This is the next in our series of educators featured in our Bake Twentyfive issue. Each weekday, we will spotlight a new instructor or educator in the fields of baking, pastry, and chocolate.
Hot Bread Kitchen’s culinary training is an intensive, paid on-the-job program for women facing economic insecurity. The organization achieves its mission through two employer-driven workforce development and business incubation programs, Bakers in Training and HBK Incubates.
In her role as workforce development program director for Hot Bread Kitchen, Karen Bornarth oversees a team to design and deliver a dynamic workforce development program in New York City. The program provides paid culinary training along with key skills like English as a second language, knife skills, kitchen math, and science.
“Over the years, my interest has shifted away from the products we make to who makes the products, the people who do the work,” Bornarth says. “It’s the people who have kept me in the business for so long. Bread bakers are a warm and welcoming community. And in my work now, serving women who are in so many ways underserved and unrepresented in our industry, it’s these women, each unique and amazing in her own way, that keep me going. What I love is being witness to their lives, their struggles and successes, and being an instrument of change for these women and for the industry at large.”
Bornarth launched her career at New York’s iconic Amy’s Bread, working as one of very few women in production. She worked her way up from packer to supervisor while teaching part-time at the Artisan Baking Center. The French Culinary Institute provided Bornarth the opportunity to focus her passion for teaching. She also worked for five years with Le Pain Quotidien in product development and quality control.