Our Staff

Jessamyn W. Rodriguez, Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Jessamyn W. Rodriguez is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning Hot Bread Kitchen.   Since its inception in 2007, she has led the growth of the organization from a visionary idea to a thriving bakery and workforce development program.  Hot Bread Kitchen won the 2009 “Best Small Business” for Queens from the NYC Department of Small Businesses and has become nationally recognized brand that has been covered in print (New York Times, Daily News, and Food & Wine Magazine), TV (Today Show & NPK), and Radio.

Jessamyn combines her passions for baking and social justice for foreign-born women in Hot Bread Kitchen.  Her efforts have also been recognized by Echoing Green, which selected her from over 1500 social entrepreneurs and by the Eileen Fisher Company that awarded her a Grant for Women Entrepreneurs in 2007.  Jessamyn has an MPA from Columbia University and a BA from the University of British Columbia. Before starting Hot Bread Kitchen, she gained 10 years of experience in NGOs, government, and the United Nations, focusing on human rights, education, and immigration issues. She worked in many places, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Bosnia, Guatemala, and Chile.  Jessamyn also has a Master Baker certificate from the New School University and was the first woman to be hired as a baker at Chef Daniel Boulud’s renowned Restaurant Daniel.

Sandra Vu, Senior Director: HBK Incubates & Communicates

Sandra Vu is the Program Director for HBK Incubates– Hot Bread Kitchen’s growing kitchen incubator program. She holds a Master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University. Prior to joining Hot Bread Kitchen, Sandra managed the studio operations of a food media company on the Lower East Side, and worked in human resources for Gap Inc.’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco. Culinary experiences in countries such as Vietnam, India, and Hong Kong enticed Sandra to divert her career path to support the food industry.

Californian born and raised, Sandra received her bachelor’s degree in Business from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In addition to enjoying the endless culinary delights that New York City has to offer, she participates in endurance events, including the NYC Marathon, to raise money for organizations that focus on impoverished groups and community development.

Sandra is dedicated to serving NYC’s local food community through growing successful food businesses.

Shimme, Senior Director: Operations

Shimme joined Hot Bread Kitchen in Spring 2013 as the Director of Operations. He brings with him many years of experience in bakery production, retail, operations and multi-unit leadership. Prior to joining Hot Bread Kitchen, Shimme was the owner of sixunderscore LLC, a bakery and natural foods consulting company which assists businesses in building their brand, launching new products, training, merchandising and much more. A large portion of Shimme’s career was spent at Whole Foods Market, where he served as the Bakery Director for the Northeast Region.

Jasmyn Farris, Senior Director: Strategy

Jasmyn joins Hot Bread Kitchen as the Senior Director: Strategy by way of an extensive career in the hospitality/food industry which includes Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and more recently, Chef Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant operations in New Orleans.

Originally from New York, Jasmyn has been working with non profit organizations focused on education, healthy food cultivation and community outreach for many years. Eventually, her passion for these projects led her to New Orleans and during the five years that she spent there working for Chef Emeril Lagasse, she also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Musician’s Village, Start the Adventure in Reading and The Edible Schoolyard. She also started a small non profit program focused on adult literacy and workforce readiness. Jasmyn is committed to continuing to serve her community by helping to strategically expand Hot Bread Kitchen’s footprint.

Aileen Semenetz, Head Baker

Aileen joined Hot Bread Kitchen in December 2013 as our Production Manager and has made a tremendous impact in such a short time. Prior to joining Hot Bread Kitchen, Aileen worked as a Production Manager at Fairway Market. Aileen has also worked at Sullivan Street Bakery and as a baker at Bouchon, Per Se, and Bakeri. Aileen’s engagement and dedication to Hot Bread Kitchen’s programs and staff is abundant; we can’t think of a better fit to lead our Production Team.

Ariel Hasbun, Training Manager

Ariel joins us in the newly created Training Manager role, where she will work closely with the production team to implement Project Launch. Ariel comes to us with multiple degrees from the Culinary Institute of Education. Most recently, she was as the Assistant General Manager at Landbrot Bakery and Bar.

Raul Guzman, Production Manager

Raul comes to Hot Bread Kitchen with extensive bread baking experience. A speed demon on the bench and a great eye on the oven, Raul has over 30 years of bakery experience starting out at his father’s bakery in Ecuador and after moving to New York, at well-known bakeries like Eli’s Bread, Pain D’Avignon and Rolo Mio.

Grace Moore, Communications Manager

Grace joined Hot Bread Kitchen’s Greenmarket staff in Spring 2012, bringing with her a background in marketing, retail management, and cultural studies. She worked in both Greenmarket Coordinator and Development Coordinator roles before tackling the organization’s communications, press, and marketing efforts in her current role. Originally from South Carolina, Grace has worked with numerous food-focused non-profits, including Slow Food USA, and is pleased to combine her passion for preserving food traditions and empowering communities through great bread everyday.

Ilyssa Satter, Program Coordinator: HBK Incubates

Ilyssa joined Hot Bread Kitchen in the Fall of 2013. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Ilyssa holds a B.S. in Marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Ilyssa supports all programmatic aspects of HBK Incubates from communications, screening, and reporting to coordinating workshops and events. When Ilyssa is not supporting HBK Incubates and its various food business entrepreneurs, she is acting as Executive Support to Hot Bread Kitchen’s CEO & Founder Jessamyn Rodriguez.

Thuy Nguyen, Greenmarket Coordinator

Thuy oversees Hot Bread Kitchen’s farmers market operations, working in close contact with GrowNYC’s Greenmarket to make sure Hot Bread Kitchen’s products are available year round to our devoted customers.