Avery Ruzicka

Avery Ruzicka

Partner & Head Baker at Manresa Bread

It’s great to be the least knowledgeable person in the room. This means you’re in a room full of people who are experts. Every day in the kitchen is an opportunity to learn something new if you surround yourself with the right people.

I try to create a place where I want to come in every day. While my role in the bakery has evolved, the tone of joyful production is still a core value that we work to instill. We come to work because we want to get better and we’re curious. This is embedded in our culture.
I can’t live without my calendar. In the world of bakery, being organized and planning is critical to the business, not only during holidays, but also throughout my day-to-day.
I have an innate entrepreneurial drive. And what’s great about this world is that it gives me ample opportunities to tap into different parts of myself. My job never feels stagnant since there are so many areas to oversee—creatives, finances, and of course, baking.
In the world of bread and pastries where ingredients have a big cause and effect on each other, attention to detail is critical. Documenting along the process is also super important because this is how you problem-solve and learn along the way.
I’ve learned that you have to love your job and the great thing about the culinary world is that there are a lot of different types of jobs — and depths of jobs. So you can either craft the job that suits your strengths or go out there and find it. You can be involved in the culinary world in a million different ways. The best thing you can do is to find the one that is a natural fit for you that makes you want to wake up and go to work. Ask yourself constantly— Am I happy? Am I inspired? If not, that doesn’t mean you need to leave the culinary world, just keep going until you find the right job. This is a process that may take time, but will be worth it.
When hiring, we look for genuine interest, passion, and curiosity. We look for a strong work ethic and a strong level of engagement.
I find inspiration through engagement with other bakers. With social media, I’m able to connect with bakers, both near and far, and gain new ideas that can be applied to our bakery.
'Flower Water Salt Yeast' by Ben Forkish is a very informative book. 'Zingerman Bakehouse Cookbook' by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo is a unique book that talks about both the successes and failures of the bakery, which is not frequent. People tend to only focus on their successes in publications, and don’t often go into how they could improve.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

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