Aisha Doty Al Husseiny — the artful chocolatier

Naturalised Emirati and doting mother of two, realises her dream of dabbling in baking after being a homemaker for nearly three decades


Joydeep Sengupta

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Published: Fri 28 Oct 2022, 9:24 PM

Last updated: Sat 29 Oct 2022, 10:38 PM

Few get a second chance in life to fulfil their cherished dreams of their formative years. Aisha Doty Al Husseiny among the lucky few, whose dreams have been realised in her middle age in a setting that’s far away from Catawba island — one of 12 townships of Ottawa County in Ohio, Midwest America.

The only child of a loving couple — her father worked in an insurance agency and mother in a pharmacy — Aisha always wanted to become a chef from a tender age. However, her parents had “inhibitions about the profession” and she fell in line and did a course correction.

She went to the University of Toledo in Ohio and majored in education, amid travelling across North America in the 1980s.

However, destiny had other ideas for Aisha, whose life took a different turn when she married into Middle Eastern culture and the Emirati way of life.

While in the university, she took to Mustafa Mohammad Al Husseiny, who was pursuing a degree in business management.

Love blossomed, and by 1992, Aisha and Mustafa were husband and wife and made their way back to Dubai.

Aisha Doty Al Husseiny with her husband Mustafa Mohammad Al Husseiny and sons Salem (extreme left) and Saeed (extreme right). Supplied photo
Aisha Doty Al Husseiny with her husband Mustafa Mohammad Al Husseiny and sons Salem (extreme left) and Saeed (extreme right). Supplied photo

She lived in Dubai for a year, after which, the couple decided to move to Sharjah in 1993.

Mustafa joined the family business — his father is a successful businessman who has interests in various industries. “The transition wasn’t difficult, as I was interested in Islam since college. And I was interested to learn more about the Middle Eastern culture when I arrived in the UAE.”

Significantly, my in-laws have always been supportive and made me comfortable from the outset. The familial ties were made stronger by the growing loving relationship between us and our in-laws,” she said with disarming candour.

Aisha managed to overcome the language barrier within the first two years of her coming to the UAE. “A home tutor taught me Arabic, and I became proficient in the language because of the rigorous training. My proficiency in the language helped me to integrate with the Arab culture and Emirati society better,” she said.

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Supplied photo

Aisha’s Arabic skills are an exposition of her love for foreign tongues such as French and Spanish that she had learnt during her Ohio days.

“For close to three decades, my life revolved around my family, children — my two boys Salem and Saeed — school runs, grocery, taking care of the home and the hearth and encouraging healthier eating habits. I have always been a great believer in homemade food and diverse cultures inculcate similar values. But the Covid-19 pandemic unexpectedly opened a career option for me, which I gladly accepted and rose to the challenges,” she added.

Aisha, whose adopted Islamic name is inspired by her friend’s daughter, saw opportunity amid the raging viral outbreak in 2020, when encouraged by Mustafa and rekindled by her childhood passion she decided to transform herself into an artful chocolatier, an immersive journey that has just begun.

Life comes full circle

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Supplied photo

Aisha’s dream to become a baker that was spurned by her parents in the 1980s was realised in December 2021. Mustafa’s encouragement and constant prodding led to the birth of Golden Ribbon Chocolates — a sprawling and tastefully decorated cake, pastry and savouries outlet at Al Muntazah Plaza in serene Al Qulaya’ah, Sharjah.

Initially, Aisha, who has always been a stickler for professionalism, enrolled for a two-day course at the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Dubai. Later, she received a six-month training as a pastry chef and got her diploma from the City and Guilds of London Institute.

In less than a year, Golden Ribbon Chocolates have struck a chord with its discernible customers for selling Callebaut’s iconic finest Belgian chocolates, where fillings are all homemade. The handcrafted chocolates are inspired by a French-Arabic fusion. They are available in a wide array of flavours such as cardamom, saffron, date, tahini and za'atar.

“Benchmarking the product to European standards with local produce such as milk and eggs are our hallmark. Sustainability is the key to our products. Contrary to popular perception, we have ensured that no palm oil is used in making chocolates,” she said.

Her affable and hard working 11-member of the staff vouched for the quality of the chocolates.

For instance, the emphasis has always been to use Couverture, a high-quality chocolate that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than baking or eating chocolate.

Aisha is clear about Golden Ribbon Chocolates’ future. “It’s a labour of love and not an enterprise to make money. We would like to support the local community and give a human touch to our endeavour. I have always had a pet peeve about people missing out on experiential feelings before making any financial transaction. Golden Ribbon Chocolates ticks that box, as there is a separate room for tasting, mixing, and matching our bespoke cakes that can be served during weddings, birthdays and other celebrations. So, there won’t be another clone of Golden Ribbon Chocolates through franchise models,” she added.

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