We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Hewitt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
Wow, this is such a powerful question, there are so many levels to unfold as my parenting has changed and morphed over the years based upon the ever changing fabric of circumstances that has shaped me into the person I am today.
When my children were little I spent so much time worrying about getting it right: sterilizing the bottles, agonizing over breastfeeding, joining mommy groups and music classes. I did everything and anything that could be viewed as stimulating and worthwhile. I seriously, even read to my son on the night I brought him home from the hospital.
Every age brought new challenges. However, to truly get to the nuts and bolts of this question; there were two defining moments that occurred during their childhood; which were probably the most impactful in defining both of their identities.
During these 2 incidents my children learned to stand with, and support a loved one or friend even when what that other person is going through is tough, scary and overwhelming. They learned from me that: when the going gets tough, you stay, help and support the person or people that need your help. They learned to face their fears and challenges instead of taking the “easier” route of running away from the issue. My children saw me as a person who “did what I said and I said what I did.” I think this helped to build a tremendous amount of trust.
Additionally, my own personal journey taught my children that life can be filled with hardships but how you view those setbacks or life lessons is what gives you the life you have. They learned that if they didn’t like the view they could make a conscious choice to shift their vision. I think, for me this was the hardest lesson to learn; but once I got “it” it was truly the most amazing gift I learned and taught my children that: happiness is a choice, and that I/they had the power to choose to see through that lens. Life happens, it’s what you do and how you handle it that gives you the life you have and want.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Like so many artisan bakers, I started Momalas Gluten Free Bakery during the pandemic. Previously, I had been planning and producing special events. When the pandemic hit and life was forced to shut down I started to bake, like all the time.
I am Gluten Free because of an Auto Immune issue and I am always working on trying to find or bake good gluten free products. When the Jewish High Holidays were approaching I really started craving Gluten Free Challah. Shockingly, it was not very easy to find.
I am most excited about my challah because it is a braided challah. A lot of people who make GF challah bake them in a mold, but I was able to create one that can be braided. My recipe is not that much different than a basic challah recipe, however, it is the modifications that I made to my flour blend that allow it to be rolled and braided.
Getting here has not been easy. I am constantly worried about the taste and shelf life of my breads and Babkas. I bake fresh to order in the wee hours of the morning and package the same day. I bake in an original 1950’s teeny, tiny kitchen and am constantly shuffling and adjusting my space. Additionally, I had to learn, and I’m still learning about how to use social media. Posting and creating content is hard for me. I am a private person and posting takes me totally out of my comfort zone. But I have found a wonderful community of bakers and I just love the relationships that have come from this endeavor. I think my greatest lesson in this is to follow my heart and pursue my passion. I have really been challenged, a lot by how I wanted to grow and create my bread business. But, I stayed true to my self and I am pretty proud of the fact that people actually buy what I make. And they love it! This is so rewarding, especially since I service a high allergy community. It makes me really happy to provide them with challah and Babka that they can enjoy without worry of getting sick.
I’ve learned many lessons along the way. Most of them, baking lessons- but I have also happened upon some pretty spectacular people.
I think that what makes me interesting is that at the age of … I have recreated and reinvented myself and am currently thriving in a project that has been a lifelong passion. My whole life I was discouraged from pursuing baking and now I get to be a baker.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is hard because LA is so diverse and has so much to offer. My happy place is the beach and I love walking the boardwalk between Santa Monica and Venice- it reminds me of growing up in NYC and heading to Greenwich Village. I’m an avid people watcher and I really love to stop and watch the street performers and artists. Another place that I really enjoy visiting is the California Science Center and the Petersen Automotive museum. I had the opportunity of doing events at both locations with my colleague Jennifer Currier from Soiree and I fell in love with both of these museums. I would probably also visit the Cielo Farms Winery. The views are breathtaking and the vibe is rustic chic. As far as food goes, the list is endless: Met Her at a Bar is a must for breakfast or brunch. Their Gluten Free waffles are to die for. Vinny the owner is so sweet and accommodating, but you have to get there early or the wait is a bear. Spartina is a must for at least one dinner whether you are Gluten Free or Gluten full the patio is so sexy and the food is awesome. Gwen would be another must eat in place for dinner if you are a carnivore. It’s OMG good. Additionally, I just discovered Mama Shelter. If you are in Hollywood, this place is a must. The food is marvelous and I have heard the rooftop bar is amazing. I can continue on this journey but I think I’ve covered some of my favorites.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my story to my family. My children for always recognizing my ability and pushing me to do more. And to my husband for having my back while I learn, explore and grow.
Joelle Martinec @GingerSolePhotography