In 2012, Margaret Karidza completed the Culinary Apprenticeship Certificate program. Now, she is a full-time caterer and budding entrepreneur with plans to open a restaurant in Cobb County.
Margaret spent 15 years in corporate sales with Delta Airlines but said cooking is her true passion. After she retired, she came to the College of Continuing and Professional Education.
“This was automatic. I wanted to just stop and do what I passionately loved, which was cooking,” she said. “I loved my job with Delta, but when I’m cooking I don’t feel like I’m working.”
The registration cost and opportunities to apprentice in different restaurants appealed to Margaret. Once she was enrolled in the program, Margaret joined eight other future chefs for what she said was an enjoyable experience.
“It was hands-on work. You learn more because you are dealing with different seasoned chefs in the industry,” she said.
Villa Christina, Park 75 and Elevation Chophouse were among her apprenticeship sites.
“Every day you learn something new,” she said. “Overall, it was a positive experience.”
Her fellow classmates were from all walks of life, and the diversity of the group added to her experience. Margaret was the only retiree.
“We had older adults and new high school graduates, and we all supported each other,” she said.
Pam Moss, Culinary program manager, said she isn’t surprised about Margaret’s success: “Margaret was such a hard-working student. Her enthusiasm for cooking was evident, and I know her restaurant will be a success.”
Today, Margaret operates Helen Michaels, a catering company based out of Powder Springs. UPDATE: In April 2015, she opened her own restaurant, Spot364, in Mableton.
For those interested in a culinary career, Margaret offers the following advice.
“In culinary, you really have to love it. You have to have a passion for it. It’s a lot of work. If you don’t love it, you will give up,” she said. “For me, it’s exciting!”