The Problem

For refugees coming to America, one of the hardest parts of the transition can be finding a new job. A job is important for more than just a paycheck. It is a chance to meet new people, practice language skills, and find a sense of fulfillment and self-worth after what can be a jarring and disorienting move.


Enter Emma's Torch

We provide refugees with culinary training, ESL classes and interview preparation. We set them up for successful employment in an industry in which their cultural heritage and cuisine can be celebrated. What’s more, we provide a community in which they can build supportive relationships. 


The Evolving Food Industry

Restaurants in New York City are struggling to fill line cook positions. We collaborate with some of New York's most renowned chefs, industry leaders and restaurant groups to help our students find jobs after they graduate.



Through our eight-week, paid apprenticeship program, our students receive nearly 400 hours of culinary training and licensing. They gain work experience at Emma's Torch Classroom Cafe and participate in accelerated English language classes tailored towards the industry. Each cohort is comprised of two students and an instructor, so each student receives a lot of individual attention. 

Our curriculum, designed in consultation with our Chef’s Council, ensures that our students master all of the critical skills needed to work in a restaurant kitchen.


Application Process

We work with our partner organizations to identify and interview candidates. We accept refugees, asylees and survivors of human trafficking, no matter their country of origin. All candidates must be authorized to work in the United States, but are not required to have any previous cooking experience. 

Want to join?



Our program is free. What’s more, we pay our students above market rate for the duration of the program, ad we provide them with professional kitchen shoes and a chef's knife. This allows more students to take advantage of the opportunity and cover some expenses while they participate.


Our partners

We partner with some of the largest refugee resettlement and advocacy organizations in the world. Our partners help us identify refugees, asylees and survivors of human trafficking who would be a good fit for our program.