Host of Sweet Genius,
Judge on Cake Wars
|Home town||New York City|
Ron Ben-Israel is an Israeli pastry chef. 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 in 1957. 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.
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.
Ben-Israel is openly gay.
- Handwerker, Haim (12 October 2011). "Taking the Cake". Haaretz. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
- Daisy Dumas (5th October 2011) "Behind the scenes with Ron Ben-Israel, cake maestro and star of TV hit Sweet Genius", The Daily Mail
- Lucy Cohen Blatter (Sep. 19, 2011) "The Jew and the Carrot, Q&A: Ron Ben-Israel on 'Sweet Genius'", The Jewish Daily Forward
- Journal Sentinel, "Ron Ben-Israel took Martha Stewart's advice" (Sept. 20, 2011)
- Deans and Master Chefs of The International Culinary Center, Ron Ben-Israel, Visiting Master Pastry Chef-Instructor
- foodnetwork.com Sweet Genius page
- City Harvest's Food Council
- Ron's Bio
- Sabatini, Frank Jr. (May 18, 2012). "The Sweet Genius of Ron Ben-Israel". Gay San Diego. Retrieved December 29, 2012.