How Duff Goldman Really Got His Nickname

Duff Goldman always seemed like such a cool guy on Food Network's Ace of Cakes. Like, here's this big biker-looking dude, and yet instead of working on motorcycles or being a tattoo artist or some other suitably macho reality TV job, he's in the kitchen putting an insane amount of effort into decorating pastry. Of course, Duff being Duff, he didn't limit himself to using piping bags and fondant molds. Instead, he injected a certain level of badassery into his baking by employing drill saws and blowtorches to create some truly mind-blowing confections at Charm City Cakes.

One thing we always wondered about him, though — what's up with that name? Surely his parents couldn't actually have christened him "Duff," could they? Is it short for Duffy? Or is it short for "get off your duff?" 

No, none of the above. There's actually a cute and innocuous story behind Mr. Goldman's name.

Duff shares his story

Duff's real name is Jeffrey, and this celebrity chef is actually a nice Jewish boy from Michigan who started cooking at the age of 4. He told an audience of Cornell students that his first bakery job — which involved making bagels — was one he took to pay for the spray paint he needed in his second (now abandoned ) career as a teenage graffiti artist (via The Cornell Daily Sun).

As to how he got his nickname, he revealed this on Twitter — and it's a name origin story many of us share, involving an older sibling's failed attempt at pronunciation. As Duff puts it, "My older brother couldn't say 'Jeffrey' when my mom brought me home from the hospital. He kept calling me 'Duffy.' It stuck." One presumes he dropped the "y" at some later date to mark his transition to manhood in a way that even a bar mitzvah couldn't do. Still, the name "Duff" has now taken on new associations of its own, as it will forevermore be associated with the man who made cake decorating cool.