Hi! My name is Jin-Ya (sounds like Virginia, just without the "vir"), I am the founder of Break Bread, Break Borders. Nice to meet you.
I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. My ancestors were refugees who escaped China from Communism to take refuge in Taiwan. At the age of 13, my dad lost his job. Trying to raise six girls on a single income, my family fell deeper into poverty. That's when my aunt and uncle called from Tulsa, Oklahoma, said they were building a Chinese version of McDonald's, and asked if my parents would like to come and help out the family business. Due to extreme economic hardship, my parents said yes. Sixteen franchises of Chinese fast food restaurants in the Southwest later, my parents pinched their pennies and bought a franchise located in Dallas, Texas. I saw everyday my mom, as the Chef, transform lives by training other immigrants, refugees, and migrants to come and work in our kitchen, and send them on to bigger and better opportunities, I was inspired to do the same. That's why when I lost my mom to cancer, I wanted to turn my grief into action - that's how Break Bread, Break Borders was born.
My mom is my everything. She took me to my first art lesson at the age of three, and I knew then I wanted to become an artist. Because of her, I am an acclaimed interdisciplinary artist, making social practice art. That's art that makes a difference. I've shown in galleries in Dallas, Miami and New York. My work examines my Asian identity and immigrant diaspora experience. My art makes a social impact, hone in on community development, and creative innovation with a focus on the intersection of equity, design, and social justice work. BBBB started out as a Community Art Project and turned into a social enterprise empowering refugee women economically through the storytelling of food and culture. As an immigrant female entrepreneur, my expertise in the sustainable global supply chain, and over a decade of extensive background in marketing for the Fossil Group, JCPenney, and Neiman Marcus, really helped launched the business.
I am an accomplished, published writer and public speaker. My work has been featured on the TODAY Show, at the Bush Center, The Hill, Nasher Sculpture Center, Amon Carter Art Museum, Dallas Innovates, TEDxSMU, Texas Lyceum, Slow Food USA, Toyota of North America TAASiA Corporate ERGs, Truth Racial Healing Transformation, University of North Texas, Southwestern School of Art, Airbnb International, BBVA Momentum, and in TIME Magazine, highlighted as a Community Bridge Builder Across America, just to name a few.
With an eye towards new approaches to entrepreneurship, empowering women and improving race relations, I serve on the advisory board of the LiftFund, DEI board of Verdigris Ensembles, and the Dallas Museum of Art Learning & Engagement Committee. I've been highly regarded for my ability to bring communities and people of all backgrounds together. My reputation as a community builder won an appointment as a social entrepreneur at SMU Hunt Institute Economic Inclusion Consortium and I was voted by D Magazine as one of 78 Women Changing the Face of Dallas. I'm a proud member of the Orchid Giving Circle (a fund of The Texas Women’s Foundation), a cohort of the National Hello Neighbor Network, a recipient of the Maura Women Helping Women Award, and the Triumph of the Spirit for Human Rights Honoree. I am a current fellow of PLS, the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program.
Everyday I make art to heal, to serve the communities, I fulfill my why, and I live my purpose. Everyday, when the women cook, share their culture, get access to culinary education, using food as a universal language, my mom's spirit comes to life. As a single mom to a teenage boy, I wanted to make this world a little better than the way I found it, just like my mom did for me. Thank you for being here, being present, being such an amazing community partner. I look forward to getting to know all you global citizens better, soon.
With Gratitude, Jin-Ya
More than Great Food
Welcome to Break Bread, Break Borders. We are making a "food for good" company, where refugee women from war-torn countries are economically empowered by cooking for a living.
The women are mentored by professional chefs, restaurants, caterers and culinary consultants. The BBBB community cooks acquire food handler permit and food manager license certifications for job opportunities in the food service industry.
BBBB was founded in 2017 by Jin-Ya Huang after she lost her mother to multiple myeloma cancer. Margaret Mei-Ying Huang was a chef, restaurateur and community leader.
Break Bread, Break Borders exists to honor to her legacy. Through food, culture, and powerful storytelling, we break bread with the community, and break down borders at the same time.
MEET THE TEAM
Break Bread, Break Borders is women led, refugee run. Sure we let a guy show up as an upstander here and there, but you know he has to do his best to keep up - because there are definitely some fierce female trailblazing along the way!
Founder & CEO
Chief Operating Officer
Chief People Officer
Food Manager - Ops Lead
Food Manager - Finance
Food Manager - Logistics