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,
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.
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.
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
Born in Dijibouti, Hiyaw Gebreyohannes moved to Toronto as a child and learned to cook traditional Ethiopian food from his mother, a skilled chef and restaurateur. Wanting to bring the healthful and flavorful food of his childhood to a broader audience, Hiyaw decided to parlay his mother’s recipes into a line of vegetarian, packaged Ethiopian food. In July 2011, Hiyaw launched his business, Taste of Ethiopia and joined HBK Incubates, our culinary incubator program.
I am delighted to introduce Hot Bread Kitchen’s new branding, designed by Abbott Miller of the renowned international design firm Pentagram. We believe that our new branding communicates the essence of our mission and the quality of our unique line of breads.
As part of the rebranding, we have added new text to our logo to describe what we do: the phrase “Authentic Multi-Ethnic Breads” was chosen to underscore the international breads we produce and the backgrounds of those who make them, while “handmade” was selected for the bottom text to reinforce the artisanal nature of our products. At the bottom of this new logo is our original motto: “Preserving Tradition/Rising Expectations,” highlighting our commitment to the cultures from which our breads derive and conveying through the pun on rising bread to convey our goal of changing cultural perception of immigrant communities.
Adding to the unique visual richness of the branding is the patterned background that Pentagram has created. From afar it looks like a woven or batik pattern; however, if you look closely, you’ll notice that each row depicts a different ingredient used in the production of bread, such as corn, almonds, honey, milk, and wheat. Expanding upon Hot Bread Kitchen’s view of bread as a global staple that can communicate certain cultural aspects, Abbott has created a veritable iconographic language that conveys bread’s universal nature independent of the written word. You will also notice that our packages now feature, when applicable, the name of the bread in its native language, which we hope will further reinforce a respect for other cultures and our shared connection to and love for bread.
Pentagram has chosen a color palette that is atypical for an artisanal bread company: eggplant, bright blue, and an accent palette of bold, saturated colors. While I’m sure many of you liked our former branding, Pentagram noted that this palette was not differentiating us in the market as effectively as it could. Moving away from our previous organic palette of kraft and cranberry, they went in an entirely new direction and gave the brown palette of our artisanal breads a whole lot of pop! Read more about our newbranding and see additional photos on Fast Company.
At Hot Bread Kitchen, we sell bread to train immigrant and minority women so that they can get better jobs in food manufacturing and to br-educate NewYorkers about the contribution of immigrant communities. Pentagram’s generous donation of design services will make it possible for us to expand our services and change the lives of more women and their families.
Like a perfectly made challah, our new branding braids together our products, employees, and mission, and we hope you enjoy looking at and reflecting upon it as much as consuming our breads. We extend our deepest thanks to Abbott and the Pentagram team for all their hard work.
Jessamyn W. Rodriguez
CEO & Founder
Hot Bread Kitchen
On November 8th, 2012, Hot Bread Kitchen is hosting a fundraiser at our bakery in the historic La Marqueta. The evening will consist of a walk-around chef tasting from surprise celebrity chefs, custom cocktails, bread demonstrations and products from members of HBK Incubates. To read more about the event and to purchase tickets, see our ticketing page.
All proceeds from the event will go to benefit Hot Bread Kitchen in our mission to increase access to professional opportunities in the culinary industry for foreign-born women and low income entrepreneurs.
On Monday July 23, 2012, Hot Bread Kitchen opened our new retail storefront, Hot Bread Almacen inside of the historic La Marqueta. Located just a few feet away from our production facility, Hot Bread Almacen will feature our line of international breads in addition to select products from businesses enrolled in HBK Incubates and a daily lunch special. Hot Bread Almacen was made possible by the generous support of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) and New York City Council.
To kick off the launch of the store, we hosted a baguette cutting for key funding partners, press and members of the City Council. UMEZ President, Ken Knuckles emceed the event which featured speakers such as NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, Hot Bread Kitchen CEO Jessamyn Rodriguez and HBK Incubates member My Sweet Brigadeiro.
Hot Bread Kitchen is excited to announce that with the help of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone(UMEZ), we will be opening a bakery storefront in the historic La Marqueta. We are seeking a creative designer to help us develop a design concept for the storefront and oversee the build-out of the space.
Hot Bread Kitchen will host an information session & site visit for interested parties tonight: Thursday, February 16th at 7:00pm. Please RSVP for the info session to Robin@HotBreadKitchen.org
Read the RFP Hot Bread Almacen for detailed instructions on how to apply.
Just in time for the holidays, Hot Bread Kitchen has just announced our Global Bread Box. Inspired by four international baking traditions, our gift box is filled with the following combination of international sweet and savory breads:
- Moroccan M’smen (4 pieces) – An irresistibly buttery, flaky flatbread made with semolina.
- Grindstone Rye (1 loaf)— Our take on the vollkornbrot or German “People’s Bread,” the Grindstone is a moist, hearty loaf filled with a mix of grains, seeds, and organic rye flour.
- My Mom’s Nutty Granola (10 ounces)— Chock full of toasted oats, raisins, nuts, and lightly sweetened with a touch of honey, it makes a perfectly nutritious topping for yogurt, oatmeal, or even ice cream.
- Contribution to our workforce development and small business incubation programs for minority entrepreneurs. By purchasing the Global Bread Box, you help to support our unique baking training program and culinary incubator in East Harlem.
- A recipe suggestion and a how-to card for caring for your artisanal breads