The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink

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Fortune and Food & Wine teamed up for the second year to bring you the dynamos bringing fresh ideas to everything from clean water and home products to goat cheese and wine—in ways that benefit the broader world. —By Beth Kowitt, Christine Quinlan, Lucy Madison, and Shadia Alame
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Jessamyn Rodriguez

CEO and Founder, Hot Bread Kitchen
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Photo: Jennifer May

Most of the world’s bakeries provide a pretty straightforward service: They sell bread. Rodriguez’s Hot Bread Kitchen, on the other hand, also provides paid, on-the-job food service training to immigrants and low-income women, and serves as an incubator for primarily women- and minority-run small food businesses. When she started the organization in 2007, Rodriguez’s goal for Hot Bread Kitchen was to create opportunities that would make it easier for women with high barriers into the workforce to find secure, upwardly mobile jobs. Since then, its program has trained 82 women from 20 different countries—and 33 of them have gone on to get jobs at top bakeries and specialty retailers. “My greatest pride is seeing women come back through our alumni network and hearing them talk about what it feels like to be in a hiring position,” she says. This October, Rodriguez will publish a Hot Bread Kitchen cookbook, featuring her trainees’ stories in addition to their recipes. “The book is truly the manifestation of the dream,” she says. “It’s the document that tells our story.”

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