Ryan Fennessey

I am deeply, extraordinarily obsessed and consumed with BREAD. This simple, old-fashioned five-letter word courses through my veins, keeps me up all hours of the night and enlightens my spirit.

My story with food actually begins when I was a baby. My parents owned restaurants on Hilton Head Island in the ‘80s. While balancing me on her hip, my mother seated guests and hurried waiters and busboys.

It wasn’t until I was a little older, when I started working with the “man behind the curtain” — my loud, boisterous, passionate and guiding father — that I knew culinary arts is what I was meant to do. He taught me how to cook like they did in the Old World, before microwaves, seasoning packets or frozen foods. As my mentor, he taught me the art of food — from cutting whole fish and breaking down sides of beef to mincing garlic by hand and making fresh pasta.

I honed my cooking skills for many years in a tiny, dimly-lit, hot kitchen filled with bad language, bad English and Mariachi music jamming. More than anything, this kitchen was filled with so much passion. It was intense, fast, loud and dangerous. To me, the guys who worked behind the scenes had ninja-like skills. Everyone knew there could be no room for mistake. Every detail — down to the size of the chopped herbs — mattered. If you didn’t get it right the first time, trash it and start again.

It was this attention to detail and early years of experience that led me to become a successful chef for fine dining restaurants, hotels, country clubs and catering companies.

When my mother suddenly started picking my brain about flavor profiles for breads, I jumped at the chance.

Both of my parents are unbreakably passionate, talented people. They instilled in me that if you’re going to do something, do it the right way. Otherwise, do something else.

Today, I strive to create bread that looks like it was handcrafted in an ancient European village. I am a true artisan with complete respect for those who have come before me. Food should be real. Food should be nourishing, wholesome, local, fresh.

Sprout Momma always will be.

Eat more bread.