I am beyond excited to bring you this fun interview with Sylvia Weinstock today! If you haven't seen one of her amazing cakes in person, I highly recommend it! The images we see in magazines and on television are amazing enough, but to see the detail of each flower petal and leaf up close is simply incredible. I was able to meet Mrs. Weinstock a few years ago at a Martha Stewart bridal market party--with her tiny frame and signature black glasses--and was blown away by how sweet and down-to-earth she is (Check out this recent Wall Street Journal article about her early years and how she got started)! Anyway, I could go on and on about how much I love her work, but instead, I'll just get right into the interview!
Tara: Tell me how you first got involved with your business.
Sylvia Weinstock: When my daughters were teenagers, we would go skiing at Hunter Mountain -- but I did not ski. While they hit the slopes, I baked...often much more than my family could eat. I began to offer cakes to some of the small restaurants on the mountain and, lucky for me, some New York City chefs also had homes in the area. I first met Andre Soltner, and then William Greenberg, who had a bakery in the city but was so busy, it was hard for him to take the time to do detailed, floral designs -- he asked me to do wedding cakes. I studied real flowers to duplicate the sugar designs that have become our signature today...and the rest, as they say, is history. One person ordered a cake for a "ladies luncheon" at the Carlyle hotel...and again, lucky for me, I've had a business that has thrived for thirty years by word-of-mouth!
Tara: What is the most surprising thing you’ve had happen to you on the job?
Sylvia Weinstock: There have been many good surprises, but one that stands out in particular was a client who liked her cake so much, she bought me a wonderful piece of jewelry!
Tara: What is your ideal Friday night?
Sylvia Weinstock: Friday nights are good to rest, because Saturday is usually the big pickup-and-delivery day of the week.
Tara: What is something you like to do during your free time?
Sylvia Weinstock: My most favorite thing to do in my free time is invite friends and family to our home, so I can have the pleasure of cooking and entertaining. I keep meals simple -- usually a roasted chicken or fish, salads and fresh vegetables -- but it is truly one of my most favorite things to do.
Tara: When you travel, what do you like to do (adventure, relaxation, food, etc.)?
Sylvia Weinstock: I love to travel and I am grateful that my business had taken me to many wonderful countries, like India, Morocco, Japan, the Middle East. I like to explore the architecture because travel is a great design inspiration for me. And interesting restaurants -- it is always exciting to discover new flavors for our cakes, like rosewater, cardamom...even green tea.
Tara: What is the last book you read?
Sylvia Weinstock: Anything by Jo Nesbo - I think the last one I read was The Son. Generally I love mystery/thrillers.
Tara: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Sylvia Weinstock: That's easy: "Tomorrow is another day."
Tara: Which movie genre do you prefer?
Sylvia Weinstock: Movies with happy endings, always.
Tara: What is the last movie you saw in the theaters?
Sylvia Weinstock: Blue Jasmine.
Tara: Which music genre do you prefer?
Sylvia Weinstock: Classical
Tara: Your idea of adventure is:
Sylvia Weinstock: Anything new...new countries, new people, new food, you name it.
Tara: How do you like your steak cooked?
Sylvia Weinstock: Medium rare.
Tara: What are three life memories you recall most frequently and why?
1) Our very simple wedding, 65 years ago
2) The birth of our daughters
3) Our daughters' weddings
...because those events are pure, unmitigated joy -- how many of those days do we really have in our lives?
Tara: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want with you?
Sylvia Weinstock: My husband Ben, Vodka...and my husband Ben!
Tara: Tell me something that most people don’t know about you.
Sylvia Weinstock: I like do to my own laundry. It's therapy!
Tara: What is one thing you'll do this year to step outside your comfort zone?
Sylvia Weinstock: I will open my first retail store ever...and it will be in the wonderful country of Kuwait!