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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Home-grown cafe Gossip Desserts is about more than just desserts

Coming to Abu Dhabi and Dubai: a new cafe that will have everybody gossiping.
Gossip Desserts in Sharjah. The cafe is due to open branches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Courtesy Gossip Desserts
Gossip Desserts in Sharjah. The cafe is due to open branches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Courtesy Gossip Desserts

If you haven’t heard of Gossip Desserts yet, you soon will. The Emirati-owned home-grown cafe is due to open its second branch in The Galleria on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi on December 14 and a third branch near City Walk in Dubai early next year.

Shayma Fawwaz, the Emirati woman behind the brand, launched Gossip Desserts nearly two years ago in Sharjah. Fawwaz, who was born in Abu Dhabi, came up with the concept as an answer to the cookie-cutter cafes mushrooming everywhere.

“I wanted to create an experience for people to enjoy what they’re eating and have a fun place to hang out,” says Fawwaz. “It’s so hard to find a good, everyday place to eat. I got sick of the same cafes – you find the same salad everywhere.”

Gossip Desserts is an Emirati-American-European fusion cafe and, though the name might suggest otherwise, it specialises in more than just desserts. While the truffles and cheesecakes in a jar are popular, Fawwaz has also made sure the unique sandwiches and salads she’s created leave people talking. Fawwaz says: “With every salad and sandwich, I say ‘how can I make this gourmet?’ For example, my tuna sandwich has wasabi, fresh olives, corn and avocado in it. I try to make everything a bit upscale.”

Fawwaz single-handedly set up Gossip Desserts and has been involved with every step of the process.

“I’ve had a business plan [for a cafe] since I was 21. I didn’t use consultants and I don’t have partners,” says Fawwaz. “I did it all from scratch and all by myself.” She came up with every recipe and says: “Everything I make is something I want to eat. If I want to eat it, then I sell it.”

She also doesn’t cut corners.

“We try to be as organic as possible,” says Fawwaz. “There are no preservatives in the food. I will not use jam from a jar. I will not use anything canned. Everything is made from scratch.”

Gossip Desserts is not even a full-time career for Fawwaz, who also has a high-profile job in the health care industry. She spent eight years in the United States earning an undergraduate degree in pre-med/business and microbiology from George Washington University and a doctorate in human genetics.

“I am fascinated by human DNA. It came to me naturally. Just like desserts,” she says with a laugh. “Gossip Desserts has 50 flavours of cupcakes and cakes,” she says. “As women, we’re always careful about what we eat. So when I come to indulge in a dessert, it better be worth it. We make sure it’s worth it. I tell my employees, you’re not selling a cupcake or a dessert. You’re selling an ­experience.”

• If you can’t wait for the Abu Dhabi and Dubai branches to open, Gossip Desserts is in Sharjah at University City. Open daily from 7.30am to 10pm, Sunday to Wednesday and 7.30am to 11pm, Thursday to Saturday. Call 06 545 5959 for more details (follow instagram.com/gossipdesserts)

sjohnson@thenational.ae