Here are some excerpts from my interview with noted bread baker and pizzaiolo for the Legends of Pizza Project.
Albert: Peter, tell me how you got started
Peter: Well, I started by doing it because I just enjoyed doing it. I was cooking, and actually cooking in a seminary in San Francisco, which is, of course, noted for having good bread. I just started doing it because I thought it would be kind of neat to put home baked bread on the table.
I found out unexpectedly that I kind of had a feeling for it. It got into me. It got into my system and I really took it on. For about eight or nine years, I baked just for fun and entered some of my breads in County Harvest Fairs and things like that and started winning. My wife and I both had a culinary background; at least a cooking background. We had some ideas for a ministry built around a café. We decided as part of the menu we would bake our own breads. Before we knew it the café had its own little following, but the bread sort of took off from underneath us. It took on a life of its own.
I ended up having to really immerse myself into the study of bread. One thing led to another and our bakery grew. Eventually, it got to where it was too big. It was beyond our interest in terms of running. It was taking me away from what I really loved to do, which was work with people.
Peter: So, we sold the bakery. I started writing books about it and went into teaching. That kind of got me back in touch with where I really wanted to be.
Albert: Which is where you are now?
Peter: Yes. Yeah, I’ve written now six books out and the seventh is in the works.
Albert: What were some of your early books?
Peter: The first book was called Brother Juniper’s Bread Book: Slow Rise As Method and Metaphor. The name of our bakery was Brother Juniper’s Bakery. That book was what really what started this whole kind of chain of events. It came out in 1991, so it’s almost fifteen years now since it’s been out. It led to a second book which was recipes from our restaurant. It was called Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Café.
The message of the book was the idea that every meal and every time we partake of food, that meal has the potential to be a sacramental quality about it. It could almost be like a replication of the Last Supper if you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. This is the lesson that I learned in having this restaurant. We were feeding not only people’s body’s but feeding their hearts and souls. That is what that book was about. It was built around the recipes.
Find the rest of the Interview here:
pizza on earth,
Legends of Pizza e-Book
Legends of Pizza, Volume 1 and 2