”The glass ceiling that once limited a woman’s career path has paved a new road towards business ownership, where women can utilize their sharp business acumen while building strong family ties.” – Erica Nicole, who left Corporate America to start YFS Magazine.
Being passionate about something is not always easy. But that’s what elevates it from being merely a hobby. It’s supposed to challenge us and force us to grow. When you’re passionate about something, you endure such struggles because you stand behind what you’re creating.
Fatma Buhannad is the founder of Butter Dessert Salon – a Dubai based seasonal bakery; Baking is a passion many Arab ladies around the Middle East take great pride in working on, and so just like one of many ladies who has reached great strides in the passion of baking and food, one such lady is Fatma. What makes Butter Dessert Salon stand out from the other bakers in the UAE is that it is the first bakery to have offered Cronuts in Dubai, and they managed to rapidly create a buzz across the UAE. Now you must be wondering what cronuts are. The Cronut™ is a unique pastry creation by Chef Dominique Ansel that many have described to be a croissant-doughnut hybrid. After its launch on May 10, 2013, Cronut™ fans spanned the world from Berlin to Singapore, making it the most virally talked about dessert item in history.
The young lady was kind enough to spare us some of her time and here’s little tips we got from her.
Kay: So Fatma, Tell us a little about yourself!
Fatma: I have always been an avid baker since childhood, as I watched my mum whisk away new baked goods whenever we had an occasion. The household I grew up in was always in love with food. We got rewarded with hot steaming cakes when we did well in our exams. The more I watched my mum bake, the more fascinating it got for me as she was always creating and baking cakes with interesting flavours such as poppy-seed and rose.
Kay: When did you decide to undertake this career?
Fatma: I guess choosing this career has always been kind of expected for me, by my family and friends, as they are the ones who really encouraged me to embark on it. After graduating from college with a Bachelor’s degree in General Business, I felt like I had enough of the academic life and starting taking random courses like jewelry designing , architectural design workshops and scuba diving lessons. I joined a newly established events company as an event coordinator for a year, just to learn the basics of dealing with customers, suppliers and starting your own company from scratch. Finally, I realized that I wanted to work on starting my own seasonal bakery where I can have fun experimenting new flavors and introducing baked goods that were different from the typical cupcakes and cake pops out there.
Kay’s Tip: Academics is not the only field to look for success in.. Learn from Fatma!
Kay: How would you define passion?
Fatma: Passion is when you are baking until 5 am in the morning and still feel that there are not enough hours in a day to completely satisfy your baking itch .
I completely believe in Julia Child’s quote: ” Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it”. She started her career not very early in her life but, when she did she was completely enamored by it.
Kay’s Tip: Julia Child, who would have turned 100 on August 15th, was relentless when it came to her work in the kitchen. Watching videos of Julia and reading her cookbooks it becomes clear just how passionate she was. No falter or mistake would stop her. And that’s something we should all live by, especially when it comes to our work. Be passionate, stay interested… and don’t let anything or anyone stop you from pursuing your dream.
Kay: Did you take any education for it or was it from your genes?
Fatma: As mentioned earlier it is in my blood. However, attending a cooking class when travelling is a must do on my travel itinerary wherever I travel to whether it is Singapore, New York or Munich.
Kay: Please tell us three adjectives that define your recipes?
Fatma: My recipes are personal, unconventional and very odd.
Kay: What are some of the best masterpieces you have created?
Fatma: The Rose Muhalabiya Cronut – It is a croissant and donut hybrid with Rose pudding filling rolled in ground pistachio with a rose syrup icing on top. The reason being that there was an interview with Dominique Ansel, (the creator of the Cronut who’s based in New York) with Sauce, ( the concept store in Dubai), where they asked him if he were to create a Dubai Cronut he suggested Rose and Pistachio as a flavor, which was exactly what I did, without knowing about the interview. Coincidentally, a week earlier my friend had posted my Rose Cronut and Dominique commented on the instagram post by saying, “This was not made by me”, which was an honor to me as the legend himself had noticed my work.
Kay: What was the best advice you have ever received?
Fatma: Do your own thing, and don’t care about what people might talk or think about you. This advice was given to me by my dearest aunt, Asma Al Gaizi who was one of the strongest drive behind my accomplishments.
Kay: Any advice to young aspiring people in your field?
Fatma: Don’t follow the rules, experiment and ask advice from people who matter and bring positive energy in your life.
With that we wrap our time with Fatma and here are a few things I would like to add.
“Creative experimentation propels our culture forward. That our stories of innovation tend to glorify the breakthroughs and edit out all the experimental mistakes doesn’t mean that mistakes play a trivial role. As any artist or scientist knows, without some protected, even sacred space for mistakes, innovation would cease.” -Evgeny Morozov
What I say is quite inevitable. No matter how great a baker you are, no matter how many times you’ve baked the same bread from the same oven, you will burn a few loaves.
It simply can’t be any other way.
The burnt loaves are just the cost of all the loaves you got right. It’s part of baking.
You will achieve nothing in life if you’re unwilling to burn a few loaves.
Bread must be baked or it cannot be called bread. Just as life must be lived or it cannot be called life.