Pastry innovation with Barry Callebaut and Marike Van Beurden during the Be Better My Friend launch event

Pastry innovation with Barry Callebaut and Marike Van Beurden during the Be Better My Friend launch event

The Chocolate Academy Center Dubai hosted an exclusive full-day pastry revolution event on February 21.

Attendees discovered sustainable hosting practices. Furthermore, they indulged in flavors using plant-based ingredients. Guests had the opportunity to unlock their creative potential in pastry making. They were also introduced to Be Better, the world’s first plant butter for bakers and pastry chefs, which is distributed by EMF.

Marike van Beurden, pastry and chocolate consultant and co-founder of Be Better My Friend, inspired attendees with her passion for plant-based cuisine and sustainable practices. Van Beurden’s background in esteemed establishments across Belgium, Netherlands, France and Hong Kong paved the way for a transformative event. Moreover, attendees embarked on a 12-hour journey into the future of desserts, guided by Marike van Beurden herself. Participants explored eco-hosting and tasted flavors powered by plant-based ingredients, gaining insights into the future of pastry craftsmanship. The program included notes about sustainable hosting practices and eco-friendly innovations. Additionally, guests indulged in a palate-pleasing experience with flavors unleashed by plant-based ingredients.

Furthermore, thanks to Barry Callebaut’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, pastry professionals and enthusiasts explored endless possibilities. They also unlocked their creative potential in pastry making alongside Marike van Beurden. She is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of pastry innovation while promoting sustainability and plant-based cuisine.



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Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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