Like most of the people who I really respect in the arts, Bruce wears a number of hats, not counting the baseball cap we covered with tin foil one evening to keep the transmissions out — this after sampling several craft beers. A man of wide ranging interests, he always wanted to be a writer. He also wanted to support himself and his family, and he knew that those two goals are not an either/or proposition. After we graduated from Wesleyan University, he went on to a job at St. Martin’s Press to learn the publishing industry before joining and then taking over his parents’ small educational publishing house, Blackbirch Press. While at St. Martin’s, he attended The French Culinary Institute, but since he doesn’t do things half-way, he took the full professional training course.
During the years running Blackbirch, Bruce was writing non-fiction books for such companies as Scholastic, as well as cogitating on his own creative writing and turning out his own plays and screenplays, one of which is now under option with a Hollywood production company. “Those experiences at FCI and Blackbirch seemed to run on parallel, non-intersecting tracks for a long time, until Blackbirch was bought by a huge multinational,” Bruce remembers. “That gave me the time and means to pursue my other interests and combine my publishing experience with my love of cooking.”
Over a bottle of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA and a Fried Green Tomato Sammy from the MIHO Gastrotruck, Bruce notes, “One of the most satisfying aspects of my life is that I have been able to create opportunities for myself to do the things that I really enjoy. The beer book was something I really wanted to do, and loved doing in the process. The finished product? I’m really proud of it, and it’s helping me fulfill by professional goals.”
For more information on the people, places and things mentioned in this article, click on these links: Chefs Press, San Diego’s Top Brewers, From Terra’s Table, Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey and his restaurants, and MIHO Gastrotruck.