Hot Bread Kitchen
Jessamyn Rodrigez had done social justice and public policy work for years before starting Hot Bread Kitchen (HBK) out of her Brooklyn apartment in 2008. Since then, the nonprofit program has helped hundreds of women — primarily immigrant women — achieve financial independence through their baking.
Individuals from all over the world foster their bread making abilities at the training bakery, and are paid wages for their time. They make over 70 multi-ethnic breads, ranging from fluffy challah to authentic Mexican corn tortillas to Persian nan-e barbari. The baked goods are sold out of a storefront in La Marqueta — a hub that's historical for cross cultural shopping. In addition to the Spanish Harlem spot, they're also sold at greenmarkets, restaurants and catering companies around the city. Once the bakers are done with the training, they're placed in management-track culinary positions.
Traveling around the world for work made Rodrigez realize that every culture has its own unique bread recipes, which inspired her to create the Bakers-in-Training program. But she first left her job to attend culinary school, so she could learn exactly what operating a legitimate bakery would entail. She achieved more than just a degree — becoming the first woman to apprentice in the bakery at Daniel Boulud's restaurant. The renowned french chef has since become a huge friend and supporter of HBK — he even hired a trainee from the program to make Moroccan flat bread.
The kitchen also offers an incubator program, which gives aspiring food entrepreneurs access to a kitchen, market space and business development resources. Succeeding in the city isn't easy, especially with commercial space costs — but the HBK Incubator gives bakers a platform to showcase their creations. The system is beautifully straightforward, and supporting their efforts is pretty easy to do, considering it involves eating delicious handmade bread. More about the nonprofit kitchen and its global goods can be found here.