Ron Ben-Israel and his cake Ron Ben-Israel and his cake Ron Ben-Israel presents a cake he designed for the 18th Annual City Harvest Bid Against Hunger Tasting Event in New York City. (Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Sweet talk with Ron Ben-Israel

The superstar baker gives us the dish

Before Ron Ben-Israel was a renowned pastry chef and Food Network host, the Tel Aviv-born artist was a dancer. Here’s how he went from ballet to baking.

“Being in a dance company is extremely demanding. Every day you get better you also get worse – like an athlete you have a very short career. I retired at age 36 with no knowledge of the world and I had to learn brand-new skills,” Ron Ben-Israel said.

“I grew up baking in the kitchen with my mother. I loved the chemistry of cake and watching how the techniques worked. It was magic.”

So it was only natural that when he stopped dancing and moved from Israel to New York City, he got a job designing cakes for shop windows. Martha Stewart noticed his work and encouraged him to start his own business.

Quickly, Ben-Israel’s career… and his cakes… grew. Like this 12-foot replica of the Plaza Hotel that took 17 people two months to make.

And the 6-foot chandelier he created for Sex and the City 2, draped with over 4,000 crystals.

But you don’t have to be a celebrity (or a hotel) to appreciate Ben-Israel’s sweets. Since trading in his pointe shoes for a spatula, he says that he just loves to feed people.

“What I draw from Israeli character is the survival mechanism the fact that you could drop in different places and then make them home. It’s an ability to seize an opportunity.”


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Related Topics: Chefs & Restaurants

Sweet talk with Ron Ben-Israel
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