I recently had the opportunity to take a small group on a tour of the wonderful non-profit bakery, Hot Bread Kitchen. Their awesomeness is three-fold:
1) Hot Bread Kitchen is part of the NYC Greenmarket system and is obligated to purchase local ingredients from other Greenmarket vendors. This includes eggs, milk, honey, produce for savory breads, and more – though for obvious reasons finding a local source of grain can be a tricky one.
2) They primarily make ethnic breads using recipes from all over the world and, as they say, that are “inspired by our bakers and the many countries that they come from.” Persian, German, Polish, Armenian, and Moroccan ethnicities are featured on their shelves.
3) HBK rents out some of their health-inspected kitchen at below-market rates to immigrant and low-income men and women who are seeking a foothold in the food industry. To mention just a few examples, this incubator kitchen space is home to catering companies, an ice cream start-up, and also launched a successful Taste of Ethiopia business whose product is now featured in Whole Foods Markets across the country (after Hot Bread facilitated an introduction between the Ethiopian-born business owner and Whole Foods).
We got a peek at the behind-the-scenes action and were able to see the hustle and bustle of their incubator kitchen and their bakery up close.
Rolls about to go in the oven.
A few tasty looking finished products.
The retail storefront in La Marquetta.
Learning about Hot Bread Kitchen from Communications Manager Grace Moore.
Fun at HBK.
This is m’smen, and it is magical. Apparently it’s the most popular item sold by Hot Bread, and with good reason — it’s a buttery, flaky Moroccan flatbread that is either served sweet, with honey, or savory (as pictured), with caramelized onions and parsley. Run, don’t walk, to La Marquetta or one of Hot Bread Kitchen’s Greenmarket stands as soon as you can to try this for yourself!
What a terrific tour. There’s so much amazing food system work happening here in NYC and it’s pretty inspirational to see some of it happening right before my eyes every once in a while.