By Sgt. Ricardo Branch, 8th Theater Sustainment Public AffairsJanuary 30, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hi. - Soldiers and family members of U.S. Army, Hawaii were given a rare treat when the "Ace of Cakes" television cast and crew arrived to film their season finale Jan. 26 through 29 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The show's season finale is the casts' opportunity to pay tribute to the fighting men and women of the Army with a special cake honoring their service and sacrifice to their country. The "Ace of Cakes" crew set up shop in an Army dining facility here to begin the big task of making their last cake for the season.
"We wanted to come and say thank you in our own special way," said Chef Jeffrey "Duff" Goldman, host of the popular "Ace of Cakes" television show on the Food Network channel. "They (Soldiers) make it possible for us to do what we do. "
During the finale, the cast worked alongside the cooks and food service specialists stationed on O'ahu to prepare a special UH-60 Blackhawk cake for the show to present to Soldiers and family members in U.S. Army, Hawaii. The Army cooks had the unique opportunity to work with fondant, a special filling or coating used in cake decorating during their participation in the creation of the Army cake.
"It was great to work alongside them," said Private Martin Polk, 57th Military Police Co., food service specialist. "I have never really baked before, but I learned a lot of decorating techniques with fondant and that was pretty cool."
The atmosphere with the cast and cameras around was busy but not as stressful as some of the Soldiers would imagine inside the inner workings of a television show.
"They (Ace of Cakes crew) are still down-to-earth people," said Spc. Thomas Richberg, 558th Military Police Co., food service specialist. "They spend a lot of detail on all the projects they work on and you can see that with the Blackhawk cake."
Duff and his staff spent three days working in the tropical air to prepare their culinary work of art for Thursday's presentation to the community at the Tropics Club. Their preparation for the Blackhawk helicopter cake involved extensive photos along with a ride around the island.
"The ride was awesome," Duff said. "You could see surfers, the water and it was great."
After the flight, Duff set to work preparing the cake, which became a test of his ability in the short time on Hawaii. The "Ace of Cakes" crew also created a cake for the cast and crew of the hit television show "Lost" while in Hawaii.
"Baking the cake here was a challenge. Sugar is very hydroscopic and will suck all the moisture out of the air, which makes baking in Hawaii very tough," Duff said.
When the cake was finally unveiled to the "Army Strong" theme, the applause echoed through the rafters. Each member witnessing the event was amazed at the work done in a short span and sent a heartfelt thanks to the crew of "Ace of Cakes."
"This is definitely the MOAC, or the Mother Of All Cakes," said MG Raymond V. Mason, commanding general, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. "On behalf of United States Army, Hawaii, I'd like to thank Duff and the crew of Ace of Cakes for their support of the Soldiers and Family members throughout our military."
"By the response today, we know that we made you smile and leave happy and that's rewarding for us," said Duff.
"It shows he (Duff) really loves the Army," said Joe Slivestre, a local Hawaiian employee from the Cornerstone Air Conditioning Company. "By him coming all the way out here, it shows he cares and does what he can to support the Army."
Following the unveiling, the Ace of Cakes cast and crew participated in a meet and greet for the people who attended the event. Approximately 1,500 people from the community came down to see Duff and his crew and serve as a testament to the Army's appreciation to a job well done, or in the Ace's of Cakes case, well served.