Nelspruit pastry secrets on the menu at Al-Fidaa high tea
'The Stylish Baker' Faaiza Omar visits PE
What started as a hobby has seen Nelspruit baker and pastry enthusiast Faaiza Omar gain more than 23,000 Instagram followers.
Faaiza’s passion for pastry and women empowerment brought the self-taught chef to Port Elizabeth to speak at – and in support of – the Al-Fidaa School of Baking’s fundraising high tea last Sunday November 11.
The school in Market Street, North End, offers baking lessons to underprivileged women free of charge.
“What the school is doing is an amazing concept which I would be honoured to be part of,” she said at the event.
Omar began baking in her teens, helping her mother in the kitchen before her pastry passion grew into a business she co-owns with her sister Aneesa.
The two sisters run The Stylish Baker mostly through social media. They supply ingredients and tools to related businesses and also offer pastry classes all year round.
However, the women do not sell their mouthwatering pastries.
“Between the online store, pastry school and our own careers there is just not enough time to sell pastries as well,” Omar said.
A qualified skin therapist, she also runs her own skincare centre while her sister is a partner in their mother’s modest wear clothing line.
The Stylish Baker became a fully functional business three years ago, its name inspired by the sisters’ combined love of fashion and baking.
“We both love baking, and fashion and style have always been a huge part of our lives, growing up in a family of four sisters and a mom who is a modest wear designer.
“Our business started with just the online store, as most of the tools and moulds aren’t available locally.
"We procured a wide range of patisserie essentials and stocked them in our online store, thereafter there was a growing demand to train individuals to use the equipment, hence the pastry school began,” Omar said.
She recently won the Lancewood Cake-Off baking challenge with her pink rose, pistachio and raspberry gâteau.
“I honestly didn’t expect to win. Rose, pistachio and raspberry are my favourite melange flavours. I wanted to create a gâteau that was light and delicious,” she said.
Omar’s favourite pastry to make is Ispahan – a rose macaron with a raspberry and litchi filling, for which she is sharing her recipe today. It is not only aesthetically pleasing but also a family favourite.
Omar thrives in the kitchen, but as a prolific international traveller there are times when she is separated from her kitchen.
“I can’t go too long without baking, usually about two to three weeks when I’m travelling, and then I can’t wait to get back in the kitchen to start experimenting with all the new flavours I’ve encountered on my travels,” she said.
The baking school helps Omar fulfill another of her passions – empowering women.
“Women empowerment is very important to me. Through education and training, individuals are able to start their own businesses and become independent.
"We have many home industries attend our classes and they have taken their product offerings to a higher level.” Try The Stylish Baker Pastry School's recipe for Ispahan Macaron