Picture this: Warm cinnamon rolls dripping in caramel and sprinkled with pecans, creamy spinach artichoke dip served with a side of delectable melted cheese, a colorfully decorated vanilla-strawberry checkerboard cake to brighten up a birthday party table. These are only a handful of the many delicious and creative handiworks offered by the newly opened Better From Scratch catering and bakery service. Beirut has a new menu to consider, and just ask anyone who's had a taste of what it has to offer - the food is nothing short of delectable.

For the founder, Nahlan Saade, a current fashion-merchandising management student at NYC's Fashion Institute of Technology, opening a catering service has been a dream a long time in the making. Having received encouraging feedback from friends and family on her culinary skills for years, she decided to take the initiative and develop her own start-up. Her mindset going into it, she told Beirut.com was: "if it goes well, then good for me, and if not, then it was an experience!"

(Image via facebook)

Judging by the overwhelmingly number of positive reviews from clients, both in person and on social media, it most definitely has worked out. The Better from Scratch Instagram page, which has more than 3,000 hungry followers as of publishing time, is teeming not only with photos of enticing food but with re-posts from satisfied customers and the leftover crumbs of whatever dessert or plate they ordered. "It's simple but different," Selma Zaki, both a customer and a close friend of Saade's told Beirut.com, "everything has a twist to it, and the food comes directly to you."

Dina Masri, another customer and close friend, said, "I think Better From Scratch is what it is today because it's personal. She deals directly with her customers, and they're getting her handmade food, not a recipe she passed on to someone who's cooking it for her."

Better from Scratch offers a wide range of delicious and creative options. For appetizers and main courses, items such as Greek chicken gyros, giant stuffed pasta shells, and loaded potato skins have been especially popular, and healthy options like cinnamon apple parfait and Mediterranean quinoa salad offer an alternative for customers looking for something lighter.

(Image via facebook)

However, the best sellers are easily Saade's homemade desserts, especially the cookies. Ranging from traditional chocolate chip and M&M cookies to melted chocolate-and-marshmallow, plus her signature red velvet Nutella cookies, Better From Scratch has it all.

Another fan favorite are the famous pizza-sized cookies that can be customized with whatever topping the customer desires. Saade says she constantly strives to update the menu with new items to keep things fresh for customers. Special treats are added every holiday, including chocolate-dipped pretzels and red velvet cake balls, which are now available for order ahead of Valentine's Day.

True to its name, the authenticity of this catering shop lies in the ingredients. "My whole concept was to make everything from scratch. I wanted each cake flavor to have its own distinct taste, as well as my cookie dough and frostings," says Saade. She initially started off by looking up recipes online and eventually began adjusting them to her own tastes. "I always try to do things that would set me apart from other places," she stated. And with a twist on original recipes, she's done just that. Not only is the food imaginative and original, Saade has done the designing, baking, finances, and advertising herself.

(Image via facebook)

For Saade, some of the challenges faced prior to the start of the center was balancing between studies and organizing her new business. "I was taking five online classes, so I was having a bit of a hard time getting everything together, from deciding on final recipes, to prices, to meeting with food and packaging suppliers." But the months of hard work have brought with them rewards as well as obstacles: "[Simply] having Better From Scratch launched, and knowing that it is doing so well, is the biggest reward in the world. I had no idea it would take off the way it did, but the support its been getting is beyond amazing! The joy I see on people’s faces, or the messages they send me about how much they love their order puts the biggest smile on my face, and it motivates me to keep working harder."

When asked about future hopes and aspirations, Saade expressed interest in expanding her business into an industrial kitchen, where the concept remains the same but her workspace and team grow.

Deliveries must be placed a day in advance by phone number or email to allow for ample preparation time. To place your order, call: +961 78 965 285 or visit the Better From Scratch Facebook page.

(Image via facebook)

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