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Meet Raghad Jalanbo of SavvyChef Treats in Orange County/Inland Empire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raghad Jalanbo.

Raghad, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up American in a Syrian household meant there was a huge connection between family, love, and food. My mother would spend the better part of each day preparing intricate, time-consuming recipes we all loved. Most of my afternoons after school were spent helping chop ingredients, season meals, and wash the dishes. I was a sous chef and didn’t even know it! Every night we would sit to eat together as a family and I remember feeling guilty that she had invested so much effort, and her hard work would be gone in under 30 minutes.

In 2008, I was raising my three years old daughter, in the middle of my Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and working on my internship hours. My time was stretched thin, and cooking the way my mother did was not even remotely an option; but I was a food snob who loved to eat well. I found myself preparing quick meals with pantry staples that packed a lot of flavor. We were constantly hosting dinner parties and our friends would look forward to eating my unique dishes and frequently ask for recipes after. My husband suggested I start blogging and half-jokingly said I should call myself “SavvyChef”. The name rang a chord, and for the next ten years, I would create and post as my time allowed. I realized this was my creative outlet and the dishes started to get more intricate as my palette and skill level developed. I tried my hand at baking with the same approach of throwing together ingredients on a whim, and the results were constantly inedible. I gained respect for the science and technique required to produce a quality dessert, but my brain wasn’t wired to follow recipes. I challenged myself to master the techniques and move to the level of creation, and eventually I was able to apply a calculated strategy of inventing my own treats.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In my mind, SavvyChef started as a fun hobby to do on the side, as my career ambitions were focused on being a mental health professional. As my family grew and I was juggling multiple roles, I struggled to allocate personal time to my interests. More and more time would lapse between blog posts, but the delicious food wasn’t ceasing. Many friends would constantly tell me to sell them my treats and I would laugh it off. Eventually in 2018, a dear friend co-started QuadM, a marketplace geared towards supporting Moms with business aspirations. I booked a booth and for the first time in ten years, I sold my first treats. We sold out within hours, and with each sale my confidence grew. The next year, QuadM returned bigger and better, and SavvyChef Treats did the same. I multiplied the amount of treats available, and this time we sold out in the first 2 hours of the day. Orders continued to increase, and our clientele developed. One of our most memorable events was the first time we were invited as dessert caterers for Netflix during a special Ramadan event the company hosted.

The signature dessert quickly became the Ultimate S’mores Bar, and still remains the most popular item on our bakery menu. In the last couple of years, I’ve been contacted countless times by amazing supportive fans with messages and screenshots of local budding bakers trying to replicate the dessert. They would be indignant about how the dessert descriptions were nearly identical to my own, and while I most definitely did not create s’mores, I did create this unique version. I learned to take this as a huge compliment and promised myself to continue creating delicious new desserts instead of focusing my energy on negativity.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about SavvyChef Treats – what should we know?
SavvyChef Treats specializes in gourmet desserts using quality, all-natural ingredients to produce unique delicacies. The bakery menu consists of favorites like the Ultimate S’mores Bars that start with a toasted butter dough and are topped with marshmallow cream, a variety of valrhona chocolate chips, creamy cookie butter and crunchy toffee for an experience that’s unlike any other treat! The Raspberry Rose Pistachio Shortbread is inspired by my Syrian roots with imported pistachios that are a vivid green and laced with rose water for a delicate finish. To nurture my creative streak, there are limited edition dessert items that rotate, with the current ones being the Cardamom Pistachio Date Tart, and the Oreo Nutella Baklawa.

Each of the treat boxes come beautifully gift packaged for shipping across the USA. The treat boxes have become a cherished gift to send and share with loved ones, and we’re honored to be a reason of joy and celebration.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Having an easy going attitude, thriving under pressure, and being an unwavering perfectionist about the finished desserts have been critical to my success. Prior to running my own business, I was a very picky shopper with high expectations. This has helped me go above and beyond when I have a shipping error or other less than stellar experience from a customer. I’ve also now seen the other side of a customer experience and have learned to cut quite a bit more slack towards other professionals.

Pricing:

  • Ultimate S’more Bars: 6 piece/$25, 12 piece/$45
  • Variety Box (Ultimate S’mores/Raspberry Rose Pistachio/Maple Caramel Walnut Shortbread: 6 piece/$29, 12 piece/$49
  • Cookie Butter Walnut Baklawa/Oreo Nutella Baklawa: 6 piece/$29, 12 piece/$49

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.SavvyChefTreats.com
  • Phone: 951-221-3642
  • Email: orders@SavvyChefTreats.com
  • Instagram: @savvy_chef


Image Credit:

Tarek Mustapha for the s’mores image

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