Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Charm City Cakes

About six months ago I was grabbing a coffee at the Common Ground on The Avenue in Hampden. It is two blocks from Stone Hill Farm. The woman behind me in line was Mary Alice from the Ace of Cakes show on the Food Network. Ever heard of it? I overheard her talking to the owner as I was waiting for my coffee. She had to wait for her bagel so we were just hangin' together. I introduced myself to her (shocking) and said I had been trying to get in touch with the bakery to shoot Duff Goldman for a video and other promotional idea for the tourism bureau. We exchanged business cards. 

A month ago I ran by the bakery to pick up a gift certificate and a signed book for a client.  I met Duff and Mary Alice and a guy named Jared. I brought them passes to the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show. Duff was so grateful and wanted to go to see the Wedgwood china. How cool is that? I sent Jared a note to follow up about how great it would be if Duff could do a Visit My Baltimore video. I knew Duff was beyond busy. Jared made it happen. I got our web director involved. He said we needed 15 minutes. The rest is history.

The camera crew got there to set up the lighting a little early. I arrived right at noon when I said we'd be there and the door situation was intense. They have people stalking the bakery all day. Seriously. People want to come in and visit them from all over the world. We saw four fans taking photos of the door in an hour. I helped some little bakery stalkers from out of town  just this past spring.

I've never seen a happier kid! Gregory wants to be a chef. Watches the Food Network like its his job. He's six. Or wait, is he seven? He did a report on his spring break about this visit.

I laid down on the ground to get this shot of the kids. Their parents thought I was crazy. Maybe a little. But look at those faces!!!

I rang the doorbell, gave my name and was let in...barely. Mary Alice recognized me when I arrived. That was a relief. There is an incredible, happy smell at Charm City Cakes. It smells like...birthdays. Sweet wholesome goodness. Candy. Frosting. Cake. All around goodness. My colleague Tom asked Jared if he ever gets sick of the smell and he said no. I mean, who could get sick of sweet dreams and birthdays?

I realize it is not my job to do anything with the video shoot, but since I hooked up our team, they let me crash the party. They were so professional and have shot all of our awesome videos.  Check out this one of Elmo!!! 

The bakery is just as fun as it seems on TV. Duff was throwing the football around in between working hard. You can tell everyone is really focused but they also have a ton of fun. Duff was such a natural in front of the camera. He LOVES Baltimore and it really showed. I can not wait to see what the team puts together. 

The is an office. There is a water cooler and places for the popcorn bucket that someone brought in from their vacation at the shore on the counter. The mailman arrived while we were there and I saw someone take out the trash when we left. These cakes were done by Katie Rose. I run into her everywhere and told her that I had seen her at Woodberry Kitchen a few times and thought she was a friend and then realized, "Oh my gosh, she is on that show." Hilarious. We chatted near the water cooler. She was so nice, down to earth and even complimented my grandmother's pearl ring. I've seen Elena on The Avenue and running in Wymann Park near Stone Hill. I've worked out on the treadmill next to Geoff at Meadow Mill. We are neighbors. It's cool.

Jared said that Katie Rose and Anna do the really intricate, artsy cakes. Katie Rose said she went to MICA and lives in Waverly. We talked about how awesome the Farmer's Market is and how neat it is to run into chef's there.

That's our producer shooting Mary Alice and Duff. She actually just helped our office get connected with the Charm City Roller Girls. She is hilarious and helpful. You can see the Remington neighborhood in this photo, but you can not see in. They have blacked out the windows for the camera crews and I'm sure so the stalkers can't really stalk. My little stalkers were too short to case the windows.

Duff then took the camera and filmed Katie Rose and his team. Elena is in the right corner and  Katherine is behind Duff's shoulder. She is the one that made the burger, fries and hot dog cake. I guess she is the food cake expert. That's Emma in the middle.  Notice the disco balls? Geoff sat way off to the right.

This was a tip for Duff from a guy he did a motorcycle cake for. Can you even believe that?

It was a pretty awesome day at the office. I wish they could all smell this good.

Thank you Jared for finally making this video shoot happen! I'm going to get gold stars for a few weeks at work and will have name dropping stories of the visit for years to come. Thanks for your time letting me talk you ear off and letting me take photos of everything. You rock!!! Mary Alice, you rock too. Thanks for all the emails and helping me with the gift for our client. This wouldn't have happened if you weren't as cool at the coffee shop. And Duff, your energy and enthusiasm is as real as it seems on TV. It was so nice hearing you talk about Baltimore. Charm City are where birthdays, bragging rights and sweet dreams come true. 

Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes
Click the photo to buy Duff's book. It rocks!!!


Ellen said...

Nelle, you do such a great job of blogging that for just a little bit every time I visit Stone Hill Farm I live vicariously through you :-) Thanks for brightening up this little corner of Kalamazoo! Techy question - how do I share this blog post with my niece who is training to be a pastry chef, works at Pasticerria Labriola in Wheaton, IL, and lives and breathes the Food Network?

Nelle Somerville said...

Thanks so much Sweet Ellen. I would click the title of this post and cut and paste the link in an email to your niece. You could also share it on your FB page. Glad Mom is back in the Zoo. We'll be home for Christmas. xoxo

Ella said...

I liked this. When will it be possible to see this video at Visit My Baltimore?

Nelle Somerville said...

Ella, I wish I knew!!! It was shot yesterday so with editing it could be a month??? I will definitely post when we have it. All the best to you and your family.

Bethany said...

Love love love this post!! The Russian nesting dolls cakes are beyond incredible. So exciting!

Anonymous said...

Soo good Nelle! I was totally the "stalker" outside of the bakery when we visited a couple of months ago! :) You have a VERY cool job miss lady and I truly enjoy reading all about the happenings in Stone Hill Farm! xoxo Maria

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Um...holy so much fun!! Looks like this most fabulous day at the office ever!