and Tuesday, July 28.
While in Alaska, Goldman visited Anchorage, Girdwood and Whittier. He went flightseeing with Rust's Flying Service, heli-boarding with Chugach Powder Guides and dog mushing with Ididaride Sled Dog Tours. He visited the Alaska Native Heritage Center and spent time in the Alyeska Resort's Seven Glaciers kitchen with Chef Tanner Exposito. He even jumped into Prince William Sound from the dock in Whittier. To top it all off, he performed with his band, soihadto, at the Spenard Roadhouse.
"Alaska is my dream state," Goldman said. "I experienced a year's worth of mind candy in five days and I feel like I only scratched the surface. I could keep going back for the rest of my life and do something different every time."
Once Goldman returned to his Baltimore bakery, Charm City Cakes, he turned all of his experiences into design elements for a giant cake, the base of which was shaped like Mount McKinley. The cake was a tribute to the state's 50th anniversary.
"My trip to Alaska was a real adventure in the truest sense of the word and I tried to tell that story with the cake that I made," he said.
Goldman presented the cake to ATIA amidst members of the travel media in New York City.
"We knew if Duff came to Alaska, he'd be inspired," said Ron Peck, president and COO of ATIA. "It was really exciting to see his creative mind translate our state into this masterpiece of a cake."
ATIA seeks national exposure of the state's travel industry as a part of its marketing program. The association is a non-profit, membership-based organization comprising all facets of Alaska's visitor industry and representing over 1,100 large and small travel-related businesses. The association serves as the voice of Alaska's tourism industry and maintains the TravelAlaska.com Web site for visitors traveling to the state.