Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sensational Lady - Sylvia Weinstock

Recently I posted something about my birthday HERE.
Besides getting birthday greetings and good wishes (thank you!), I got a few inquiries about my "celebrity" girl friends (Maria McBride, Marcy Blum, Sylvia Weinstock) visiting from New York. In particular, I was asked about Sylvia Weinstock.
Sylvia Weinstock is the grande dame of cake design, one of the first to use imaginative forms for wedding cakes—introducing butterflies and bees, for example, to brides who had previously known only flowers. Her 30-year-old company, located in New York City, has created cakes for the Clinton White House as well as numerous celebrity weddings.
Weinstock’s cakes have been featured in publications ranging from Modern Bride to the New York Times. She lives in Manhattan. For those of you who don't know Sylvia, you can go HERE to read a pretty nice overview of her career. And of course you can pre order her new book coming out in October HERE.

In Sylvia Weinstock’s Sensational Cakes, Sylvia who is America’s most famous cake designer gives you an insider’s tour of her world: the fabulous fêtes where her cakes set the scene and the artisanal workshop where she and her assistants bake and embellish the confectionary masterpieces that have made her signature—including her trademark eyeglass logo—so sought after. Best of all, she reveals some of her secrets: recipes for cakes, frostings, and fillings that will make your own guests stand up and applaud.
Sylvia was a colleague of mine some years ago when I was doing business as Valorie Hart Designs. Prevailing on her kindness and her regard for my good old days, I asked her a few questions on behalf of you gentle readers, and threw in a couple of my own too.
Syliva is the quintessential New Yorker. She loves New York, she works and lives there, she has style, and she recently appeared on Gossip Girl! So cutting to the chase, I ignored a lifetime of accomplishment to ask her the burning question of the day:

VV - How did you get cast in Gossip Girl?
SW - Just a guests at the wedding. We actually did the wedding cake for the series. They thought it would be cool for me to just appear.

VV - When did you start your business?
SW - I started my business 30 years ago.

VV - Do you still enjoy it?
SW - Yes, I still enjoy it. Love meeting the clients, overseeing the designs that are so beautiful.

VV - Do you and Ben ever think about doing something else? And who will the business be passed onto? Family? Sell it to a huge conglomeration for big bucks?
SW - When I am finished with it I will probably close it. The business is really me.
Note: Ben is Sylvia's husband and partner in the business.
VV -You have incredible style. Your glasses are your signature accessory. I have only seen them on Carrie Donovan, and maybe on Carol Channing. I love them. Where did you get them?
SW - My glasses have become my logo and represent me. It is my look. I have them over 20 years.
Note: Sylvia's glasses are tortoise shell and cost $1500. She has one pair! You have to love a woman who spends that kind of money on the one fashion accessory that became her signature piece (and she has her wits about her not to lose the ONE pair she owns!).

Read more about Carrie Donovan HERE

VV - I also love all the big necklaces you wear, art pieces really. Can you
tell me about your collection.
SW - I like drama in clothes, jewelry and I guess in life itself.

VV - You are very fit. How is that possible for someone who is around sweets
all day?
SW - I live a life of moderation, watch the diet and walk. I do not exercise.

VV - I love your hair. Did you ever color it? Where do you get your hair
SW - As for my hair, I never dyed it, I like the grey. Gets lots of respect.

VV - What part of New York do you live in? Do you like to decorate anything else besides your fabulous cakes (like your apartment)?
SW - I live in Tribecca, over the store, just as Andrew Goodman. My home is comfortable, filled with stuff collected throughout the years.

VV - Who is Andrew Goodman?
SW - . Andrew Goodman owned Bergdorf Goodman the store on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue. Shame on you!! Not to know my favorite store.
VV - Oh yes of course! I have been away from New York too long!

More about the fabulous Bergdorf Goodman HERE
Andrew Goodman died at age 86 in 1993

VV - As you know I gave it all up and ran away with an Argentine tango dancer. We wrote a book, and we teach all over the world. You told me you would love for you and Ben to take tango lessons with us. Let me ask you a question that I ask all of my new students: Why do you want to learn to dance the Argentine tango?
SW - Tango is so sexy!

VV - Anything at all that you would like to say?
SW - I was never able to chill out as they say. I need the action. Perhaps that is why I love NY, my business...


Pigtown-Design said...

She's such a great baker and really changed the industry. Thanks for sharing!

Sneaky Chic said...

Very cool. She is an amazing artist. You are so lucky to know her!!!

Topsy Turvy said...

Sylvia sounds like a fascinating person. Great interview! I'll look for her book. And of course running away with an Argentine tango dancer is pretty romantic itself ...


Visual Vamp said...

Oh Lana, It was romantic 15 years ago, and it's still romantic!
Sylvia's book looks fantastic! Can't wait!

Cote de Texas said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS~~~~!!!! Wow that cake on the book has to be the prettiest thing - I want that book just for the eye candy, literally!!! GREAT interview!!!

those glasses!

Andrea V. said...

I am a reader of your blog on a regular basis, but I was googling "Sylvia W's eyeglasses" to see if a company makes something similar and came up with this post. I LOVE her glasses. I WANT her glasses. I NEED those glasses or a close representation of them. I am so sad that she didn't reveal the maker. I am 28 years old, is that strange? Me, a young(ish) girl wearing specs such as these? kinda bizzare ;)

Andrea V.