It’s the Season of Giving! Meet Our Nonprofit Partner, Emma’s Torch.

We’re excited to announce our partnership with Emma’s Torch, a nonprofit that helps refugees become economically self-sufficient through culinary training. Above, Vallerie Fall, Cisse Tiguira, and Kerry Brodie are hard at work in the kitchen.

A few months ago we published a blog about PieShell’s commitment to give back.

At the time, we were searching for the perfect nonprofit to expand the PieShell community, making it even more reflective of the many ways that food can make a difference in people’s lives. Well, we’re pleased to announce that we found one, and just in time for the holidays!

We’d like to introduce you to Emma’s Torch, a nonprofit that focuses on culinary training and cultural awareness for refugees, helping them integrate into society. From now on, Emma’s Torch will receive 1% of PieShell’s 6% site fee to help fund the incredible work they are doing.

Why Emma’s Torch?

There are so many great nonprofits out there, but we were searching for one that shares our deep commitment to building community through food and providing opportunities for people to succeed in food and beverage.

For PieShell founder Cheryl Clements, the decision to partner with Emma’s Torch came down to a shared passion for making a difference through food.

“While there are numerous wonderful food and beverage charitable organizations supporting those in need, Kerry is why we chose Emma’s Torch as our nonprofit partner. Her infectious passion to help people is what sets her and Emma’s Torch apart. We couldn’t be more excited to be part of it, and to make a difference in the culinary space,” she said.

Kerry, by the way, is Kerry Brodie, the Founder & CEO of Emma’s Torch. She has a long-standing passion for cooking that began when she was a little girl helping her grandmother who was a professional caterer. Although Kerry is now training at the Institute of Culinary Education, she spent her career championing global human rights through numerous organizations, including Human Rights Campaign and the Israeli Embassy.

Given her impressive resume, the current refugee crisis stood out to Kerry as a problem that she could do something about by helping them build new lives in the United States through food and beverage.

“Like so many, I watched and read about the growing refugee crisis. I wanted to help in a concrete way, so I turned to my passion for cooking. It’s one of those things that makes us human. Emma’s Torch is a way of using our common humanity to change lives,” Kerry said.

We couldn’t agree more! We love Kerry’s eye for opportunity and her creative approach to such a difficult problem, something that many of our PieShellers know is essential for creating a viable business.

Emma’s Torch is currently running their pilot program in New York City. We’re excited to support their work!

So, What Exactly Does Emma’s Torch Do?

Each year, hundreds of thousands of refugees, many of whom are victims of political instability and violence, come to the U.S. seeking a better life. So how does Emma’s Torch make a difference in their lives?

As part of Emma’s Torch, refugees receive technical culinary training and licensing that they can use to gain sustainable employment in the food and beverage industry. They also gain valuable work experience through Torch Catering, the organization’s in-house catering company. But perhaps best of all, the men and women who work with Emma’s Torch become connected to a welcoming and supportive community as they adjust to their new lives in the U.S.

Emma’s Torch is currently running their pilot program in New York City. They have partnered with four of the largest refugee resettlement and advocacy organizations in the world — HIAS, IRC, Catholic Charities, and Church World Service — who are helping to identify more participants who would benefit from working with Emma’s Torch.

Beyond the Basics

Beside the practical side of equipping refugees with marketable skills and helping them find jobs, we think that there’s something even more special about how Kerry and her team are using food to make a difference.

As we mentioned above, the men and women of Emma’s Torch will receive hands-on training through Torch Catering. There, they will be able to create recipes that reflect their cultural heritage, and share them through the company’s catering service.

Here at PieShell, we think this is an incredible opportunity to bridge the gap between refugees and their new communities. Food is so much more than sustenance: it’s a connector that has the power to bring people together, and we think that’s exactly what Emma’s Torch will do.

If you’d like to learn more about our nonprofit partner, head over to We’ll also keep you updated via our blog and social media!

Thank you for a wonderful 2016! Happy holidays to you and yours from everyone at PieShell! See you next year!

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