Gossip Girl — Magazine — The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi
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Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

Feature Dining Dining | Women's style | May 1, 2017

Dr Shayma Nawaf Fawwaz, whose business venture GOSSIP Cafe & Desserts is a true labour of love, talks to The Galleria Magazine about her passion for luxury fashion and the art of baking

A successful career as a healthcare professional on hold, it was early memories of afternoons spent in the kitchen with her sister, fighting over who gets to lick the bowl, that eventually bought her “home”.

“It’s a mixing dish of uncooked cake batter but it tasted so good,” she reminisces, breaking a smile. “One had the bowl and the other the spoon and it was time-consuming enough to keep us busy until the cookies or cakes were fresh from the oven.”

The young Emirati has never lost her love of food, a passion that drove and fed a vision for her own Emirati-inspired food business. 

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Dr Fawwaz is the founder and owner of GOSSIP Cafe & Desserts with outlets in Dubai, Sharjah and in Abu Dhabi at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island. “The Galleria is the ultimate luxury shopping and dining destination in Abu Dhabi and a must-stop location for fashion forward individuals,” says Dr Fawwaz. “With international designers represented in beautiful boutiques, it was an obvious choice for me and my business. GOSSIP caters to clients with a love of all things luxury and this made it the perfect location. I had my heart set on it.”

A self-confessed shopaholic (with an emphasis on luxury designers), Dr Fawwaz admits it’s not always easy to stick to a strict ‘window-shop-only’ policy when you spend a lot of time in The Galleria.

“I am a shopping addict. I think all women are,” she laughs. “I love shopping and putting looks together with beautiful pieces from my favourite brands and designers.”

The ‘favourites’ list was a long one and was cut down with staunch resistance. “Cartier, it must begin with Cartier,” she insists. “Their watches and jewellery are amazing. Céline clothes, bags and shoes are my weakness and the Fendi range, since Karl Lagerfeld became creative director, is a brand to be reckoned with. The ski outfits are just fabulous. Van Cleef & Arpels for high end jewellery is stunning. The bespoke lines carry such a historical perspective on life.”

I love to spend the day there and meet friends in GOSSIP and for a spot of shopping. It’s a luxury one–stop shop for fashion housed in an exquisite and exclusive environment.
Dr Shayma Nawaf Fawwaz

Dr Fawwaz’s last purchase was a stunning Louis Vuitton – one of the Emirati’s go-to brands - Petite Malle clutch in rose gold. “I love the brand and loved this clutch but couldn’t find it in the right colour. The Galleria came to my rescue.”

All her favourite stores, fabulous dining offerings (Zuma being a close second after her own cafe) and the hand-picked location of her own business, Dr Fawwaz is truly invested in The Galleria.

“It’s the best shopping centre in Abu Dhabi by far,” she says. “I love to spend the day there and meet friends in GOSSIP and for a spot of shopping. It’s a luxury one–stop shop for fashion housed in an exquisite and exclusive environment. What more could a woman want?”

An Emirati-inspired, home-grown cafe, GOSSIP has fast become one of the most popular spots in town, having identified a need in the UAE for a unique gourmet cafe experience, Dr Fawwaz got to work on creating something special.

“It has always been a dream of mine to create, set up and launch my own business,” she says. “After travelling I found it difficult to find quality fusion food and desserts that satisfy the taste buds in the UAE. It seemed everywhere was just an established franchise cut and pasted from another country. Nothing felt truly authentic.” Thus GOSSIP Cafe and Desserts was born.        

“Baking is a professional hobby of mine. I create, test and bake my own recipes,” says Dr Fawwaz. “It’s a science really. I have a taste for gourmet foods that are made from quality natural ingredients that look as good as they taste.”

The cafe serves contemporary fusion Euro-American cuisine with Emirati inspired flavours and spices. It’s a visually exciting, dining experience through savoury and sweet dishes made from the highest quality of fresh, natural, organic and ethically-sourced ingredients served in a one-of-a-kind stylish retail boutique. There are healthy beverages, organic coffee and tea to accompany a clever afternoon tea service. You can design your own cake from a selection of flavours and buttercreams.

Having graduated from the George Washington University with a PHD in Genetics followed by an MBA from London Business School, Dr Fawwaz was previously Vice President of Healthcare at Mubadala Development Company in the capital.

“A background in healthcare has certainly helped me run my business successfully,” claims the entrepreneur. “I have an understanding of why it’s important to produce good food, from great products.”

The baker adamantly believes good food should not only be reserved for five-star hotels. “You should be able to get homemade dishes in cafes and that’s the gap we intended to plug,” she says. “GOSSIP is an urban-casual-chic ambiance with a sassy relaxed vibe that serves wholesome and healthy food, with the option of something naughty too.”

The big goal for the future is to take GOSSIP to the world. “I think I’ve done well, but I strive to do better,” she says. “I’d love to take GOSSIP international, and be recognised as an Emirati brand around the world. Life is the best teacher and I’ll learn as I go. I’ll get there one day.”