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Cake Icons: Ron Ben-Israel

Ron Ben-Israel

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.

Ron Ben-Israel

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!

Ron Ben-Israel

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?

Read the full interview in our latest issue!