Sylvia Zipser was born in New York City to a family of Jewish immigrants from Poland. She attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, where she became interested in journalism and edited the school newspaper.
She graduated from Hunter College in 1939, after marrying Saul Schur, with whom she had three children. Her first job was as a market reporter for the newspaper PM. She became the food columnist for the paper and then went to Seventeen, where she was the magazine's first food editor, Look Magazine, and Parade. In 1958, Sylvia founded Creative Food Services, a company that combined public relations with a test kitchen and consulting work for restaurants and food companies. Her clients included General Foods, Ocean Spray, Burger King, and the Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan. She helped develop cranapple juice and Clamato, and product-related recipes for Ann Page, Betty Crocker, and Campbell Soup. She also wrote numerous cookbooks. After her first husband died just short of their 50th anniversary, she married Kaneji Domoto, an architect.