Over the span of six years, Partner and Head Baker Avery Ruzicka has built Manresa Bread from an overnight baking project to a full-scale enterprise with two bakery locations, an all-day café, 24-hour commissary, and nationwide shipping capabilities. She maintains a commitment to traditional breadmaking, sourcing high quality artisanal ingredients, employing natural fermentation processes, and milling 90% of the— predominantly local—grains in house. In 2019 and 2020, Ruzicka was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in the category of Outstanding Baker. Through a circuitous route, Ruzicka returned to an early love of breadmaking, first graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill followed by the French Culinary Institute in New York. Ruzicka completed both the Culinary Degree and the Bread Program, followed by a stage at Per Se, with Master Baker Ben Hershberger. A fortuitus meeting with Chef David Kinch resulted in a cross-country move to California, where Ruzicka accepted a food runner position at Manresa, with the intent to move into the kitchen when a spot became available. Her passion and talent for breadmaking was quickly recognized, and she moved into the role of baker in 2012. She rose to meet a new challenge in 2013 with the founding of the Manresa Bread Project and maintained a rigorous round-the-clock schedule, baking overnight at Manresa to sell her breads at local farmers’ markets. Ruzicka soon cultivated a loyal following for her sourdough loaves and laminated pastries, solidifying Manresa Bread as a concept onto itself. Along with Kinch and Operating Partner Andrew Burnham, Ruzicka opened a commissary in 2014, Manresa Bread’s first bakery in Los Gatos in 2015, one in Los Altos in 2016, and an all-day café in Campbell in 2018.