Passion for cooking turns into business

By Ruqaya Al Kindi

What can be the better use of time than cooking and spending time with family amid the coronavirus pandemic which has restricted people inside their homes?

Afrah al Ghatrifi, 23, is making the best use of time as she has been enjoying cooking, which is her faviourite pastime as well.

“I love to cook and bake. Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes and I find it one of the best stress busters. Since I am mostly at home these days, I am either cooking or baking and my love for baking surpasses everything else. I love to bake because I love sweet food, and also cooking because it is not something for which you have to travel or you have to depend on someone.”

And she loves to be alone while cooking which makes her focus and try more cooking tricks and experimenting new dishes.

“I make all kinds of sweets. I enjoy every moment and I never get bored. On the contrary when I get bored I make sweets to get rid of this feeling,” she says.

It is her mother’s cooking treasure, which mmde Afrah passionately associated with cooking. Her passion for cooking started some 8 years when she was a school student.

“I had a great passion for cooking.  No one taught me but I was watching when my mother was in the kitchen and learnt many things automatically just by watching her,” she said.

“I learned how to cook Maho sweet, which is one of the desserts that is usually available in festivals and other occasions. In the beginning it was my main dish that I use to cook for family and friends. I was giving it to my relatives and teachers as gift.”

She did not limit her passion only as a hobby and launched her project in 2017 as ‘Mahoti Sweet’. “The idea began when my sister convinced me to change my routine and enhance my cooking by adding new flavours,” she said.

“I agreed with by my sister and started to experiment flavors like snickers, oreo , lotus, kinder and others. Then I began distributing it to neighbors, family and friends, and it gained their admiration and praise.”

Her Instagram account helps her a lot in promoting her products and to reach out to more and more customers. She has more than 3,000 followers on Instagram. Afrah used her learning which she earned while studying marketing at Sultan Qaboos University. It helped her in experimenting with new ways of marketing for her products and helped in managing her project in a better way.

You can find different flavours in Afrah’s  Maho. It has range of flavours like lotus flavor, Oreo, Kinder, Galaxy, Pistachios, Maltese’s and others. She also provides cheesecake, cake and biscuit, and pastries such as donuts, pancakes. Beside that she cooks cookies, Cinnabon with different flavors, saffron cake, and soon she is going to add new sweets in her list.

Afrah was able to build and develop her business while she was a student at the university for two consecutive years and she continued after graduation. Running a business seems a difficult task, but Afrah thinks it just needs more planning and overcoming obstacles in smart ways to achieve success.

“The response I get and the positive reinforcement and acceptance of people to my sweets boosted my confidence and I hope I would reach a higher level of professionalism and expertise very soon,” she added.

She advises entrepreneurs to develop their skills in time management, setting priorities and then accomplish them in the right order. “They have, also, to know learn from their mistakes and not to repeat them over and over and to lead their project towards success.

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