In this podcast, I interview Ron Ben-Israel, a true pioneer in the luxury wedding cake industry. A mentor and friend, I am proud to say that I was his first ever ‘stalker’. His creations absolutely captivated me and opened my eyes to the many possibilities in the field of sugar craft. In fact, I remember travelling for over 18 hours to attend one of his classes and I have been a student of his ever since.  He has created some of the most mind blowing cakes the world has ever seen, and many of the modern wedding cake styles we see today came out of his sweet genius mind. Yet he remains humble and is constantly innovating.

You can listen to my chat with him here: and if you have any comments, email me at


Ron Ben-Israel is one of the best known cake makers in the world. A true pioneer, he is the executive chef and owner of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes in New York City. He is known for his wedding and special occasion cakes and for his detail in sugar paste flowers. From 2011 – 2013, he also hosted the cooking competition TV show Sweet Genius, and he is currently a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars.


Ben-Israel was born in Israel. His mother was born in Vienna and was rescued from the ghetto by American volunteers, later immigrating to Israel. His father, Moshe, lost most of his family in the Holocaust, and survived Auschwitz. His father worked in the printing industry, while his mother worked in map-making for the government.

Ben-Israel grew up in Tel Aviv. He loved baking in the kitchen as a child. He attended the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, specializing in dance.

In the mid-1970s, he served as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. He gives credit to his Israeli military training for his later success, saying it gave him discipline and precision in his work.


Ben-Israel started a dance career at age 21, right after leaving the army. He specialized in modern dance. He danced with the Israeli dance companies Batsheva and Bat-Dor over a period of some 15 years, and toured internationally. Near the end of his dancing career, he moved to the United States.


In 1993, while living in New York City, Ben-Israel retired from dancing, in part due to having developed arthritis. He started a new career in cooking, doing temporary jobs making cakes and designing shop windows. In 1996, he fell in love with baking. He was discovered and mentored by Martha Stewart who saw one of his cakes in a window.

Ben-Israel’s confectionery pieces have been featured at the openings of the Mandarin Oriental, New York and The Ritz-Carlton and are part of events at other New York hotels including the St. Regis, the Pierre, and the New York Palace. Modern Bride, Town & Country, Martha Stewart Weddings, In Style, The New York Times, and Vogue have commissioned his cake designs. His television appearances include Martha Stewart, the Bravo Network, The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Food Network, and the Late Show with David Letterman.

From 2011 to 2013, Ben-Israel was the host and judge of the Food Network competition show Sweet Genius.

Ben-Israel is a Visiting Master Pastry-Instructor at The International Culinary Center in New York City. He teaches the Classic Pastry Arts class and the Cake Techniques & Design class his approach to sugar paste.


Kind-hearted and generous, he is an active member of City Harvest Food Council, a New York food rescue organization.