By Cindy Lam Hoang and Christine Jean-Baptiste

Baker Stephen Watt begins work at the crack of dawn, rolling, kneading, baking and making sandwiches at the Morning Owl Coffeehouse in Hintonburg. It’s a busy, busy day. Here is a look behind the scenes.

The Morning Owl Coffeehouse + Parlour is one of the five Morning Owl locations in Ottawa, owned by Jordan O’Leary. Including O’Leary, the Parkdale location has four owners, who have all worked together previously at another location. [Photo © Christine Jean-Baptiste]
Stephen Watt arrives at work at 6 a.m. to prepare the bread. He allows it to rise for a few hours before popping them into the oven. [Photo © Cindy Lam Hoang]
Since Watt makes bread for two locations, his racks are usually filled each day with bread pans. He’s very meticulous about knowing when the bread is ready for the oven.   [Photo © Cindy Lam Hoang]
Everyday, Watt makes fresh milk bread to achieve that soft bread-like texture for the sandwiches. [Photo © Cindy Lam Hoang]
[Photo © Cindy Lam Hoang]
According to Kate Lin, one of the co-owners, the response to the opening of the shop has been very welcoming. The Morning Owl opened in April 2018, just behind the Parkdale Market. Its presence within the neighbourhood has attracted other local business owners to stop by to say hello, or to extend an invitation to neighbourhood events, such as festivals or block parties. [Photo © Christine Jean-Baptiste]
“We offer a small variety [of food], just so we can focus the products that we are doing,” says co-owner Lin. [Photo © Christine Jean-Baptiste]
Once the bread is fully baked, Watt allows the bread to cool and slices each piece to perfection. Photo © Christine Jean-Baptiste.
[Photo © Cindy Lam Hoang]
[Photo © Cindy Lam Hoang]
Fun fact: As a special ingredient in each sandwich, the owners say that they put potato chips for that extra savoury crunch.  [Photo © Christine Jean-Baptiste]
Aside from baking bread at two locations for Morning Owl, Watt also makes the soft-serve ice cream at the Parkdale location from scratch. By 11 a.m., the sandwiches are fully prepared and the ice cream is ready to serve. [Photo © Christine Jean-Baptiste]