Tag: Ron Ben-Israel

Q&A with Halloween Baking Championship Judge Ron Ben-Israel

by in Shows, September 28th, 2015

Ron Ben-IsraelOn the new show Halloween Baking Championship, expect to be blown away by some of the extremely creepy creations the bakers make, but even more than that, be ready for probably the scariest panel of judges you will ever see, and a host who’s not afraid to deliver some deadly news to eliminated bakers. Judges Carla Hall, Ron Ben-Israel and Sherry Yard will be dishing out critiques, while Richard Blais will be sending home those bakers who don’t meet the spooktacular criteria of the $25,000 competition show. Before you tune in for the premiere on Monday, October 5 at 9|8c, get to know each of them a little better.

Before finding the world of baking, Ron had a 15-year career as a modern dancer. After working pastry apprenticeships in Canada and France, he made his way to New York City, where he opened his couture cake shop. Ron has hosted Sweet Genius on Food Network and judged Cake Wars.

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One-on-One with Master Pastry Chef Ron Ben-Israel

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, July 8th, 2015

Ron Ben-IsraelAt his New York City studio, Ron Ben-Israel imagines, creates and designs towering, expertly adorned cakes for all occasions. But on the all-new series Cake Wars, this master pastry chef won’t be in the kitchen, baking against the clock; rather, he’ll be overseeing the contest as a lead judge. Each week it’s up to him, fellow pastry chef Waylynn Lucas and special guests to dole out themed baking challenges that test the competitors’ time management and on-the-spot ingenuity, as well as their baking prowess.

Recently FN Dish caught up with Ron at a special screening of Cake Wars at Manhattan’s International Culinary Center, where he’s an instructor, to chat with the judge about all things to do with sweet competition. From his favorite cake-frosting flavor combination to what he looks for in a well-designed creation, read on below to hear from Ron in an exclusive interview.

What can fans expect from the season? What are you most looking forward to?
Ron Ben-Israel: It’s a new show, actually. Even though it’s similar to Cupcake Wars, it’s bigger and better. You know, cupcakes look nice and cute, but they are small. Even when we talk about cake — four, five, six, seven tiers. In the main challenge, they get four hours to build a cake, and … the themes are so crazy, from The Simpsons to Hello Kitty to Girl Scouts. So we don’t want to see miniature; we want to see over-the-top.

Your cakes take hours — days, even — to make. Could you imagine having to turn out something spectacular in such a short amount of time?
RBI: The hardship is not so much the four hours; it’s not being able to divide the task to a few days, because normally you bake the cake, then you chill [it] and you make the fillings … Here, everything comes together. But the reality is, if you have [the right] state of mind and organize, you can achieve what you want, and that was the hardest thing for me — not being able to go to the kitchens, because everybody has their own set kitchen, and say “Clean up, guys. It’s a mess.”

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Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel Visits Worst Cooks in America Boot Camp

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, March 11th, 2013

Chef Ron Ben-Israel on Worst Cooks in AmericaAs one of the most-successful pastry chefs in the country, Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel is known for creating sky-high cakes that are as deliciously whimsical as they are stunningly beautiful. On Sunday’s episode of Worst Cooks in America, however, he was forced to abandon the high-quality demands he prides himself on in his professional kitchen and think back to basics. Stopping by Boot Camp to offer the recruits an in-depth cake-baking how-to, he showed them seemingly simple recipes for creating wow-worthy celebration cakes, but for some of the competitors, this challenge ultimately proved to be nothing short of impossible. We checked in with Chef Ron to find out what it was like helping the competitors turn out their best-possible confections and to learn the most-shocking moment he experienced at Boot Camp. Read on below to get the insider scoop on what went down, plus check out Chef Ron’s easy tips for at-home bakers.

How was your time on the show?

RB: I’m a big fan of the show and always learn something valuable by watching Chefs Anne and Bobby. So I was so excited to be asked to come to the kitchen and teach the recruits how to bake a cake. And they were so sweet and excited to see me! Also, the kitchen was very well equipped with every tool and ingredient that a cake designer may wish for. I was so happy to be there and started demonstrating with great enthusiasm.

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Sweet Genius Bloopers From Season 3

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 17th, 2013

Ron Ben-Israel may have it all together in the sweets department, but he doesn’t always have his act together on the set of Sweet Genius. Don’t miss these hilarious bloopers from Season 3 (click the play button above).

Don’t forget to tune in Thursdays at 10pm/9c to catch Ron in an all-new season of Sweet Genius. Each episode, master pastry chef Ron will challenge four chefs to create scrumptious sweets with surprise ingredients to see who will win the $10,000 prize.

Keep watching: More Sweet Genius Bloopers From Season 3

Top 10 Genius Inspiration Interpretations From Seasons 1 and 2

by in Shows, January 10th, 2013

Sweet Genius, Season 2By Ron Ben-Israel, contributions by Kate Kenny and Nikki Junda

Ron Ben-Israel has raised the bar on the newest season of Sweet Genius with more unusual techniques and inspired flavor combinations. That made the Sweet Genius team think back to the previous seasons. After revisiting the best moments from old episodes and the 10 best ingredient inventions, they also decided to narrow down the 10 best inspiration interpretations from Seasons 1 and 2.

1. Mauricio Santelice
Dessert: Chocolate Unicorn Emerging From an Ostrich Eggshell With Pate a Choux Swans
EPISODE 101/Disco Genius
Inspiration: Unicorn

When Chef Mauricio Santelice presented me with an entire mythological scene of dessert creations inspired by a unicorn, I knew that he was an ambitious and talented chef. Chef Mauricio’s dish, with its chocolate unicorn leaping from an open ostrich eggshell and scrumptious pate a choux swans, made me feel as if I were given an edible surrealist painting. Inspired by my vision of a fantastical unicorn, Chef Mauricio’s dessert transported me to another place.

Get the top nine moments

Holiday Baking Disaster Recovery: What Happens When a Cake Flops?

by in Holidays, How-to, December 20th, 2012

Holiday Bake Disaster RecoveryBy Ron Ben-Israel

I once made a few cakes for dessert — some coffee cakes. The recipe that I tried was not accurate; it said butter the pan, but should have said butter then flour the pan. Half the cake came out and half of it didn’t, and it had a big crack on the side.

So if a cake flops, what can you do to save it? If the cake is supposed to be frosted, then don’t worry about it. Just cover it with frosting. It will still be delicious. If it’s like a coffee cake, which doesn’t get frosted, preslice and serve it plated with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and berries.

Always remember this rule of thumb

Ron Ben-Israel’s Holiday Favorites

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 15th, 2012

Ron Ben-Israel, host of Sweet GeniusWe caught up with Ron Ben-Israel, host of Sweet Genius and the mastermind behind Ron Ben-Israel Cakes in New York City, to chat with him about some of his holiday favorites. As he’s known for creating some of the country’s finest couture cakes, we weren’t surprised when we asked him about his favorite holiday dessert and he named an old-fashioned classic that, when finished, is a spectacular conversation piece.

What’s your favorite holiday dessert?
I love some of the old-fashioned desserts that have now disappeared from restaurants. Things you used to get at a tea parlor, like at the Plaza Hotel. Something that is elaborate and beautiful and nostalgic for me is baked Alaska. I’m also crazy about baked egg whites, which is really what meringue is. I used to be fascinated seeing my mother whip egg whites into a foam for baked Alaska or for mousse. Watching them gather up air and triple in volume to become white peaks was fascinating. You can mix dollops of egg whites with sugar and make the most amazing baked kisses. For an easy baked Alaska, take ready-made ice cream, shape it into a dome, cover it with swirls of meringue and brown it. The crunchiness on the outside and billowy soft layer underneath — it’s not hard to do. You can add a layer of cake for an interesting effect, or pour some liqueur around it and ignite the whole thing for flambe. Bring that to the holiday table and it’ll be spectacular.

More from Ron Ben-Israel

What to Watch: Holiday Episodes of Cupcake Wars and Sweet Genius

by in Shows, December 5th, 2012

Sweet Genius Holiday SpecialGet your sweet tooth on with new holiday episodes of Cupcake Wars and Sweet Genius, premiering this Thursday.

Cupcake Wars: Cupcakes on Parade

Four bakers compete for the opportunity to serve their cupcake creations at a VIP party for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade in Chicago.

Tune in: Thursday, December 6 at 8pm/7c

Get in the spirit with Sweet Genius, too

Top 10 Genius Ingredient Inventions From Seasons 1 and 2

by in Shows, November 8th, 2012

Sweet Genius Season 1By Ron Ben-Israel, contributions by Kate Kenny and Nikki Junda

Ron Ben-Israel has raised the bar on the newest season of Sweet Genius with more unusual techniques and inspired flavor combinations. That made the Sweet Genius team think back to the previous seasons. After revisiting the best moments from the episodes, they narrowed down the 10 best ingredient inventions from Seasons 1 and 2 — the creations that truly impressed them.

1. Jessica Mogardo
Dessert: A Formaggio di Fossa and Lime Gelée
Episode: 210/Serpentine Genius
Mandatory Ingredient: Formaggio di Fossa

When I gave the chefs formaggio di fossa — a soft, pungent Italian cheese with a strong flavor — I wanted to taste something absolutely new. Chef Jessica Mogardo more than accepted this challenge when she created Formaggio di Fossa and Lime Gelée. The tartness of the lime toned down the pungency of the cheese and Chef Jessica managed to transform a creamy, heavy dairy product into a perfectly blended, luscious and light-as-air gelée. A remarkable bite and a genius idea.

Get the top nine moments

Enter for a Chance to Win Ron Ben-Israel’s Autographed Sweet Genius Chef’s Coat

by in Contests, October 24th, 2012

ron ben-israel's autographed sweet genius chef's coat
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, chances are you’re a fan of Sweet Genius, now in its third season. Every Thursday, Master Pastry Chef Ron Ben-Israel tests four of America’s premier pastry chefs through three rounds of intense pastry challenges. The winners from each round advance for a final test, with Ron crowning the remaining chef Sweet Genius and awarding them a $10,000 cash prize. Now Ron wants to give his fans a chance to win a prize: his chef’s coat from the set, autographed.

To enter: Tell us the Food Network dessert recipe you’ve made that made you look like a Sweet Genius (you must include the recipe URL in the comment to qualify). We’re giving away Ron’s autographed chef’s jacket to one lucky, randomly selected commenter.

Read official rules before entering