'Duff's Happy Fun Bake Time' - The baker turns educator
Duff Goldman wants to make the science behind cooking and baking fun and interesting, which is why he’s stepping out of his comfort zone to explain it all on “Duff’s Happy Fun Bake Time.”
Part kids show, part cooking instruction, the currently streaming discovery+ series finds the baker and “Ace of Cakes” personality in his laboratory kitchen with his puppet crew from The Jim Henson Company creating delicious dishes and explaining how the various ingredients interact with heat and one another to produce the final product.
It’s an idea that came to Goldman, a new father, as he was watching “Sesame Street” and he came up with sketches of characters, which he then brought to the Henson people. They liked it and a show was born, thus putting Goldman in the decidedly unfamiliar role of acting opposite puppets.
“I’m just a guy on TV that makes cakes,” he says. “And so having a script and having lines and having to do acting was definitely not in my comfort zone. But working with The Jim Henson Company and everybody … (they’re) not only pros in their craft at operating puppets and making them come to life but also pros at just improv comedy. And for somebody like me who has never done anything like this, having people that are amazing at what they do around you, they just make you good.”
So the six episodes, Goldman says, work on two levels. For kids, it’s a zany adventure with Henson characters. But for adults seeking food knowledge, there are lessons on fundamental techniques and, of course, recipes, many of which are Goldman’s.
“We also are taking people through the science behind what it is that we’re doing, like why certain things happen,” he explains. “Why do you put eggs in cake batter? What’s the point? Can you make it without eggs? And then we show people what happens when you make it without eggs and we explain what the egg is and what it does in the cake batter recipe and why protein is important and why the fat is important. You know, we sort of illustrate all these things.”
For someone who has been through culinary school, read myriad textbooks and understands how the chemistry and physics behind cooking and baking can put people off, presenting that information in an accessible way was key.
“If you have a bunch of puppets and you turn whatever concept into a story,” he says, “people are just going to be like, ‘This is so cool! This is fascinating! I had no idea chocolate was this complex.’ “