Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Innovation Charm

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Occasionally in my writing I’ll make mention of or dedicate an entire post to a specific product, service, or company. Not because I have something to promote or gain by doing so, but rather simply because I find the subject somehow innovative, intriguing, or inspiring. This is one of those posts.

Because I don’t consider myself a Foodie, I feel comfortable saying The Food Network isn’t just for Foodies. I enjoy The Food Network. I can tune in to this channel at almost any time of day and find myself captivated. Over the last four and half years or so, one show in particular has been a true pleasure to watch – Ace of Cakes, which features Duff Goldman and the crew at Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, MD.

For those unfamiliar with the show, here’s a brief description from The Food Network website:
Shaping cakes with drill saws and blowtorches, and staffing his bakery with fellow rock musicians, he's not your typical baker. However, he's one of the most sought-after decorative cake makers in the country. Every week at Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, [Chef Duff] and his team of artists try to meet the demands of creating up to 20 cakes a week, some of which take up to 29 hours to build! From a tilted Dr. Seuss-like seven-tiered wedding cake to an almost perfect replica of Wrigley Field, Duff can build it. Go behind the scenes to see how he and his fellow cake bakers dish up sugar and spice in the most unexpected and entertaining ways.

In addition to simply being entertaining, one can’t help be amazed at the innovative cakes themselves – flavors, colors, shapes, techniques. It’s edible art. Take a peek at some pictures on their website gallery and tell me you’re not amazed.


Although the crew at Charm City Cakes will continue making, baking, and having fun for quite some time I imagine, the upcoming season of Ace of Cakes, which begins in January on The Food Network, will be the show’s last. If you haven’t seen the show before, you might want to check it out.

I think what has gotten me hooked into watching Ace of Cakes on a fairly regular basis, and what I believe infuses the innovative nature of the business itself is the passion exuded by the Charm City Cakes crew. I’ve written about it before, and I imagine I’ll write about it again. Passion is necessary for innovation.

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