Hero of the Month: Emma's Torch

We were so proud to be named Brooklyn’s Hero of the Month for December. Our Culinary Director, Chef Alex Harris, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Bklyner covered the event.

Emma’s Torch and its unique humanitarian business model received heroic praise for saving lives by introducing and employing asylum seekers into the culinary industry.
— Bklyner

Emma’s Torch Honored With ‘Hero Of The Month’ Award

By Kadia Goba -

December 28, 2018

CARROLL GARDENS – Borough President Eric Adams honored Emma’s Torch on Thursday with a “Hero of the Month” award.

The award goes to individuals saving lives in a variety of ways throughout the borough. Adams has doled out tributes to Brooklyn heroes from the NYPD officers to Good Samaritans since 2014. Emma’s Torch and its unique humanitarian business model received heroic praise for saving lives by introducing and employing asylum seekers into the culinary industry.

The award comes weeks after the company announced the restaurant will partner with the Brooklyn Public Library to manage its concession program at the Central branch.

The non-profit business first appeared on the scene in June 2107 with a cozy pop-up cafe at 293 Van Brunt St. in Red Hook. A year later they opened a permanent restaurant in Carroll Gardens at 345 Smith St. The eatery provides culinary training, ESL classes and interview-preparation courses to refugees, asylees and survivors of human trafficking, all to prepare them for a career in the culinary industry.

Founder and Executive Director Kerry Brodie left her job at the Human Rights Campaign in May of 2016. The following year she teamed up with Mandy Maxwell, now the head chef at Emma’s Torch. Brodie named the business after Emma Lazarus, whose famous poem, The Colossus, is mounted on the base of The Statue of Liberty.

Police Officers Charles Edwards and Damion Graham of Transit District 30 were issued the October “Hero of the Month” award for administering CPR to a 1-year-old on the C train. NYPD Deputy Inspector Joseph G. Seminara is the November recipient for saving a woman from a burning building.