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Photo: Dessert First.

Dessert First: A new boutique bakery by chef Julia Gindra opens in Centretown

By Jamie MacPherson on June 3, 2022

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This just in: Dessert First, a new boutique bakery at Somerset and Bay, is the next Centretown gem. After passing through a cozy patio overlooking Dundonald Park, you’re greeted by lovely daffodil wallpaper, gorgeous tiny hanging plants in a large bright window, a scintillating centrepiece display stocked with lavish handmade treats, open kitchen aromas, and smiling, welcoming staff.

Photo: Dessert First.

Dessert First chef-owner Julia Gindra’s attention to detail is apparent throughout. From lining drink cups with syrup swirls to stand-out wall art, the completely redone space and made-with-love delicacies cast a spell on you. Gindra opened her shop on April 28 to a warm community welcome.

“What attracted me to the location was the foot traffic, the large windows, the central location for pickups and that I could open the space within a month,” Gindra says.

Photo: Dessert First.

Waking at 4am five days a week, Gindra is working her dream job, crafting “more comforting traditional desserts, as opposed to the high-end challenging fare with so many ideas to explore.” Her designs are always fresh. I went in for sourdough bread and witnessed the genuine passion and real joy on display, as Gindra prepared orders while a packed house patiently waited for their goodies to arrive.

An Algonquin College graduate with Dean’s honours and a Red Seal chef designation, Gindra has managed Fairmount Hotel kitchens and placed eighth nationally in The Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship. Most recently, she was pastry chef for The Whalesbone Group, selling thousands of desserts, breads, ice cream and cakes, building a loyal clientele and a social media following that she has brought along with her to Dessert First, where she continues to connect the 613 with custom-made breads and ever-evolving made-from-scratch desserts.

Photo: Dessert First.

The neighbourhood, and indeed all of Ottawa, will be excellently cared for at 350 Bay. “I’ve been training and preparing for this for the last 12 years! As long as I can remember, I have wanted to own my own dessert shop. I have always visualized to create an employment for myself and a small team in a safe, creative, encouraging and fair work environment for myself and my team,” Gindra says.

Photo: Dessert First.

Gindra refers to Dessert First as a boutique bakery:  “A boutique is a small and sophisticated store. We use only the intended ingredients in our recipes, no substitutes! We use authentic ingredients wherever and whenever possible. Our product is art made with pride and care – from initial recipe creation, to testing how the ingredients come together, every detail is important to bring to life a sweet piece of art!”

Photo: Dessert First.

What can you expect from your visit? “When you step into our boutique, it’s small, cute, bright, and friendly, with classic and nostalgic treats made with real ingredients, such as our deep-dish cake, which is a play on deep n’ delicious cake. Our breakfast sandwiches are served on our house-made English muffins that we make everyday, eggs fried to order and locally sourced meats. Best quality made with the most love.” There’s also an orange cheesecake jar, grilled cheese with trang sauce, unique cookie combos, and attractive and diverse drinks. The ever-shifting menu has something for everyone.

Photo: Dessert First.

With the cute storefront and an equally cute online store that’s been thriving since 2021 with customer favourites paired alongside new innovations, Gindra wants to take you on food adventures and also for you to go on your own adventure.

“My message is to all young entrepreneurs. Do not be afraid to follow your dreams. It is okay to be scared, it just means you know what is at stake. My advice would be to start small and to grow organically. With crazy hard work, dedication, and confidence in your ability, know that you can accomplish these things. There is funding and resources out there for young entrepreneurs, so do not stop because you think there isn’t!”

Ottawa’s food landscape is brighter today, thanks to Gindra’s marvellous food art. Stop by and become spellbound.


Dessert First is a boutique bakery located in Centretown serving high-quality desserts, bread, takeout sandwiches and a variety of other yummy treats. Drop in to have a coffee and say hi sometime. To see their custom cakes or to get a sneak peek at what they are working on, follow @dessertfirst_ottawa on Instagram.