Hot Bread Kitchen was founded in 2008 by former United Nations policy analyst and trained bread baker, Jessamyn Rodriguez. Our flagship program, Project Launch, is an on-the-job baking training program designed to capitalize on immigrant women’s baking skills and meet customers’ demand for authentic ethnic breads. Women enrolled in Project Launch receive paid training in commercial baking, classes in English as a second language, and professional skills to help them overcome barriers to fair wage employment. After a year in the program, women are placed in management track positions in the food manufacturing industry or can apply to the HBK Incubates program and launch their own business. To date, Project Launch has supported the professional development of 50 women from 17 different countries and now produces a line of over 40 breads representing 12 different cultures that are distributed throughout the country.
HBK Incubates, Hot Bread Kitchen’s second program started in 2011, is a newer initiative poised to have an even larger economic impact on the local economy and food-scape. While we make it a priority to recruit females, minorities, and immigrants, HBK Incubates welcomes members of all backgrounds who have a promising food business. The program provides comprehensive business support to entrepreneurs who are at the early stage of business growth. In the other half of our commercial bakery, we offer affordable licensed kitchen rental at subsidized rates with flexible scheduling, as well as hands-on culinary support, financial advising, and workshops tailored to the specific needs of food businesses. Like Project Launch, HBK Incubates has its own revenue-generating component; incubator members’ payments for kitchen rental time help to cover overall operating costs of the space and the program offerings. Since its launch in 2011, HBK Incubates has supported the growth of 63 businesses and graduated 5 businesses.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (May 2014)