It was a college job in a French restaurant that sparked Kathy Gold's love of cooking.
"I remember walking into the kitchens, and my heart actually started to beat faster," she said. But because she did not see a viable career path in the culinary arts, Gold majored in Chinese language and literature and took a job in international finance. She spent two decades as a stockbroker and portfolio manager on Wall Street until she left to raise her daughter.
After a few years, she was ready to return to the workforce, re-evaluated her career path and returned to her first love: cooking.
She started as a personal chef, working with individual clients in their homes to keep overhead costs low. Her only expenses were her ingredients and the pots and pans she carried with her from kitchen to kitchen. Catering jobs soon followed, and though Gold intended to build this new venture slowly, a profile in a local newspaper in 1997 turned the heat up on her business. Due to the media attention, "business exploded," Gold said.
Soon after, an invitation to do a cooking demonstration at a local cookware store gave her the "a-ha!" moment she'd been looking for: She loved teaching and wanted to open a cooking school. In preparation, Gold ramped up her own education by taking courses at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school.