YOUNG CULINARY ARTIST LAUNCHES IN-HOME HILTON HEAD BAKERY
Italian-meringue buttercream cakes, sweet cinnamon rolls, key-lime-pie cupcakes, triple-chocolate chunk cookies, delicate brioche, and more scrumptious treats are made-to-order and ready for delivery or pick up from Sea Pines’ new Hearthwood Hull Bakery.
Katie DeVries, chef and 23-year-old owner, has been creating toothsome standards and delicious surprises from her home-based kitchen since August of 2020.
“I absolutely love the English muffins and breads,” DeVries said. “But the sweets are always more popular.”
A 2019 Johnson & Wales University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, DeVries’ career took a detour when her original plan to work the kitchens of New York City led her back to her home on Hilton Head Island.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, DeVries was deep into interview preparation and apartment hunting across the Big Apple.
“Corona hit, and hit restaurants and hotels especially hard,” she says. “I was grateful to have finished college, but now needed a safe environment to work in.”
DeVries spent months researching all options, including state and local food laws, and concluded it was best to remain on the island.
“I knew it would be hard, but decided to start my own business,” she said.
Hearthwood Hull Bakery is DeVries’ working vision of an upscale, in-home bakery, with the quality of a storefront. Chef DeVries adheres to strict state and local safety guidelines and governance. She is fully certified in advanced food security and takes seriously all guidelines on kitchen purity.
Using high-quality ingredients and being meticulous in her creative process, the young chef aims to set herself apart from the mundane.
The community has been receptive.
“The cake…was fantastic,” a customer wrote on Instagram. “So delicious, and you would never have known it was vegan.”
DeVries works to accommodate unique requests and dietary restrictions such as gluten free, eggless and vegan. Social media has been instrumental to Hearthwood Hull, and her web page is user-friendly and intuitive.
“Locals have been really, really helpful,” she said. “People here understand that small business needs support, and fortunately the island is big enough to meet different people, yet not so big as to get lost.”
DeVries’ most supportive kitchen mentor continues to be her mother, a former student of the culinary arts.
“My mom brought me into the cooking world,” she says. “I definitely got the bug from her.”
From a young age, DeVries had the support of her mother who was intent on helping her daughter become comfortable and confident in the kitchen. When friends came over to cook, it was DeVries who became the organizer-in-charge.
“I have always liked things done a certain way in the kitchen,” she smiles.
Growing up, Saturday mornings were special for the duo. Their regular cookie-making routine blossomed into a hunger for studying international food traditions.
They learned about other countries, and tried to replicate the foods, DeVries said.
Sometimes they’d visit the country just for a taste.
Mom and daughter worked their personal cuisine-tour across the globe, stopping to sample regional fare in some of the tastiest places: Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, England, China and France. Italy was a four-time-visit favorite.
“We took hardcore cooking classes in Italy,” said DeVries.
They were twice trained in a professionally equipped kitchen along the cliffside village of Positano, off the Amalfi Coast.
When abroad, DeVries enjoys walking the grocery aisles in search of strange and wonderful items not typical to an American pantry.