It's back to cooking and teaching: Emma's Torch has reopened its doors for full restaurant service. The Brooklyn-based establishment operates as a restauarant, but more notably, as a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers and trains refugees, asylees, and survivors of human trafficking through hands-on culinary education and job training. Students participate in a three-month, paid culinary apprenticeship while gaining valuable work experience in the restaurant. Career mentorship, interview preparation, and English-as-a-second-language classes help refugees to find sustainable employment in an industry where cultural heritage and diversity are often represented through various cuisines.
Supported by GRoW, this nonprofit organization graduates has graduated 120 students from more than 40 countries since its launch in 2016. In addition, it boasts a 90-plus percent job-placement rate. Graduates are highly sought-after in some of the most popular and in-demand restaurants in New York City. With its name, Emma's Torch honors Emma Lazarus, an American writer and staunch advocate for refugee rights whose words are engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty. At Emma's Torch, refugees are welcomed for their resiliency and promise to uplift their new communities in the United States.