Sylvia Weinstock has left the wedding reception for her heavenly rest- which on the surface seems impossible- as she created beauty beyond imagining with her glorious wedding cakes.
Sylvia did not have a sweet tooth- but she was an expert amateur baker. She was also an artist- which is what is required when a six tier wedding cake is festooned with hundreds of handmade flowers, realistic blossoms- too pretty to eat, spun from sugar and painted with edible watercolors by a discerning artist. Every petal mattered to Sylvia. The first rule of creativity is to aim for excellence- and if, over time, you pull it off, eventually you become a master craftsman.
Sylvia Weinstock was a master craftsman, and I’m not just writing about her cakes. Sylvia knew how to live. She had a loving husband, Ben, and four magnificent (from all reports) children. She had beloved grandchildren. If that’s not reason enough to model yourself after her example, let’s talk about her persistence, determination and guts.
Sylvia had been a schoolteacher all of her professional life. In her 50’s, she decided to make the plunge into baking cakes. She began small, commissioned by folks who owned restaurants. She was a fast learner, very astute. Ben and she were true partners, he handled aspects that would free her creatively to learn, grow and develop skills that would place her in the top tier of artisan bakers. He came up with a business plan, but his contribution went deeper- he threw himself behind her enterprise because he believed in her. He came up with ways to make her work life easier- the odd invention here or there streamlined her process- a spinning wheel to apply icing to a cake evenly, for example.
I imagine her talent would have found its way into the world without Ben, but she wouldn’t have been happy. The creative life requires structure- without it, deadlines pass, excellence is lost and the overview is blurred. Sylvia’s overview, her goal was to create the most delicious and memorable wedding cake for the couple and their families and friends to enjoy. Of course, there were couples that she served who would not make it for the long haul- but that wasn’t her problem. She would do her best to make a cake that honored their intention to love one another until death parted them.
Continue reading about Sylvia Weinstock in Part Two.