Wandering through the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, you’ll discover a stand with a range of international breads made by a community of women who work at Hot Bread Kitchen in East Harlem.
Hot Bread Kitchen is more than just baking great breads. It’s about building lives, fighting poverty and changing the food landscape. This not-for-profit builds lasting economic security for low-income, immigrant and minority individuals by creating pathways to professional opportunities for women and men in the culinary industry. Its programs include employer-driven workforce development and business incubation programs, Bakers in Training and HBK Incubates.
But back to the breads. They raise important dough to make a difference in the lives of others: 67% of Hot Bread Kitchen’s operating budget is funded through the sale of multi-ethnic breads and rental of commercial kitchen space.
The bread-winner behind Hot Bread Kitchen is Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, a native of Ontario who moved to New York to pursue a Master Baker Certificate at The New School. She became the first female baker at Daniel Boulud’s eponymous restaurant. Along the way, she nurtured her other passion of supporting human rights, education and immigration issues, eventually leaving Daniel to work at various positions that address them, including the United Nations.
In 2007, Jessamyn opened Hot Bread Kitchen, out of her apartment (where many great NYC businesses get their start!). Her mission was to train low-income immigrant and minority women in the baking arts to help open doors for them in the culinary industry. Hot Bread Kitchen’s assortment of breads can be found at leading retailers like Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca in addition to Union Square Greenmarket. There is also an online store.
For her work Jessamyn has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Global Citizen Award from the Clinton Global Initiative, Crain’s “40 Under 40,” and was named one of the “Most Innovative Women in Food” by Food and Wine Magazine in 2015.
Most recently she published “The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook,” (Clarkson Potter) which has been named 2015 Cookbook of the Year by Yahoo Food. This beautifully photographed book is filled with recipes for Hot Bread Kitchen’s bounty of breads and stories of the people who bake them.
We break bread with Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez Wednesday, December 23, 2pmET on The Connected Table LIVE on W4CY to our show on Wednesday Dec 23, 2015 to talk about her work, her platform, and her delicious book. Podcasts for this show will be available on iHeart.com and the iHeart App.
Website: www.hotbreadkitchen.org; https://hotbreadkitchen.org/product/the-hot-bread-kitchen-cookbook/ (if people buy the book through our site they receive a copy signed by Jessamyn)
Selections the Hot Bread Kitchen online store