Reader Essay: Geof Manthorne on life after 'Ace of Cakes'
Apr 24, 2012 | 4:25 PM
"Ace of Cakes,"a Food Network favorite, followed Remington's Charm City Cakes through 10 seasons of stress and laughter. Owner Duff Goldman and his talented team introduced viewers to the fast-paced world of custom cake-making, creating edible masterpieces such as the Hogwarts castle for the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and a replica of Radio City Music Hall for the Rockettes. Now, a year after the show's final season and currently busy with a new line of wedding cakes, executive chef Geof Manthorne, 37, reflects on life after the show, how the staff has changed and the future of Charm City Cakes.
- Ruth Chen
Can we sleep now?
That's what I was thinking after that last day of filming "Ace of Cakes" in New York for the 25th anniversary of "Back to the Future." But it was back to work on Monday for the next week's orders. It sums up how I felt about our show — one incredible experience after another.
I miss the Food Network. I really do. And sometimes I don't. The bakery is once again a bakery, though not without its nuances. The film crew's room has been replaced — on one side, a nursery for Mary Alice's baby; on the other side, bakery supplies. Recently, we achieved our dotcom dream of having a foosball table.
The cameras and the mics are gone. I no longer have to walk anyone through the steps of whatever I'm doing. The creativity still flows, but from a different, unprompted direction. We're focusing on our craft and constantly challenging ourselves.
It's been an exciting and productive year since the show ended. The bakers and cake decorators now have the time and freedom to experiment and grow without the scrutiny of a lens and the hundreds of viewers. The Charm City Cakes test kitchen is in full swing. There are new flavors — lavender and honey, maple cinnamon swirl, passionfruit and others yet to be tested. Our artists are taking classes in different media to expand their knowledge.
Half of our staff has left to open up shop in Los Angeles. It was bittersweet, an end to an era and a new beginning — for both camps — East and West. Through the expansion, we've tried to stay as close as geography will allow. We will take our yearly staff vacation together and call each other up when we're having a tough time with a project or design.
Things have changed, but we're still Charm City Cakes. We still have the spirit that we started with 10 years ago. Our staff of talented artists still lingers over cake designs and still pulls together to help another decorator leave early for band practice, an installation or a show.