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After a long hiatus from their operations in their Brooklyn-based restaurant and training facility due to COVID-19, Emma's Torch reopened its doors for full restaurant service in late September. Emma's Torch operates as a restaurant, but more notably, as a non-profit social enterprise that empowers and trains refugees 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 support refugees in finding sustainable employment in an industry where heritage and diversity in cultures are often represented through various cuisine.
Historically, Emma's Torch graduates 120 students from over 40 countries. In addition, they can boast an over 90% 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 U.S.