(L-R): Chef Nina Métayer, Chef Najla Shamiri, Chef Aaliya Randeree, Chef Liz Stevenson, Chef Hind Al Mulla and Chef Ida Martin
CNIEL, the French Dairy Board, and the European Commission have highlighted the journeys of five of the most prominent contemporary women pastry chefs who are from the Middle East or based here. As part of International Women’s Day celebrations, the five culinary whizzes with varying levels of experience appear in Cream Chapter, a new magazine.
This first edition of the magazine features chefs from some of Dubai’s leading hotels and bakeries, including the QE2’s Ida Martin, Hind Al Mulla, the Founder and Director of Home Bakery, and Aaliya Randeree, the Head Chef and Founder of Butterworks Bakery. The group also involved UAE-based consultant Chef Liz Stevenson and Saudi Arabia’s Najla Shamiri. Plus, a sixth addition, Nina Métayer, France’s 2016 Pastry Chef of the Year, rounded out the group.
Chef Najla Shamiri
For Cream Chapter’s debut, the talented pastry professionals gathered around a table to discuss what it means to be a woman in pastry. They were also given a mission to create six desserts using European dairy cream.
“This first edition of Cream Chapter is all about showcasing the depth in quality and taste of infused French cream and the recipes created with it, as well as the talent of those incredible women chefs from the Middle East and France,” Marie-Laure Martin, International Project Manager at CNIEL, said. “The flair and passion that went into this project was incredible, and we hope their stories will inspire the next generation of chefs.”
Chef Hind El Mulla
All six women want to see gender parity, which still seems like a distant dream, being achieved in the industry. Significant struggles include a lack of women’s representation in magazines and at conferences, and in the F&B industry in general. “In this field, women don’t receive their fair share of recognition and visibility,” Stevenson said.
“Don’t give up. If you believe in your dream, just go for it. Overcome the obstacles. It works. You just have to believe,” Emirati Al Mulla said while addressing young women beginning their careers.