An ancient craft that relies on the hands of the baker
Several years ago, Ellen was taking a Historic Preservation course through the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. The project involved dating parts of an 18th century house by examining the building techniques. One way to date a structure is to look at the beams and determine if they were hand-hewn or cut with a saw. Ellen discovered a treasure when a hand-hewn beam was found inside the walls, meaning that a craftsman used an axe to shape the beam. Ellen’s career as a historic preservationist ended when she started to pursue her passion for food, but the word hewn stuck with her.
The word hewn—which means to give form or shape with heavy cutting blows by hand—is a way to connect the past with the future. Everything at Hewn is made in-house, from scratch daily at our Evanston bakehouse.
In a time of big box stores and large chains, Hewn is a return back to a smaller, independently owned and operated bakery. We value our team of bakers, pastry chefs and front staff, and we love being part of the Evanston and Libertyville communities.
Who we are
Ellen King is the co-owner and Director of Baking Operations at Hewn. She is a classically trained chef and worked in various restaurants in Seattle with a specialty in French, Mediterranean and Vegetarian foods. She also served as the artisan cheese buyer for Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA. Ellen spent time at Quillisascut Farm School, a sustainable farm school in Rice, WA, where she first learned to bake bread in a wood fired oven. Ellen attended the Seattle Culinary Academy where she was awarded the Les Dames d’Escoffier 2003 scholarship. She holds an MA in American History from the University of Maine, and a BA in History from St. Norbert College. She was chair of the Evanston Backyard Chicken Committee, served on the Evanston Environment Board and is a member of Chefs Collaborative, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and the Bread Bakers Guild of America. Ellen oversees all of the Back of House and baking operations at Hewn. Ellen’s first book, Heritage Baking, was published by Chronicle Books in 2018.
Julie Matthei is the co-owner and Director of Business Operations at Hewn. Julie’s belief in the product and Hewn’s mission led her to partner with Ellen in this endeavor. Julie has a BA from Fairfield University and a MEd from Loyola University Chicago. She worked in college admissions and was the Director of Guidance at a large Jesuit high school for several years. Julie’s experience with several construction projects, both residential and commercial, helped guide the creative remodeling of Hewn’s space in both Evanston and Libertyville with repurposed materials. Julie handles all of the Front of House operations and social media outreach at Hewn.
Handmade bread, handmade interior
Inside Hewn we wanted to use as many salvaged and repurposed items as possible. As our bread is handmade, so are many of the interior furnishings that you see in the front part of our store. We wanted the warm, rustic nature of our store to reflect the warm, rustic nature of our bread.
The Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse salvaged and created the lathe on the front of our counters and the wood on the wall behind the counters in Evanston. The wood used on the face of our coffee area in Libertyville was also sourced from the Warehouse.
The Shelves and Counters
All of the shelves and counters in Evanston are from an old White Oak tree that had to be cut down in Wilmette. The shelves in Libertyville were created from fallen trees in the Lake County area. We worked with Horrigan Urban Forest Products to obtain this re-purposed wood, which would otherwise be turned into mulch.
The exterior lights were reclaimed from the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. Our new red barn lights in both locations were sourced from Barn Light Electric in Titusville, Florida.
The Wood Panels and Doors to the Kitchen in Evanston
This wood is from old Michigan cypress pickle barrels.
The Windows to the Evanston Kitchen
All of the reclaimed windows behind our counters were also sourced from the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse.
Whether you’re looking for lunch, a quick coffee break or simply enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread, we’d love to see you!Find Us