Why A Renowned Musician Might Give Up Carnegie Hall For Her Kitchen

For more than three decades, she enthralled audiences with her music as she played the piano in hallowed concert halls like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

And when the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of the world into hiding, like many across America, classical musician Navah Perlman Frost — daughter of famed violinist Itzhak Perlman — took her creativity and unleashed it in her kitchen, armed with knowledge gleaned from online courses in baking and frosting. But as days turned into weeks and then slipped into months, Frost tells the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) that she stopped thinking about the piano, and began thinking about buttercream and what she could do with it.

By about that time, she was making sweets for those around her since, as Frost tells Reuters, there was "nothing better to do. I didn't think I was going to actually end up selling anything." Friends and family encouraged her to go commercial. As her sister-in-law Stephanie Pearlman enthused, "The artistry she showed as a musician translated into the beauty of the baked goods she was making. Not just in how they tasted — they were delicious — but in how they looked" (via JTA). 

But it wasn't until December 2020 that Frost decided she was ready. She opened a small business, selling her cakes for between $80 to $200. "People have said to me in the beginning, 'You're charging too little.' I'm like, 'It's cake,'" Frost said.

Frost creates "botanical cakes" to order

Navah Perlman Frost describes her creations on Instagram as "Fanciful botanical cupcakes and cakes. Buttercream art. Made in New York City." But award-winning cookbook author and World Peace cookies creator Dorie Greenspan may not think the description doesn't do justice to the musician's culinary work. Greenspan calls Frost's work "extraordinary" and adds, "What she does is a magical blend of passion for her art, technical skill and boundless curiosity." Today, JTA says Frost is not just known for her piano skills, she's also known for making cupcakes covered with a richness of buttercream flowers. Her cakes are all made and designed to order.

But even if you order the same cake twice, don't expect the same creation each time. Frost says, "I may play the same Beethoven sonata 10 times, but each time I play it is slightly different than the time before because I am not a machine. Something may occur to me that didn't occur the other times that I performed that piece. The same goes with my cakes. I don't make carbon copies. My work is more of an art than a science. Neither product can be cloned."

Frost says her new hobby could well become her new profession because even as life's gears move from COVID-19 neutral to normal, she tells Reuters, "There is a piece of me that is enjoying this so much I would hate to stop doing it."