By Alvin Tsang
Eight years ago, mechanical engineer David Seba and his wife Julia Dahdah moved to Ottawa and quickly fell in love with the community. That year, they decided to open up a pastry shop.
In the first three years of their business, they expanded their bakery to three locations across Ottawa—one of them being the cosy, pastel-pink Quelque Chose Macaron Boutique in the heart of Westboro.
“It’s a family business,” Seba said. “It started with me and my wife. She knew early on that she was passionate about food so she went to Paris, France, to one of the great schools for pastries, and learned to be a pastry chef.”
Dahdah had studied how to make macarons from master pastry chef Pierre Hermé.
“He’s one of the best, and now she’s one of the best,” Seba said. “As for me, I take care of the paperwork side of things. I know numbers, finances and business scenarios and outcomes. That’s our dynamic.”
Along the way, Julia’s sister, Michelle Dahdah, joined the Quelque Chose team.
“Michelle studied pastries in Ottawa and now works alongside Julie,” he said. “So, now we have two chefs—my wife and her sister.”
Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest times of the year for the Dahdah sisters.
“Every Valentine’s, we come up with new flavours in heart-shaped boxes,” Seba said. “One of the new flavours we have this year is the raspberry and ruby chocolate, and that’s just one of many new flavours we plan to introduce this month.”
Quelque Chose will have new vegan options for their macarons this year, alongside their gluten-free options.
On average, before the pandemic, Quelque Chose could bake up to 1,000 macarons a day. During their busiest seasons, they served macarons at embassy and corporate events, weddings and large parties.
“It was all going well up until the pandemic,” Seba said. “The pandemic hit us pretty hard. We somehow had to rethink everything, reinvent ourselves and our business to stay afloat—and we did, which was good.”
Quelque Chose has since adapted to a delivery and takeout business model.
“We changed to meet the new requirements of the world,” said Seba. “It was things we never thought of, and they were things we had to do to still be here.”
Seba explained that Valentine’s Day is a very busy time for takeout and delivery, and that it is best for customers to order a few days in advance.
“Our website has every product we have and is constantly updated,” he said. “It’s also fine to order over the phone. We love talking to our customers.”
To check out the menu and the upcoming Valentine’s collection list, visit quelque-chose.ca