As a native of Massachusetts, celebrity chef Duff Goldman started playing hockey the way many in the Northeast do – on a frozen pond.
So when he had the chance to host a tailgate at the 2011 Winter Classic, the NHL’s annual outdoor event, Goldman knew he was part of something special.
“Seeing the NHL played outside is a fun thing,” he said. “It’s very mesmerizing. It opens the game up to a wider audience.”
This time Goldman, the founder of Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes made popular by the Food Network show “Ace of Cakes,” will be making an ice resurfacing machine chocolate cake painted in camouflage to honor military service and 500 cupcakes (300 with Washington Capitals decorations and 200 with Chicago Blackhawks decorations) to be displayed at Spectator Plaza prior to the game Thursday.
Goldman estimates that the cake weighs close to 45 pounds and will be approximately 3 1/2 feet long, nearly two feet wide and stand 2 1/2 feet tall. His team of four bakers, including him, started making the cake three days ago in Baltimore and plan on finishing the details on site at Nationals Park.
“D.C. is such a special place,” said Goldman, who lived on Capitol Hill in the early 2000s. “It means so much to so many people. Seeing this game with the backdrop as the seat of our government and the ballpark, I think, is going to be a really big deal.”
Because of his ties to New England, Goldman, who now splits his time between Baltimore and Los Angeles, is a diehard Boston Bruins fan. He created a life-size Stanley Cup cake to honor the Bruins’ title in 2011. And he says he dislikes only one team in the NHL — the Philadelphia Flyers, who eliminated the Bruins from the playoffs in 2010 after being down three games.
But more importantly, Goldman says, is that he’s a hockey fan. The 40-year-old, who played club hockey while attending college at Maryland-Baltimore County, owns hundreds of hockey jerseys and got a tattoo of a maple leaf on his arm after losing a bet that the United States would beat Canada in men’s ice hockey at the Sochi Winter Olympics. (Canada won 1-0 in the semifinals.)
“I love hockey as a sport and as a culture,” said Goldman, who acknowledged that the maple leaf tattoo could be confusing for some Bruins fans. “I’ll wait until 2018, when the U.S. will beat Canada to add an American eagle inside the tattoo, or something.”
As for the Capitals, Goldman admits that he hasn’t followed them closely but feels that the team “has a ton of talent” and is “always on the verge of being amazing before something happens to trip them up.”
He also expressed admiration for Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, calling him an “absolute powerhouse.”
Goldman, who started cooking when he was 4 years old and baking while he was a junior in college, plans on mingling with fans at Spectator Plaza all morning and hopes to get as close to the action as possible during the game.
“Honestly, I’m really supporting hockey,” he said, when asked if he had any rooting interest in the game. “I think that it’s great for people who haven’t seen hockey before. I’m just so excited to be there.”