A Letter From Our Founder
I sit here listening to the twinkling of glasses being polished, to students rushing to set up their stations, and to guests walking through the door. I take a moment to breathe in the magic that Emma’s Torch has created in Brooklyn. What a difference a year makes! For Emma’s Torch, 2018 has been filled with growth and evolution, and I am so proud of what our students and staff have achieved.
In May, we opened our full-service restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and launched our unique 400-hour culinary apprenticeship. Within the first three months of opening, the Emma’s Torch restaurant received recognition from outlets like The New Yorker and Bon Appetit, and was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Greatest Places in the World.” We welcomed thousands of diners to enjoy our students’ dishes, broadening our community and the extended Emma’s Torch family.
But now is not the time to catch our breaths: we are far from finished. In the spring of 2019, we will grow yet again, opening a second location at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library branch. This new space allows us to lengthen our training program, increase the number of students we graduate each year, and take Emma’s Torch to a whole new level.
As I look at all that 2018 has brought to our organization, I am humbled and inspired by the students we have served. Every student who lived in the shelter system before joining our program has since moved out. We have students who have negotiated raises, advocated new positions, and navigated starting their own businesses.
In my eyes, impact means more than statistics. Impact means a survivor of human trafficking, whose struggles with mental health held her back for fifteen years, finishing the program and beginning a job. Impact means that survivor understanding, for the first time, that she is worthy of a better life, and making plans to pursue bigger dreams. Impact means the look on a young girl’s face as she watches her mom receive a diploma for the first time. This impact inspires us daily.
I am deeply grateful to the generous individuals, foundations, and corporations who have made this impact possible. We look forward to serving New American cuisine inspired by our new American students to you and our neighbors for years to come.