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Chef Lena Ciardullo and the team at Union Square Cafe are delighted to introduce a new series for summer 2022. Each month from July through September, we will be partnering with friends from the New York community on a featured menu item, with proceeds being donated back to our partner organizations. Learn more about our partnerships and the ways in which you can help!


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Emma’s Torch is a social enterprise whose mission is to empower refugees, asylees, and survivors of human trafficking through culinary education. Since its inception, Emma’s Torch has helped 160 people with training and job placement in culinary-related professions in New York City. We first started hosting trails with the team at Emma’s Torch earlier this year and have since welcomed five graduates of the program into the USHG family.

This July, Chef Lena and Emma's Torch alum, Jahck, have partnered on a signature dish from Jahck’s home country of Senegal - with a Union Square Cafe twist! All proceeds from Jahck’s dish will be donated to Emma’s Torch.

Learn more about the work that Emma’s Torch does by visiting We encourage you to join us in supporting their incredible mission! 


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Food and Finance High School is New York City’s only culinary-focused public high school. They prepare and empower students to continue their education and cultivate sustainable careers through experiential learning in culinary arts, hospitality, and entrepreneurship. The school is supported by the Food Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that prepares and empowers culinary-focused public high school students and alumni, the majority of whom are BIPOC talent who live below the poverty line.

This August, Chef Lena, will be collaborating on a featured menu item with proceeds being donated to the Food Education Fund. Learn more about Food and Finance High School by visiting  


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Led by Culinary Director and former Expeditor at Untitled, Mavis-Jay, Drive Change is a 4-month paid fellowship for formerly incarcerated youth that focuses on culinary training and professional development. Each week, fellows prepare and serve free and nutritious meals to local communities that are navigating food insecurity. Recently, Mavis-Jay was awarded the James Beard Foundation’s 2022 Leadership award. 

This September, she and Chef Lena will be partnering on an appetizer benefitting the fellowship at Drive Change. Learn more about the work of Mavis-Jay and Drive Change by visiting


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