The aptly named Dessert Directory is Lahore’s first luxury patisserie stocking items from home based chefs. From its interior, to its business concept and offerings, the Dessert Directory brings a pleasant change of pace to town.
The triad behind Prime Edibles, the company that became well known for their edible arrangements of fruit bouquets and candy are the masterminds of the project. Having started out in 2012, they began with catering in 2013 but had been planning this venture since the outset. Khadija Shafqat — who has an MBA in Luxury Brand Management — is looking after the culinary aspect while her partners Moniba Javed and Amer Javaid, are looking towards the business side of things.
Khadija describes the venture as, “An organisation that is helping entrepreneurs operate from home and giving them a platform to sell their desserts on a commercial level,” she tells The Express Tribune.
The pattisiers currently stocking with them are on retainer for six months but the owners will keep looking at other home based chefs to include in the directory. “If they feel that their business has expanded to the point that they can open something of their own they’re more than welcome to leave us and do that. It’s not purely profit based. It’s also an organisation that’s helping people grow so there’s a social component to it.”
Dessert Directory is currently stocking 10 home based vendors who can make three items in quantities of six each on a daily basis. The vendors include Chef for the Weekend, Spoonful, Lahorelicious, The Mad Chef, Bano, Scrumptious, The Little Cake Company, The Pink Kitchen, Cake Couture and The Baking Room.
The Directory also offer consultation on dessert arrangement and quality. “We’ve been tasting desserts for three months now. While some didn’t need any additions, others needed to be polished in terms of presentation,” Khadija cites the example of a chocolate dome trifle filled which was initially served in a wine glass.
Everything at the shop ranges from Rs150 to Rs450 at the moment but they will soon be starting in-house desserts like pancakes, waffles and milkshakes. In Pakistan, it’s almost unheard of not having tea or coffee at a café which Dessert Directory doesn’t offer yet. “It was part of the plan but we opened doors on February 14 for a trial and the response is so overwhelming that we started it without drinks.”
The company’s future business plans revolve around taking over the surrounding area and opening little shops with colourful exteriors. But realistically, it’s a long term plan. From the quaint furniture to their brightly coloured cupcakes and marshmallows, the place offers a wholesome experience. Dessert options on the menu range from the conventional banoffee pie, Nutella cheesecake, Tiramisu and even Gulab Jamuns to more complex pastries like a pistachio meringue tart, which are served on golden coasters.
“Even if we keep complex desserts, people generally go for the safer options because the desi palette is slightly tricky. There are also those who want to try something new and we are trying to cater to both kinds of people,” mentions Khadija.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2016.