Meet the very talented man who is behind many of Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods’ great-tasting desserts. A lover of Nutella, an illustrator, and a Marine are a just a few words to describe our very own Jim Goodman, who is originally from the San Francisco area.
He entered the baking business quite by accident. In high school, he began working with Ukrop’s Super Markets in 1974 at Dumbarton Square as a courtesy clerk and cashier, graduated, and joined the Marine Corps. About this time, Ukrop’s purchased Dot’s Pastry Shop. Through a military occupation study, he ended up attending Baker’s School, where he was eventually cooking, baking, and driving. After being honorably discharged from the Marines, Jim came back to the area and worked as a delivery driver for Dot’s Pastry Shop. There were nine stores in 1980. After three months, he transitioned to the bakery, where he trained under master baker Bill Dvorak of Dot’s Pastry Shop. During this time, Jim completed the American Institute of Baking “Science and Baking” course.
In 1990, Jim began training with Certified Master Pastry Chef (one of 17 in the United States at the time) Otto Bernet. Chef Bernet trained in Zurich, Switzerland, had won gold medals in the International Culinary Olympics, and was a renown chocolatier who joined the Ukrop’s team in 1989, introducing customers to European Specialties. Jim also became a member of the American Culinary Federation receiving his certification as an Executive Pastry Chef.
Before becoming the head pastry chef in 2004, Jim wore just about every hat at Ukrop’s Bakery. He now creates specialty desserts and conducts research and development. Special projects are his favorite. He developed all of the Cakes of the Month at MARTIN’S, as well as the four layer cakes at Kroger. He was also involved in the early stages of our brand new Gender Reveal cake!
During his amazing career, he’s won a gold and two silver medals at national culinary competitions, been the president of the Chef’s Association, made custom cakes for NASCAR drivers including Mark Martin, Terry Labonte, Jonny Benson and Greg Sacks, created the 1994 Republican National Convention Cake, and has made a number of cakes for former Virginia Governors George Allen and Mark Warner and former Senator Jim Webb.
His most memorable cake was Mark Warner’s 2002 or 2003 birthday cake. Designed as a showpiece (meaning portions were not meant to be consumed), it had three-tiers of Styrofoam and a top layer of real cake. After the cake was rolled onto the stage, Senator Warner invited everyone to have some dessert, so everyone scurried back to the Governor’s Mansion!
By working at Ukrop’s, Jim has learned something new every day and seen a lot of the United States in the process. The project that he had the most fun with was the creation of an exact replica of the Jim Beam village in Frankfurt, Kentucky from chocolate, sugar and German gingerbread. This showpiece took an entire month to create.
When asked if he has an advice for aspiring pastry chefs, Jim said health and creativity are important. “Baking is chemistry,” said Goodman. “It’s math, reading and comprehension. Pick your school based on your goals!”
Fun facts: His favorite ingredient to make desserts with is chocolate, and he loves his White House Rolls with London Broil!