In compliance with one of NAYA’s missions to shed light on women from all different backgrounds, we are glad to introduce to you NAYA’s “Women from our Villages” series. Each month, this series will take you on a journey to one of Lebanon’s villages and introduce you to a woman who has initiated a project to progress her community. To nominate projects for this series, contact NAYA Editor Sally Farhat: email@example.com
BEIRUT: Safaa Awar Abol Hosn, a mother of two, leads her life by example as she passionately runs her own catering initiative “Sofret Baytna," which was founded in 2010.
As her kids grew older, Awar Abol Hosn realized she had plenty of leisure time and sought to benefit from it. An avid cooker, she began experimenting with small dishes such as Kebbe, cheese rolls, and vine leaves. Awar Abol Hosn’s big breakthrough came when she was asked to cater her niece’s wedding reception.
“Everyone was blown away with how great the food tasted. They were all shocked when they discovered that I prepared every dish presented that night,” Awar Abol Hosn said.
Sofret Baytna, a rural based initiative, prides itself by being trustworthy and limitless. Awar Abol Hosn never saw geographical distance to be an issue as she caters to all cities regardless.
“They call, we deliver; it’s as simple as that. I have previously catered to events in Jounieh, Baabda, Mazraat Yachouaa, Chouf, and many more,” She told Annahar.
As her business grew stronger, Awar Abol Hosn was adamant about building a trustworthy and loyal relationship with her customers. She considers feedback to be an integral part of the process as there is always room for improvement.
“When you lose the trust that was once given to you by a client, you lose the most important asset your business can ever own. Aside from always providing fresh ingredients, I perfect each dish by adding to it my own personal touch,” she said.
Every successful journey comes with its own set of challenges. This being the case, Awar Abol Hosn explained that the main challenge she encountered was psychological. Like any other family, her husband was the one financially providing for years and it was hard for her to step in the business world, especially since she has never worked a day in her life.
“I live in the village with my family and when I decided to embark on this journey many were puzzled as they thought I didn’t need the money. Little did they know that Sofret Baytna was created out of love and passion purposes, not financial,” she told Annahar.
When Sofret Byatna first launched, Awar Abol Hosn was overwhelmed with fear of failure and contemplated as to whether she belonged in the catering world or not. The thought of people not liking her food stressed her out as negative word of mouth tends to spread fast.
“Of course after several successful catering experiences, I do not stress as much. However, fear of failure always lingers and I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing as long as you use it to your own advantage,” she told Annahar. “My husband and my sister are my biggest supporters. They never left my side; my husband delivers the food and my sister selflessly helped me cook throughout the first three years. Both didn’t expect anything in return."
The plethora of positive feedback enticed Awar Abol Hosn to consider further expanding her catering initiative to include event planning in the future.
“Aside from cooking, I would like to be in charge of the logistical aspect of the occasion as well. I would like to become an event planner who connects the customers with hosting companies, designers, photographers, and lighting crews I trust,” she said.
Awar Abol Hosn considers herself an ambitious person who dreams big and works hard to achieve what she wants. Establishing Sofret Baytna strengthened her personality, making her more assertive.
“My initiative gave me a voice and a presence. I urge all women to take charge and become independent. We need more solid women who will not take no for an answer," Awar Abol Hosn told Annahar.
Welcome to "NAYA," the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations-NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.firstname.lastname@example.org
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