Uppercrust is an artisan bakery. We make our products from scratch, with our hands, and present them the day they are baked. Uppercrust also showcases specialty products (food and otherwise!) made with the same level of care we lavish on our own. We take particular pride in our wine selection. Every bottle in our display is there because it bowled us over during tasting.
Uppercrust Productions was founded in 1981 by Jacqueline “Jackie” Dufty. She started a small bakery informed by her travels and experiences. By 1986, Jackie’s products and ebullient hospitality developed a following that outstripped her cramped quarters, and she moved the operation to its current location in The Gainesville Marketplace.
Thirty-seven years have seen a lot of change in the bakery, but since its inception four principles have guided Uppercrust:
- “Close-your-eyes-delicious” food
- An experience that enriches the mind as well as the senses
- Continual improvement
- Trust in our guests’ good taste
Jackie’s steadfast commitment to those principles for over 35 years explains the bakery’s long-standing place in the Gainesville community. We are grateful to honor and expand on her vision.
Alex – Counter Server
Alex makes terrific eye contact. Not in the vaguely intimidating “oh, this guy really focuses on eye contact” way, either; a “wow, this guy is really listening to me and thinking about what I have to say” way. Alex is sincere, and has interests to match. Hailing from Louisiana, his love of Cajun-Creole cuisine runs deep. He is in the process of launching an authentic Louisianan food truck, and paints impressive large scale artwork pieces as well.
Ben – Owner
Ben is humbled to build upon Uppercrust’s legacy. He thanks Alton Brown for initiating him into the world of feeding people, and questions what the heck he’s doing now with Cutthroat Ktichen and all that bluster. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mr. Rogers and Josh Ozersky are personal heroes. When not at the bakery, Ben can be found losing to his brother at tennis, playing an irresponsible amount of chess online, and golfing with his dad.
Brian – Counter Server and Baker
Brian’s laid back demeanor might fool you, but goodness is he a good co-worker. He is responsive, considerate and happy to do whatever (truly, whatever) is asked of him. Before working at Uppercrust, Brian baked bagels at The Bagel Bakery until too many 3am mornings put a strain on his Mathematics degree. Brian also has excellent taste in music.
Cecilia – Counter Server and Baker
Engaged and perennially up for work, Cecilia graces our bakery during mornings and early afternoons. Cecilia finished her double-major in anthropology and psychology at UF this spring, and plans to study counseling psychology in graduate school. Cecilia is capable of some seriously incredible/crazy Cirque-de-Soleil-esque acrobatic dancing, and has never heard any Simon and Garfunkel jokes about her name.
Heather – Baker
Heather brings to Uppercrust a wealth of experiences working in restaurants for decades. That, an her cheery, perspicacious personality have been enormously helpful to our pastry and bread programs. The bread program, in particular, has proven her singular love. Heather relishes the opportunity that are – and feel! – very alive.
Hollie – Baker
Hollie has always had a passion for food. Even growing up as a competitive swimmer, her teammates love to reminisce about her baking explorations (especially her batch of ‘diet’ cupcakes in which she forgot the sugar!). Hollie graduated from UF with a bachelor’s in Portuguese and a certificate in Latin American Studies after also studying French and Russian and completing a study abroad to Russia. Hollie met her husband while working for a polo club in Argentina, and they now find themselves back in Gainesville starting their little family. Hollie mixes and bakes bread for Uppercrust and doesn’t forget the sugar anymore.
Jake – Baker
Like Bradley Cooper (pre Silver Linings Playbook, please), Jake pitches an all-too-elusive balance of unassuming and cool. And he really listens. These qualities serve him well on Saturdays, when his patience allows our bread to achieve its ideal darkly bronzed mahogany. A slew of injuries prevent Jake from playing his beloved soccer, but don’t stop him from watching Chelsea or from being really, really good at frisbee golf.
Jef – Croissant Shaper
Jef is our croissantiere extraordinaire. This position requires discipline, attention to detail and, above all, an all-consuming desire to get a teensy bit better at the same task every day (or every action, as is often the case). Jef possesses these qualities, and executes his work with enviable nimbleness and efficiency. Jeff is also a vegan who made 11,000 calls for Bernie. He would have told you those two things before mentioning anything about his Yoda-like croissant-making, and it would be irresponsible not to mention them.
John – Baker
John makes a prep list in neat all-caps every morning he’s with us. His list is routinely 20 tasks long and he completes them with awe-inspiring cogency. All this for our newest team member! John came to learn about bread, but quickly found a home in pastry instead. We are beyond fortunate to have him on his off-hours from his job at a local architecture firm.
John – General Manager and Service Director
John is our resident problem-solver, wine-savant and general affirmer of the goodness possible in human beings. He finds time every day to address each team-member’s needs. While contemplating law school after graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in criminology, John became transfixed by the craft of baking at Publix’s bakery section. Seeking greater challenges, John started to work at Uppercrust, and we are fortunate to have him here ten years later. When not at the bakery, John can be found beating his old college friends at fantasy football and lamenting the misfortune of being a Dolphins fan.
Leannis – Kitchen Manager
Leannis is the bakery’s mama bear. She professes not to understand why, but her compassion and levity make her a natural confidante and advisor. And she makes absolutely delicious pastries. After graduating from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Performance Arts and a brief stint in New York City, she found her calling in the kitchen. If you hear showtunes during Uppercrust’s quieter moments, that’s Leannis. When she’s not baking at Uppercrust, Leannis bakes at home, unless she’s at Crafty Basterds winning trivia on Wednesdays.
Lily – Baker
A dedicated baker, Lily has graced the Uppercrust kitchen for four years. As Jackie would say, Lily is a “super taster” with a jealousy-inducing palate. With a BFA in drawing, Lily’s fine-motor skill translates beautifully to pastry. Her work is elegant, precise, and consistently so. In her spare time, Lily volunteers in a community garden, and is learning how to grow her own vegetables.
Nicole – Pastry Intern
Nicole is our first-ever intern! And what an auspicious start we’re having with this program with her. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, while all of her UF classmates and Chi Omega sisters are sleeping, Nicole is responsible for what we call “deep prep;” zesting and juicing citrus fruits; lining tarte shells into molds; peeling, coring and dicing apples. Essential, meaningful tasks that lay the groundwork for much of what we do.
Parrisha – Counter Server
Parrisha is a joy. A natural hospitalitarian, Parrisha comes to Uppercrust after having impressive experience as a nutritionist at Shands and North Florida Hospital, and as a manager at Hardee’s. After mornings and afternoons with us, Parrisha completes her culinary degree from the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts with her four year-old (and sous chef!) Brycen.
Raphaela – Counter Server and Baker
Erudite, sharp-witted and committed to solving problems, Raphaela is a dream server and baker. She lectures and researches in the Anthropology department at the University of Florida, and we are so lucky that she is able to work on Fridays and Saturdays. In her minimal spare time, Raphaela can be found reading science fiction novels, preferably with a Strongtree Espresso.
Sam – Baker
Sam’s amiable nature can be misleading. Formerly the area’s best high school soccer defender, his work ethic and determination permeate all he does at the bakery. Good thing for us – Sam is our preppin’ weapon, doing most of the unseen tasks that make many of our products so exceptional. When away from the bakery, Sam loves to spend time with his wife and dogs.
Sarah – Counter Server
Sarah is a proud ACR, incredible artist and an absolute force of positivity. After finishing high school at Eastside, Sarah completed her degree from Santa Fe in Nutrition Science, focusing on the psychological aspects of eating. She’s also pretty awesome at closing the store efficiently, cleanly and completely. Sarah “fitness-parties” with Zumba in her free time.
Sarra – Counter Server
After completing her degree in Communication Science and Disorders at FSU, Sarra has seen the light and begun her Master’s in Speech Pathology at UF. Uppercrust gets her on weekends! Smart smart smart, detail-oriented, and, by her own description, “a cleaner,” Sarra has been an entirely lovely member of our service team.
Savanna – Counter Server
Savanna personifies integrity. Completing her masters degree in library science from the University of Florida, Savanna’s quiet demeanor belies her intelligence and preternatural ease in completing all tasks asked of her. Savanna hosts many of our Saturday cheese tastings, and her lovely displays and generosity of spirit highlight the experience.
Tirsit – Counter Server
Tirsit’s humility, graciousness and steadfastness to work are an example for all. After graduating from Santa Fe, Tirsit has been at the bakery for four years, and has not seen a coffee mishap or register malfunction that she cannot fix. Tirsit will start PT school very soon, and the free moments she gets are spent with her fiancé, Daniel.
Wade – Baker
Wade grew up in the forests of Kentucky and developed an appreciation of culture and the outdoors. He is blessed by two lovely daughters and has lived in Gainesville for twenty years. In his words, his “pursuit of happiness has led to a career in culinary arts. I love making fresh, beautiful, and nutritious food for people.” Wade can be spotted early in the morning in Uppercrust’s bread room. We are so lucky to have him.
Zoë – Counter Server
Zoë won us over during her interview when she recounted a story about an umbrella. At risk of butchering it, on her way over to her bus stop one day, it started to pour. Not a few minutes later, a kind stranger pulled up and Zoë an umbrella to keep. Determined to make this a gift that keeps on giving, Zoë has since made it a daily priority to have a spare umbrella in her car to give to strangers when it’s raining on them. That’s enough to win anyone over, but Zoë possesses a quiet strength and dogged stick-to-it-iveness. These are the qualities – not gregariousness, or shows thereof – that provide great hospitality during hour six of service when you haven’t had a break or enough water.