ABOUT CHEF MADISON LEE
In April of 2015, when the editors of Dessert Professional magazine announced their list of the year’s “Top Ten Cake Artists in North America,” they presented a group of cake professionals whose dedication to their craft has ensured that the cake continues to be our premier celebratory dessert. Their honorees included artists of varied backgrounds, from professionals who gained fame through televised cake competitions to instructors in the field of cake decoration. Only one of them was a New Yorker… Madison Lee.
Long before achieving national recognition, Madison grew up inspired by her mother, who would bake and decorate cakes as a hobby. More than that, the budding baker’s father was the first to show her how to have fun with sugar, in his professional kitchen of Cousin John’s Bakery. It wasn’t long before Madison sought out more formal training at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), where she earned her Certificate of Culinary Arts in 2006.
“There was something about the sugar, the proportions, and the idea of making each item beautiful in a different way that just fascinated me. I could not get enough!” Determined to further master her craft, Madison attended the Wilton School in Chicago, Illinois to study sugar sculpture and design with Nicolas Lodge, and part of the International Sugar Art Collection, in Atlanta, Georgia. Madison also studied privately alongside world-renowned sugar artist Betty Van Nostrand, whom she counts as a mentor and dear friend.
In 2010, Madison had an apprenticeship in London with Alan Dunn, the father of sugar artistry and author of more than 14 books on sugar craft.
Under his guidance, Madison honed her skills and developed her own style and variation of his botanically correct flower masterpieces. While in London, Madison also studied with some of Europe’s most well-known cake artists, including Vivienne Lee Maisie Parrish, Debbie Brown, and Javier Mercado.
All of her training and experience helped Madison to develop her own signature style; “I like to think of it as classic and modern at the same time. I take the classical look of flowers but like to add a modern dimension to the design.” It also brougt the young baker to a guiding principle that no two of her cakes will ever be the same; “I pride myself on the fact that every cake I make will be unique to the person.”
Madison Lee’s cakes have been honored in competitions in New York, Connecticut and the United Kingdom. She has been consulted as an expert by TV shows including “Good Morning America” and news outlets like NY1 and Huffington Post. Madison’s cakes have been featured in the pages of many publications and on Blogs, including “Sophisticated Weddings: New York Edition,” “Brides,” “Style Me Pretty,” and “New York Weddings,” just to name a few. Madison Lee and her team have been on seen on the Food Network’s Ridiculous Cakes and the Cooking Channel’s Cake Hunters making amazing creations.
Madison’s other guiding principle began long before all of her the training and travels. Years before any of her honors and recognition. More than two decades prior to being featured in a magazine. It was cultivated in her father’s shop, the idea that the cake and baking should be inspirational;
“My advice to the couple would be to come with an open mind, an idea of what you love and what you don’t like, and most importantly, arrive ready to have a little fun!”