Umber Ahmad, founder and head chef of Mah-ze-dahr, grew up based in northern Michigan but also traveling the world. Her family is from Pakistan, which is where, as a young girl, she was first inspired by food and learned that, as she says, it has a “language all its own.” In fact, she named her company after this revelation: In Urdu, the word mazedar is used to describe the magic of food, that elusive quality that makes you want to taste something again and again.
Umber actually studied genetics and business, then went on to have a successful career in finance, handling another kind of dough. Fun fact: During her tenure as an investment banker (her specialty was the global expanse of food brands), she was the subject of “Risk|Reward,” a critically acclaimed documentary about women on Wall Street. But she decided she wanted to combine all her passions – her business acumen, love of baking and science. Thus Mah-ze-dahr was born.
Umber’s inventive, expertly made and unbelievable baked goods were first discovered by Tom Colicchio, acclaimed chef and owner of Craft restaurants and ‘wichcraft. Tom is known around the world as someone who discovers the next great chefs (he is the head judge on Bravo’s hit reality cooking series, “Top Chef,” after all) and once he met Umber, he started the Colicchio Discovery Platform. He was a client of Umber’s, and they would always talk food. Umber eventually treated him to a sample of her cakes and cookies, and he thought they were so good he decided to invest!
We’re so glad Umber and Tom met, because Mah-ze-dahr is truly mazedar.