Hot Bread Kitchen: NYC Food Based Community Organization Spotlight

by Alexina Cather, MPH

What they do: Hot Bread Kitchen (HBK) aids low income, immigrant, and minority men and women achieve economic independence through the culinary arts. Their programs train individuals in the business of bread making, and support the growth of start-up businesses. By fostering local producers, HBK provides not only delicious bread, but jobs and economic vitality to the community.

How they do it: Their ‘Bakers in Training’ program provides six months of paid, on-the-job training in bread baking for low-income, immigrant, and minority women. One-hundred percent of graduates are placed in full-time, fair wage positions with access to benefits and opportunities for advancement.

  • The ‘HBK Incubates’ program is a shared commercial kitchen space and business  support program for high-growth food enterprises, with priority given to low income and minority entrepreneurs.

Mission: “Hot Bread Kitchen creates economic opportunity through careers in food.”

Latest project/campaign: HBK is in the process of identifying a pilot city to replicate its bakery and Bakers in Training program in. The bakery is also launching a third initiative, currently in the incubation phase, All Hands & the Cook is a women-owned cooperative business that provides skilled, on-demand kitchen support for the food industry. All Hands & the Cook creates economic opportunity for the women in the community to build lasting household assets through business ownership, and provides HBK Incubates businesses and other food entrepreneurs access to the skilled labor needed to affordably scale their operations.

Major funding: Sixty-three percent of HBK’s operating budget is funded through sale of breads inspired by the women the bakery trains, and rental of commercial kitchen space. Philanthropic support takes care of the rest.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit.

Annual budget: $5,002,254

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: Hot Bread Kitchen was chosen to revitalize the nearly-abandoned La Marqueta, an indoor market in East Harlem once visited by thousands of shoppers a day. The bakery has since moved their storefront to the market, aiding in the creation of jobs and providing good food for the community.


Location: East Harlem, NYC

Core Programs:

  1. Bakers in Training
  2. HBK Incubates

Number of staff: 36 Full-time employees/42 Part-time employees

Number of volunteers: 50

Areas served: NYC

Date started: 2008

Director: Jessamyn Rodriguez, founder and CEO

Contact information:, 212-369-3331

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