Yesterday’s explosion shook our community in East Harlem both literally and figuratively. Our bakery and incubator were no exception.
At 9:31am, an explosion destroyed two apartment buildings less than 500 feet from our bakery. We felt the blast shake our facility underneath the Metro North tracks and feared that there had been a trail derailment. Our staff and the staff of La Marqueta were the first on the scene; they arrived before the fire department to assist rubble-covered victims escape further harm.
Throughout the day our staff worked to support rescue efforts: giving out particle masks, helping disseminate information, and anything else that the community needed. In the bakery, the staff prepared for utility shutdowns and delivery contingencies. By 3:00pm, with everyone accounted for, we closed the bakery.
You don’t hire staff because of their courage or deep humanity–it already takes a special team to do what we do–but I learned yesterday that we have some incredibly heroic individuals on staff and am proud of how they responded.
Today our heart goes out to the East Harlem community. Many of us live in the neighborhood and all of us are friends with those who do. Hot Bread Kitchen will continue to support our neighbors and first responders that will be working here in the weeks and months ahead.
At 6:00am this morning we started baking again; fresh breads were delivered at 10:15am. The bread doesn’t wait, and, in light of disaster, sometimes continuing as normal is the only choice.
Our admin offices are closed today, Thursday, March 13, as is Hot Bread Almacen. While we return to normal after yesterday’s events, please reach out to staff by email and stay apprised of new developments by following us on Facebook or Twitter. We anticipate reopening tomorrow, Friday, March 14th.
Thank you to our friends, supports, and customers for the outpouring of support.
With a heavy heart,
The Chew‘s Carla Hall recently stopped by our bakery to learn about Hot Bread Kitchen’s unique social mission and try her hand at making some of our multi-ethnic breads. Our bakers had a great time showing her to braid challahs and press fresh corn tortillas.
Curious about how you can get involved? You can support Hot Bread Kitchen’s work by donating to our programs, and of course, eating our delicious breads. Purchase our Global Bread Box online or find us at retailers and Greenmarkets across New York City.
Available now through March 19th, Hot Bread Kitchen’s is baking up savory and sweet versions of Irish Soda Bread. This biscuit-y treat makes a perfect breakfast spread with your favorite Irish butter or a hearty dinner alongside a warm stew.
This season, try our sweet (chockfull of currants) and savory (made with a generous dash of caraway seeds) available in two sizes at New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut Whole Foods or your local NYC Greenmarket.
NPR’s “The Salt” took a peek inside our East Harlem bakery recently and spoke with bakers from our program. Says Nancy, “My grandmother would be so happy and proud that I’m carrying on her recipe and the Mexican tradition.” Read the full article here.
Just last week Hot Bread Kitchen wrapped up our first ever Women Bake Bread Scholarship Campaign–our first effort to raise money through individual donors. In two months, we were able to raise over $47,000 that will help Hot Bread Kitchen leverage the talents of immigrant women to create the next generation of female leaders in the baking industry. On behalf of our staff, Board, and most importantly, our bakers, thank you to everyone who helped us make the dreams of the women we serve a reality. Each dollar raised will make it possible for new baking trainees to develop skills in commercial production, ESL, and management through Hot Bread Kitchen’s intensive training.
With the support of individuals like you, Hot Bread Kitchen has transformed from a small start-up into the thriving organization and full-service bakery that it is today. Given the overwhelming enthusiasm demonstrated during this campaign, there is no doubt that we are well on our way achieving our goal of training 80 women per year in New York City.
Together we are reshaping the food industry, building new futures for the diverse group of women in our programs, and br-educating New York City one loaf at a time. Again, our sincerest thanks for making the work we do possible.
Mark your calendars, on September 26th support HBK Incubates by shopping at Whole Foods Market. On Thursday the 26th, five percent of all profit from sales at all seven New York City’s Whole Foods Market locations will benefit Hot Bread Kitchen’s food business incubator, HBK Incubates. HBK Incubates supports food entrepreneurs in growing businesses from small start-ups to sustainable food enterprises by providing rentable commercial kitchen space and development support including finance advising, culinary coaching and industry-specific workshops.
I am writing to share with you exciting news, Hot Bread Kitchen is launching a Crowdrise fundraiser, our first-ever crowd sourced campaign to support the Women Bake Bread Scholarship. This program will allow you to directly support low-income immigrant women enrolled in our baking training program. Over the next eight weeks, we will work to raise $100,000 to support the professional development of immigrant women through two potential ways of giving: click “donate” below to directly contribute, or select “start a fundraiser” to create your own dedicated page and inspire your friends to give.
Our Board Members including Christina Tosi, Mark Fiorentino and Joanne Wilson have already started fundraisers. Whether you donate or start a fundraiser, you will be helping us to improve the lives of the women enrolled in our baking training program and change the face of the culinary industry. Plus, you will have the opportunity to win great prizes, like brunch with Top Chef Judge Gail Simmons. For more information, or help setting up your fundraising page, email molly-at-hotbreadkitchen.org
Thank you in advance,
Jessamyn W. Rodriguez
C.E.O & Founder
Hot Bread Kitchen
On September 25, 2013, Hot Bread Kitchen’s Founder and CEO, Jessamyn W. Rodriguez was honored with a Global Citizen Award from the Clinton Global Initiative. This award was given to seven leaders based on their vision and scalable solutions to global issues. Other honorees include NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, 6-year-old girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, social entrepreneur Bunker Roy, and South Sudanese bishop Elias Taban. Below are her remarks given at the reception:
Thank you President Clinton, and everyone at the Clinton Global Initiative for the Global Citizen Award. I take great inspiration from CGI’s willingness to think outside of the box and convene and award business, civil society, philanthropic, and non-profit leaders who solve enduring problems that we all face.
I also want to congratulate the other honorees tonight, whose work, at all levels across sectors, inspires our humble efforts. Five years ago, I launched Hot Bread Kitchen out of my home kitchen to do three things:
1. Create stable jobs for immigrant women who, otherwise, faced informal work and exploitation.
2. Prove that the market can be powerful in effecting social change.
3. Br-educate New Yorkers about the contribution of immigrant communities.
Tonight’s award is proof that those efforts have paid off.
Our breads are sold throughout the country. Forward thinking partners such as Whole Foods Market, The City of New York, the Waldorf Astoria, and Columbia University— have responded to the opportunity to diversify their offerings and support social change while feeding hungry clients. Philanthropies such as New York Women’s Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, Citi Community Development and Capital One Bank, and The Rockefeller Foundation have partnered to support our innovative growth.
Women from 17 countries have educated consumers by inspiring breads that we bake every day– 24 hours a day. Those same women take English classes, learn key management skills, and the math necessary to become leaders in the culinary industry. We have baked nearly a million kilos of dough, that has been shaped into breads from Mexico to Morrocco. Iran to Poland.
Finally, we are changing the face of an industry—currently only 500 of 6,000 bakers in New York City are minority women. We are righting this inequity and filling those jobs with qualified women whose skill, passion and perseverance earn their families’ bread in the thriving culinary industry I dedicate this award tonight to the women and men of the world who bake bread that nourishes our bodies, souls, and provides the fuel to effect social change. I dedicate this award to colleagues and friends in East Harlem who work to create social change and organization like CGI who support them.
Hot Bread Kitchen’s culinary accelerator, HBK Incubates was featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek in the small business section in an article and accompanying slideshow. Writer John Tozzi outlines the offerings of HBK Incubates and profiles graduate business, Taste of Ethiopia.
Hot Bread Kitchen’s Junior Board the Kitchen Cabinet is hosting a Toast + Taste cocktail fundraiser on June 13, 2013 from 8-11pm at Ramscale Studios on 463 West Street. This event will feature delicious cocktails, breads from Hot Bread Kitchen as well as samples from HBK Incubates members Broadway Baker and Nafi’s Hot Pepper Condiments.
To learn more and purchase tickets, visit the Toast + Taste event page.