By Jessica Vallejo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A local business owner was able to face the challenges of the pandemic and created one of South Florida’s most popular cookie companies.

“I was born to do it. I actually always wanted to be a chef growing up,” said Iman Kawa.

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On a daily basis, Kawa is determined to bake cookies with her love. You often see her torch marshmallows and drizzle the magic touch over her tuxedo cookies.

They are just one of her fans’ favorites.

Better Than Your Mother’s are not just a box of luxury cookies, they are thoughtfully crafted desserts.

“They are not just cookies, they are an entire experience,” said Kawa.

Her cookies have become so well known, she has delivered to multiple celebrities such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, David Portnoy, and DJ Khaled.

However, the road for Kawa was not easy.

“My dad was probably the biggest culinary influence in my life for several reasons. Punishments used to always be peeling garlic because I hated how they smelled and he knew it,“ said Kawa.

At first, Kawa’s father did not accept her becoming a chef.

“He was Middle Eastern. He did not accept it,” said Kawa.

Her father realized she was just like him. He had previously owned a restaurant and secretly loved her passion for it.

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“My favorite birthday present was a food dispenser he gave me,” said Kawa.

When Kawa was 19-years-old, the unexpected happened.

“The way that my dad finally gave me his approval was by saying that when I get out of here we will open our restaurant together. He passed away two weeks later. Those words were really encouraging. They were all I needed to go and do it,” said Kawa.

Kawa packed her bags and headed to New York City. There she struggled to find a place to live and had to compete against the best.

“I was getting paid a little more than seven dollars. It was hard to pay rent,” said Kawa.

However, things slowly turned around in New York City. Kawa was featured on the Food Network and worked in the top 10 rated restaurants of the city.

“Hard work had paid off,” said Kawa.

When the pandemic hit she then lost everything again.

“I had to leave New York. I thought I had failed. Miami then ironically felt like it was meant to be,” said Kawa.

It has not stopped her from rising once more.

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“If my dad were here I know he would be proud. He would be my right-hand man,” said Kawa.

Jessica Vallejo