Buro 24/7 Middle East Interview: Butter Dubai's Fatma Buhannad
The UAE's dessert trendsetter
With over 12 thousand followers on Instagram, Butter Dubai has made it to the big leagues of dessert. Created by local Emirati Fatma Buhannad, and her love for all things sweet, Butter Dubai combines global dessert trends and Middle Eastern flavours, in turn producing the most delicious and unique sweet dishes around.
The goodies made by Buhannad focus on putting a playful and exclusive spin on desserts using only the best ingredients and original concepts, such as typical 90s childhood snacks, and iconic French and Italian desserts with an Emirati twist.
Coinciding with Butter Dubai and Buro 24/7's Ramadan collaboration, we sat down with the mastermind herself to find out how she started Butter Dubai and what her favourite sweet treat is...
How did Butter Dubai come about?
After I graduated from university I did a lot of different courses, from jewellery to scuba diving, trying to find something that I could settle on which could also take the role as a career. A friend of mine then opened an events company, so I decided to work with her for a year, which was great because that's where I learnt how to start up my own business. After one year of working there, I decided to follow my passion of baking and start Butter Dubai.
What makes Butter different to other dessert companys in the region?
I think the main aspect which draws people in is that it's a seasonal bakery, the menu changes every four months, so there's always different items to try. I noticed in Dubai that there's a trend, people will go to a certain restaurant for only four months and then forget about it, so that's why I chose to do a seasonal menu.
Tell us about some of your best sellers?
My Nutella Sea Salt Cookie from season 1 has to be on the top of best-sellers. Creating that cookie was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. Everyone just loves the contrast of the Nutella with the salt.
After that is the Cronut from season 2, a concept originally done by Dominic Ansel in New York. I first started off with Arabic flavours, such as rose and pistachio, saffron and the basic vanilla.
After the Cronut, I did season 3 where I tried to introduce desserts that are made up of molecular gastronomy. For example my birthday cake recipe has birthday cake crumbs, which a lot of chef's use in high-end restuarants, so it's a birthday cake, with cake crumbs and cream cheese frosting.
Now, the latest thing I've done is try to turn drinks into solid desserts by using the molecular method. For example the one I created for Buro 24/7 Middle East, like the Vanilla Cup has a Panna Cotta vanilla flavour – which is like drinking vanilla milk but in a gel state – pared with espresso caviar, and chocolate crumbs, it's like having a latte but in a solid matter.
Where did you get the name Butter from?
Well to be honest, I'm not into healthy food and I love butter so it seemed ideal...also baking with my mom is another reason, she is big inspiration to me. I use to bake with her when I was a child and then once I started looking at her recipes I realised how generous she was with her butter and her cream and how it made everything taste amazing, so I thought why not name it Butter.
Also, my mother's name and my family name all start with a B, so it worked well.
What are your top three best sellers and your personal favourite?
The Nutella Sea Salt Cookies for sure, Cronuts and the Coconut Cake with dehydrated pineapples, which I dehydrate myself – I love making everything from scratch.
My personal favourite right now would be the Vanilla and Chocolate Cups I created for the Buro 24/7 Middle East collaboration. I love the contrast of colours which unite the Buro 24/7 colours and Butter colours together, and who doesn't love chocolate and vanilla! I also love how you get three different textures in your mouth; from the soft spheres of the caviar and the creaminess of the Panna Potta to the crunchy sweet crumbs.
Where would you like to see Butter in three years time?
Well I would love for it to go global, but as I'm taking it step by step, I want it to be seen in every gourmet super market and weddings. I want people to associate my desserts with happiness and good times. I would also like to try and open up a pop-up Butter dessert bar, selling my classic desserts like the Nutella Sea Salt Cookies alongside my new experimental items.