Meet the Team
Terri Joyce: The Planner
Jim Goodman: Ukrop's Pastry Expert
Oddly enough, Ukrop's executive pastry chef Jim Goodman's passion for pastries began in the Marines. He joined the Marines in 1976 and was assigned the role of Baker. Goodman's relationship with Ukrop's began even earlier when he worked as a courtesy clerk at the Staples Mill location while he was in high school. Once he was honorably discharged from the Marines, Goodman returned to work for Ukrop's as a delivery driver for Dot's Pastry Shop. Since then he's worked in almost every aspect of Ukrop's Bakery. Goodman trained with master baker Bill Dvorak of Dot's Pastry Shop and with certified Master Pastry Chef Otto Bernet and he's currently a certified Executive Pastry Chef. He's also Vice President of the Virginia Chef's Association, chairman and organizer of the Annual Chocolate Festival and chairman of the Otto Bernet Memorial Scholarship Committee.
Goodman's obviously got the stats to prove his expertise, but his passion for creating custom cakes is what makes him stand above the rest. He's won gold and silver medals in national pastry arts competitions; made car-shaped cakes for NASCAR drivers including Mark Martin, Terry Labonte, Jonny Benson and Greg Sacks; decorated the inaugural cake and several birthday cakes for former Governor George Allen; and provided cakes for many other prestigious events. "I like to make things that are a challenge," Goodman says. Some of the projects he's tackled include icing cakes to replicate historic Richmond buildings, constructing a groom's cake in the shape of a regulation-sized basketball and building hill-shaped cakes with streams flowing down the sides.
Buntith Chhuon: Cake Designer Extraordinaire
When Buntith Chhuon took a part-time high school job working for Chef Otto Bernet's pastry shop, he had no idea it'd lead him down a cake-designing career path. He was working as an electrician when he decided he'd rather be in the kitchen. He got a culinary degree from Richmond Technical Center and eventually became a certified Pastry Chef. After working at The Jefferson, Chhuon came to work at Ukrop's with Bernet in 1991. His favorite part of making custom cakes is mastering new techniques. "I try to teach myself something every day… I love designing cakes." Chhuon gets an adrenaline rush from the chance to create a unique cake, construct a new flower or tackle a fondant style he's never tried before. Of the 1,000 different edible flowers Chhuon can create, some take several days to finish. "That's why we need notice to bake a cake," he says. "Sometimes I have to make one petal at a time and let each one dry separately."