Hot Bread Kitchen builds lasting economic security for low-income, immigrant and minority individuals by creating pathways to professional opportunities in the culinary industry.

Through our employer-driven workforce development and business incubation programs, Bakers in Training and HBK Incubates, we help women and men professionalize skill and passion in the culinary arts, transcend common barriers to fair wage employment and achieve financial independence and success in New York City’s $5 billion food manufacturing industry.

Our non-profit social enterprise marries market to mission: 67% of our operating budget is funded through the sale of multi-ethnic breads and rental of commercial kitchen space. Additional philanthropic support allows for the high quality training and education that we provide.

Jessamyn & co.


The flash of inspiration for Hot Bread Kitchen came from a slip of the tongue.

In 2000, founder Jessamyn Rodriguez interviewed for a job at a microfinance organization called Women’s World Banking. When she explained the opportunity to a friend, he misheard the organization’s name as Women’s World Baking. Forget banking — the missing letter conjured up a vision of an international women’s baking collective that stuck.

Fast forward seven years: Jessamyn, after a decade of social justice and public policy work, is now a baker. She launched Hot Bread Kitchen's Bakers in Training program out of her home kitchen in Brooklyn.

Since then, our programs, kitchens and staff have grown. In 2010, Hot Bread Kitchen moved into La Marqueta, an indoor market in East Harlem built by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1936. In its heyday, La Marqueta was visited by thousands of shoppers a day, many of them recent immigrants, that sought products from their homelands. Sadly, in the 1970s and 80s, the number of shoppers decreased and many vendors shut their gates.

In 2010, to revitalize the entrepreneurial history of La Marqueta, the New York City Council and the Economic Development Corporation envisioned bringing a culinary incubator into the market as an anchor tenant—Hot Bread Kitchen was selected to run it.

In early 2011, we launched HBK Incubates out of La Marqueta, to support the growth of start-up businesses, bring food entrepreneurship back to the historic public market and aid in the creation of good jobs and good food in the community.

Hot Bread Kitchen Fall 2014 PL Graduates

Our Team

  • Aileen Semenetz
    Head Baker

  • Kobla Asamoah
    Program Director
    HBK Incubates

  • Linda Katz
    Sales Director

  • Karen Bornarth
    Program Director
    Bakers in Training

  • Debbie Kellogg
    Development Manager

  • Allegra Ben-Amotz
    Marketing and Events Manager

  • Kim Vallejo
    Program Manager
    HBK Incubates

  • Yeneri Cartagena
    Sales Coordinator

  • Jessica Dragonetti
    Greenmarket Manager

  • Liliane Martelly
    Senior Bookkeeper

Our Board of Directors

Kay Blackwell
Managing Director: MVision Private Equity Advisers

Antonia Bowring, Secretary and Treasurer
Principal: AB Strategies

Dana Cowin
Editor-in-Chief: Food & Wine Magazine

Joe Gold
Chief Executive Officer of the Americas: Barclays

Ivy Grant
Managing Principal: Edelman Consulting

Ben Leventhal
Co-Founder:, Resy

Jordan Levy
General Partner: Softbank Group Corp.; Managing Partner, Seed Capital Partners

Mary McCaffrey
Managing Director: Golden Seeds

Keith Mestrich
President and CEO: Amalgamated Bank

Giuseppe Scalamogna
Senior Vice President: Client Advisor at Bessemer Trust

Gail Simmons
Special Project Manager: Food & Wine Magazine; Judge Top Chef;

Emily Susskind
Independent Consultant

Christina Tosi
Chef and Owner: Milk Bar

Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Hot Bread Kitchen

Joanne Wilson, Chairperson
Angel Investor: Gotham Gal

Careers at HBK

Love food, people and a fast-paced environment? Check here for open positions and send your resume and cover letter with the position title in the subject line to