I first met Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez eight years ago, when I happened upon her and her mother selling handmade tortillas at a tiny farmers market in West Harlem. Even back then, I could tell that Jessamyn was a force to be reckoned with. She embraces her life's work with equal parts humanity, passion, and focus.
In recent years, Jessamyn's nonprofit and bakery, Hot Bread Kitchen, has been preserving baking traditions from around the world by hiring immigrant women to make the breads of their home countries in the organization's headquarters in Manhattan. Along the way, Hot Bread Kitchen has essentially become a wildly successful job-training program for the thousands of women who have passed through its doors. It's an awe-inspiring operation, and when you listen to this episode of Special Sauce, you'll understand that it takes a force of nature like Jessamyn Rodriguez to undertake this kind of initiative.
Of course, that's not the only reason I love Hot Bread Kitchen—Jessamyn's crew also happens to make the very best bialys in New York. So we discuss those bialys, and a whole lot more, on this week's podcast. Listen up.
You Could Be on Special Sauce
Want to chat with me and Kenji? We're accepting questions for Special Sauce call-in episodes now. Do you have a long-standing argument with your spouse about the best pasta-cooking methods? Have you been refining your pizza-making technique for the past five years, but can't quite make it work? Does your brother make the worst steak, and you want to figure out how to give him tips? We want to get to know you and solve all your food-related problems. Send us the whole story at [email protected].
[Bialy photograph: Rabi Abonour]