Tennis star's surprise donation ruins baker Duff Goldman's entrance

Navratilova's offer at charity ball like pie in face for 'Ace of Cakes' star

November 24, 2010|By Laura Vozzella, The Baltimore Sun

Pam Shriver put on a charity ball last week at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, and just as the live-auction portion of the evening was winding down, Martina Navratilova popped up and offered to donate tennis lessons to the highest bidder. Her surprise gesture brought in an extra $15,000 for cystic fibrosis research.

Sounds like a sweet ending to the evening. And it would have been, if celebrity baker Duff Goldman hadn't been cued at that very moment to make a grand, music-filled entrance on the stage to present Shriver with a cake.

Navratilova's donation "was not expected, and as you can imagine created a very uncomfortable position for the production team and Duff as the cake presentation had already started," the event organizers later explained in an e-mail to supporters and the media. "Unknowing the events that were to take place, Pam and Martina asked for the music to be stopped and for everyone to be quiet. It was an unfortunate conflict that could not be avoided."

The e-mail went on to say how sorry the organizers were, especially because the "Ace of Cakes" star and Charm City Cakes owner had "devoted a rare night off to be part of our special celebration."

"We apologize to Duff and his team and wanted you to know how generous and loyal he has been and how badly we feel that our surprise ended up the [way] it did."

Seems like a disappointing glitch, but was the botched entrance really such a big deal?

I'd hoped to ask Goldman about it, but he was on the road delivering a cake to Arizona. Charm City Cakes manager Mary Alice Yeskey didn't think he'd want to talk about it anyway.

"To be honest," she told me via e-mail, "I think he'd rather put the rather embarrassing incident behind him."

Putting his best foot forward

Otis Rolley, one of many people expected to challenge Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for mayor next year, would not be a newcomer to City Hall. He's worked under three mayors, from 1998 to 2007.

You can read all about it at, which declares his interest in being mayor and provides a link to his Wikipedia page. Just don't expect to see a lot of detail there about his work for Sheila Dixon.

Rolley was Dixon's chief of staff for 10 months, a gig that landed him on Baltimore magazine's list of the city's 50 most powerful people but merits just two sentences on a Wiki page that devotes a full nine to his high school career.

Is Rolley soft-pedaling his association with the disgraced Dixon?

"I don't see it as an issue, to be completely honest with you," Rolley told me. "I worked for [Martin] O'Malley for six years and the [Kurt] Schmoke administration for two years. There were countless administration officials —Josh Sharfstein [Dixon's health commissioner, who went on to become No. 2 at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration] — who did not get tarnished by what she did.

"And I left nine months before she was indicted. And for the record, they subpoenaed almost everyone and their mother, and I wasn't subpoenaed. I wasn't called into question, I wasn't called as a witness. I have no shame in the fact that I served the 48th mayor of the city of Baltimore. I am very much proud of what I did. … I think for those 10 months, I did an excellent job."

Foodies: Keep your heads down

On this day devoted to food and drink, here are a few words on the topic from Chris Coker, wine director at Bluegrass in South Baltimore. He opines on the use of the word "foodie" on an area of the restaurant's website called "Coker's Corner."

"When did it become okay to use the word Foodie and 'I don't like mushrooms' in the same sentence?" he writes. "If one has a list of foods that one does not eat and none of those foods cause one to go into anaphylactic shock then one is not a foodie. … Not everyone respects food, loves food and its myriad flavors, textures and sensations. If you don't like the texture of aspic then no, you are not a foodie!"

Got that?

Coker goes on to gripe about the fictional "Mr. and Mrs. Swank" who "eat out at all of the top restaurants. They order sweetbreads, know that they are not cinnamon rolls and truly enjoy the texture and flavor. … They have travelled to Thailand to walk in [Anthony] Bourdain's footsteps, yet if you mention going to Faidley's in Lexington Market or the best chili cheese dog you've ever had they [blanch] a queer color of translucent powder blue and giggle a haughty laugh. …They have never studied a lick of French but will say Chateauneuf-du-Papes as if they were born and raised in Avignon. … I feel as if I want to rip their lips off when they pronounce it Pinot Nowah, even though it is the correct pronunciation!"

I don't know about you, but if I find myself at Bluegrass, I'm definitely ordering the Pinot No-ar.

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