Pastry guru Ron Ben-Israel has established a strong presence in New York City, catering to the luxury crowd of soonly-weds. And now the cake making brand has catapulted from their compact studio space in Soho to a much larger location in the historic Garment District. Taking over the entire building floor, the Ron Ben-Israel brand will be expanding its services to host a bootcamp for brides-to-be, mentorship for aspiring cake designers as well as industry events.
Ron-Ben Israel’s rise to the top was not an easy feat. Starting his career as a dancer, Ron channeled his discipline and dedication to the craft of cake design, which eventually allowed him to create unique one of a kind confections that the world has come to love.
We had a chance to catch up with Ron and find out more of what makes Ron-Ben Israel Wedding Cakes truly unique.
I Do PR: You’ve had an incredibly interesting life, complete with service in the Israeli army, a Canadian dance tour, and learning the art of food in France. Of all these different aspects of your past, what inspired you to work with cakes?
Ron-Ben Israel: The transition into cakes was not planned. As an artist, cake was the next step in my journey to stay in New York. It was a means of survival. I did many odd jobs from catering to dressing fashion shows and eventually tabletop design. It was when Mikimoto asked me to do display cakes for the store that one day Martha Stewart and her then assistant, Darcy Miller, walked in talking about starting a wedding magazine, and the rest was history.
Besides serving clients, you also teach young cake designers. Why did you decide to start teaching?
RBI: I started teaching from the start. At the beginning it was all about fostering community, and using your knowledge to help others perfect the craft of cake design. I’m incredibly proud of my students, and I learn from them almost as much as they learn from me. One day they will become my competition, and that drives me to work hard and continue to grow my skills and challenge myself.
You’re involved in community projects including City Harvest, Bid Against Hunger and others. Would you recommend other wedding vendors get involved in more projects outside the industry?
RBI: Yes! We work in a luxury couture industry, and I consider myself to be very fortunate. You really have to take a moment and step back to realize how lucky we are to do what we love for a living, and there are so many others out there that are suffering. Whether it’s a charity inside the wedding industry or outside, it doesn’t really matter. You choose what’s available and what you’re passionate about.
What celebrity would you love to make a wedding cake for?
RBI: I’m not so much into celebrity culture – to me every bride is a celebrity. But if I had to choose, it would be someone like Chita Rivera.
If you died and went to heaven, what kind of cake would they serve there?
RBI: My mother made a cake called Kugelhopf that was my favorite! It’s an Austrian-Hungarian yeast cake with vanilla and lemon rind.