As Chef-Owner of one of the most established couture cake studios in the world, Ron Ben-Israel started his confectionery adventures after a fifteen-year career as a professional modern dancer. Upon retiring from performing with companies spanning three continents, he utilized his fine art schooling and ballet training to master the discipline of pastry arts.
After apprenticeships and engagements in Toronto, Canada and Lyon, France, he was led to New York City. In 1996, his cakes were discovered while on display in the windows of Mikimoto on Fifth Avenue and commissions quickly followed from Villeroy & Boch, Baccarat, DeBeer’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf-Goodman.
In 1999, Ron established his flagship design studio and bakery in Manhattan’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood. After calling SoHo home for fifteen years, the company moved to a new, expansive location in the heart of Manhattan’s iconic Garment District. The new facility includes a design studio, showroom, production kitchen and teaching classroom. It also hosts social and corporate events under the name Above Twelve.
The collections of trendsetting cakes can be spotted in many of New York’s premiere hotels and venues. They also have been featured in countless publications, including The New York Times, In Style, Vogue Magazine and Martha Stewart Weddings, with which Ron has collaborated extensively for over 20 years.
Many television shows, films and books also have chronicled the success of the bakery. Ron and his work have been highlighted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Bravo’s Top Chef—Just Desserts, The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS) and The Martha Stewart Show. Ron also has appeared in Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and HBO’s Everyday People. The bakery was fictionalized in the New York Times’ bestselling novel Shopaholic Ties The Knot, by Sophie Kinsella.
In 2011 the bakery received further acclaim when Ron became host and judge of the Food Networks’ hit show Sweet Genius, which aired for three seasons. Since then he has been a favorite judge and guest on numerous Food Network programs, including Chopped, America’s Best Cook, Worst Cooks in America, Guy’s Grocery Games, Halloween Baking Championship and All-Star Gingerbread Build. Ron also is a co-judge on Cake Wars, which is airing its third season during Summer 2016.
Ron travels the U.S. and internationally as a teacher, lecturer and motivational speaker. He is a popular headliner at culinary and pastry conventions as well as at special-events and fundraisers. He is is the only Guest Master Pastry Chef at the renowned International Culinary Center in New York City where he shares his passion, techniques and secrets with the students through exclusive demos and classes.
Some of Ron’s most well known cakes include the trendsetting Sex and the City 2 cake in partnership with Swarovski, as well as The Plaza’s 100th birthday cake—an exact confectionery replica of the famed New York landmark, measuring over 12’ tall and serving 1,500 guests.
Ron is a proud member of City Harvest’s Food Council and its Advisory Board, which brings together over sixty of New York City’s top chefs, restaurateurs and food industry professionals to aid the organization in the fight against hunger. Ron also is an active supporter of Lambda Legal Defense and an advocate of same sex marriage.