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27/07/2017 - 07:00hs

Brazilian snacks and sweets a hit in Dubai

Gula, a company founded by Brazilian Fernanda Troy, is now selling up to 800 kg of Brazilian delicacies monthly. The entrepreneur wants to promote Brazilian culture in the UAE.


Fernanda Troy is an entrepreneur in Dubai

São Paulo – The passion for cooking drove Fernanda Troy, a former flight attendant at Emirates, to quit her life in the clouds to offer the people of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the real taste of Brazil. Coxinhas (fried chicken-filled dumpling), beijinhos (coconut fudge candy), empadas (small pies), croquettes and other delicacies typical of Brazilian parties are now part of the menu from Gula, a company she founded in 2012 and that today is her livelihood in the Arab country.

Born in São Paulo, Fernanda moved to London, England, right after graduating as an assistant nurse. She lived there for five years until she got an invitation to work at Emirates. “I didn’t even know Dubai, but as soon as I moved here, in 2010, I fell in love with the city,” says the now-entrepreneur, who doesn’t see herself anywhere else but there. “Here there’s a lot to do, many business opportunities to invest on,” she says.

With an entrepreneur resolve, the owner of Gula – which, at the time, still a micro business, was called I Love Coxinha – started to cook to order simultaneously to her work in the airline, specially to the Brazilian community in Dubai. The costs to register a company would still scare Fernanda, who would take the opportunity to test the level of acceptance to her products in the market.


Brazilian delicacies are part of the menu of Gula

It was only in 2012 that she made the decision to dedicate 100% of her time to the business. Along with the business registration came the current name – but a proposal from another airline, Dutch company KLM, postponed Fernanda’s attempt. “It was a very good paycheck, to an office job in Dubai,” she explains.

Since her own business improved well, the entrepreneur quit her job and started to dedicate herself fully to the company in 2014. Currently, Gula works in three areas: it supplies restaurants, cooks to order for events and people, and renders consulting services to Brazilians trying to open their own business, especially within the food sector.

“We don’t want to supply only food. Here, there’s a deficiency for quality services, so we offer also training, consulting services. We want to help drive up businesses of Brazilians here, to help expand Brazilian culture in the UAE,” says Fernanda. According to her, many Brazilian investors in Dubai end up closing shop before businesses complete three years due to lack of experience.


Sweets are among the preferred items by the Emiratis

Among the events, the business owner highlights the marriage of Pakistanis and Indians, plus the Arabs. “The parties by Indians that are millionaires last for five days. The Brazilian flavor has captivated all nationalities, the Emiratis are absolutely in love with coxinhas, cheese breads and all the sweets, especially those that have coconut in them,” she says. The Brazilian clients are still there, but are now the minority.

According to Fernanda, Gula serves up to half a ton of food per month, reaching 800 kg in November and December, the months of greatest demand. The company has over 3,000 registered clients, most of them ordering delivery – there’s not a brick and mortar Gula restaurant in Dubai. “I rent a full industrial kitchen since here you can’t cook at home to sell,” she explains.

Without even considering coming back to Brazil, the entrepreneur now analyses her next steps in the Arab country. One of the plans is to open a kitchen for chefs of other nationalities to get to know Brazilian food. “If all goes according to plan, we will also be ready to supply any restaurant that wants to serve high-quality Brazilian food,” says the Brazilian.

Quick info

Email: order@gula.com
Website: http://www.guladelights.com/

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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