It’s great to recognise cake icons in the industry for their expertise and phenomenal designs. This month, we speak to Ron Ben-Israel. Ron Ben-Israel is a master confectioner and an expert at choreographing sugar. He teaches around the world, spreading his innovative designs. Here we learn more about his cake decorating journey.
Can you tell us about your cake journey – where did it all begin?
I started baking and experimenting in the kitchen at a young age. I would observe my mother cooking and was attracted to the procedures she took; whipping cream for instance just fascinated me! I went on to art school to learn fine arts – sculpture, painting, art history. After my three year military service, a friend from art school took me to a dance class and I became hooked! I spent the next 15 years in the dance studio and on stage. Making cakes professionally came after my retirement from professional dancing. I was working as a window dresser and a designer in showrooms. There was a need for new display pieces for the wedding season and it fell on me to produce some cakes. It would all have been just a design exercise if I didn’t meet my mentor, Betty Van Norstrand, while shopping for cake supplies. I began to take classes with her and never looked back!
How would you say your previous experience as a professional modern dancer helped your transition towards baking?
I swear this is the first time I’ve used the following term… Compared to dancing professionally, making cakes for living is ‘a piece of cake’. The rigorous discipline required of a dancer, and the ability to work through pain, helped me tremendously while developing my new career. I was used to auditioning, dealing with rejection and having to start from scratch each day.
What are your plans for 2018/2019?
More travel will be welcome! I would love to return to Paris and Italy and hope to get the chance to work in Japan. I enjoy filming TV but it would be nice to find a new format to express myself – perhaps a travelling cake show?