Social media occupies a big space of our personal lives as it connects us to the virtual platform of our reality. Living abroad, it plays a vital part in my search for the next local food venture or unique individual that I will feature in my blog. Following all those people who are venturing in the food scene in Jordan and witnessing their product development is sometimes disappointing. Nevertheless, a few of those individuals put a lot of passion and effort in what they create to stand out among the crowd. For the past two years, Butter Believe It has shined with a different approach, an outstanding product and a passion like no other. My short stay in Amman last month allowed me to meet Haya Khalifeh in person to talk about her from-home pastry kitchen serving Amman exceptional cake designs and delicious pastries.
Unlike her complex designs, Haya showed up with a simple outfit and a smile on her face. The 23 years old graduate from University of Birmingham has decided to put her career in Environmental Science aside when she decided to pursue her studies at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. “My grandparents were not satisfied with the decision I made to move to London, but my family was,” says Haya. Although she was taking a diversion from what Jordanians are supposed to grow into as engineers, doctors or at least have a scientific degree, Haya found support within her family and friends who encouraged her to take the path of her childhood and continue her passion for pastry and cake design. “For 6 consecutive months, I enrolled in a condensed pastry course at Le Cordon Bleu. With an average of 10 hours a day, you couldn’t but to master the pastry basics of cakes, tarts, chocolate work and sugar sculpting. Theoretical classes were as well part of the curriculum covering food safety, cleanliness and kitchen management to name a few.”
March 2015, Haya was a certified pastry chef and was willing to start a new adventure at her own country. “I gave the next step a long thought. I wanted to introduce new ideas, be different from the norm and as far away as I could from the status quo,” Haya adds. Her brave and bold personality is reflected in the designs that she was able to pull off with her baking experience and her clientele desires. “The cakes I design are far from what my customers expect. Most of the time I am excited to see the look on their faces upon delivering their order. There is always a shock but astonishment and an unexpected reaction that fills the air with absolute satisfaction, love and enjoyment of what they are about to surprise their friends, family or loved ones with,” she explains.
The fear of failure was an obstacle for Haya being her greatest weakness. She was not confident with what her customers’ feedback would be about her designs. “My cake is my canvas! I get the idea of what my client likes and dislikes and translate it into a cake accordingly. The final product is an eye catching ‘painting’ of ingredients, colors, installations and unusual designs,” she adds. With her abstract approach, Haya never plan ahead or sketch any of her designs, it just comes naturally! Her distinctive and unique designs are never replicated. Being her own self-critic, Haya admits that she can be harsh on herself, and there she confesses where her creativity and passion grow from.
Butter Believe It design studio is where all the magic happens. The small office and basement kitchen at her family’s resident was part of the support they offered to the young chef. Serving as the base of her little project, Haya uses the neat and simple space of her kitchen to record short videos giving away her tips and tricks about bakery and cake design. Haya’s appearance on her social media networks adds another dimension to Butter Believe It and creates a personal connection with her clients. Being the chef behind the scenes and the face of her brand, Haya is making her way through in a competitive market with her unconventional ideas, beautifully designed cakes and delicious desserts.
* Pictures courtesy of Butter Believe It