Seldom do we come across brunches in New York that are literally saving lives with their restaurants. We recently ventured out to Red Hook to brunch at Emma’s Torch and chat with the founder, Kerry Brodie at their pop up location at Home/Made.
Although the pop up recently wrapped up its six month stint, it will reopen in Downtown Brooklyn in early 2018. We will be sure to keep you updated.
Emma’s Torch serves as a platform for refugees to enter our country and discover fulfillment through culinary training, ESL classes, and interview preparation through their paid apprenticeship program at the Emma’s Torch Classroom Cafe.
Named after the poet behind the Statue of Liberty and immigrant, Emma Lazarus, this organization strives to cultivate relationships between program graduates and hospitality gurus throughout the area in order to provide a springboard to a long-term career in this relatively low entry barrier field.
This particular Sunday morning began with a brisk boat ride across the East River on the Ikea ferry to the quaint Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn. This area is one that I don’t make it to too often because it’s not the easiest to get to, but I’m always glad when I do because there is so much to discover as far as local businesses go.
Walking into Emma’s Torch, I immediately felt a sense of warmth and hospitality. The space was small, but full of life. Patrons were speaking to the staff about their recent travels and their upcoming family gatherings just like they would in the comfort of best friends.
I treated myself to a delicious, piping mug of coffee with almond milk to get this meal started.
I couldn’t resist ordering the homemade pastry basket. I didn’t really know what I was in store for because the glass pastry case was on the other side of the room, but I was delighted to find miniature versions of some of my favorite treats across a wooden cheese board landing on the communal table.
The tastiest of the bunch was definitely the blueberry muffin. Although it didn’t possess a crumbly, nostalgic topping, the flavors were light and refreshing on this chilly day. Assorted on the board was also a flourless almond cake, zucchini bread, chocolate banana bread, raspberry preserves, and olive spread with crackers all hitting my taste buds in the right ways.
It was then on to the entrée where it was highly recommended by the Executive Director herself that I order the shakshuka. This hearty cast iron baked dish is one of my go-to classic brunch orders, so it didn’t take much convincing. Emma’s Torch’s take on the dish included halved cherry tomatoes in the saucy mix, feta cheese, and a topping of two onion rings. I wished the onion rings would have been just a tad crispier, but they definitely provided a seamless flavor addition to the mix.
The pair of families that joined me at the communal table, also opting for the shakshuka, ordered a frittata that looked so fluffy and delicious as well—I wish I could’ve scooped a bite onto my perfectly golden toast point, but hey I was there for charity.
Feel passionate about Emma’s Torch and their mission? Assist in the build out of their new Downtown Brooklyn location by purchasing items off their Amazon registry.
The Bitches say: A. Emma’s Torch is more than just a delicious brunch. The organization is providing culinary training and jobs to refugees all over our area. Visit the restaurant and spread the word, it is well deserved.
293 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Emma’s Torch will reopen in early 2018 serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.