Photography by Sophy Holland. Endriss (left) and Pizzulli.
Fifteen years ago, Peter Endriss reached a crossroads: He hated his job as a civil engineer and loved to cook, but he didn't have the training to make the jump into Manhattan's competitive restaurant scene. So in his free time he started shadowing chef Patricia Yeo, a former biochemist.
"I would go after work and do things in the kitchen no one else wanted to do and leave clicking my heels," Endriss says. He ditched his day job, began making pastries under lauded chefs Nicole Plue and Francois Payard, and, after a stint at a bakery in his father's hometown in Germany and three years pulling overnights at Amy's Bread, became the head baker at distinguished New York hot spots Per Se and Bouchon Bakery.
It was during a sojourn in Milan, where he worked at a pasta shop and a dairy farm, that Endriss hatched his business plan with Chris Pizzulli, his husband's cousin and then-chef de cuisine at Blue Ribbon in Brooklyn. "I knew I wanted to do something on my own, but I also knew the retail bakery I'd envisioned wouldn't be a financial possibility in New York," Endriss says.
Buckwheat baguettes and almond croissants would not suffice, so in 2012 he and Pizzulli opened Runner & Stone, a chic eatery in Brooklyn, where they prepare almost everything in-house -- from the ricotta and mustards to the rye ciabatta and orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe. The pair use organic whole-grain flours, seasonal vegetables, and sustainably caught fish, and currently provide bread to 10 nearby businesses, including Whole Foods.
Keeping Runner & Stone's food and relationships local is key -- with the rare exception. "In October, we start making hutzelbrot, a Southern German dried-fruit bread," Endriss says. "The main ingredient is dried pears, which my father brings from the Black Forest region of Germany. It's a whole operation, but it's developed quite a following."