Foodie Reinventors

Meet the women who turned their love food and feeding people into thriving Second Acts. They’re confectioners, restauranteurs, bakers, caterers, and more.

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Madame Rick

Inspired by the film CASABLANCA, former U.S. diplomat Kathy Kriger set out to re-create the film’s iconic gin joint as a restaurant in Morocco. Read her story about how she launched RICK’S CAFE and became "Madame Rick."

Gastronomic Tours

"Five years ago, I was confronted with the "R" word … early RETIREMENT. I’d worked for the same magazine company for 30 years. Then one Monday … poof … no job," writes Elinor Griffith, a passionate home cook and food lover. Months later, "I was inspired to start a small customized cooking tour business in France." Read more

The Queen of Cupcakes

A former architect, Karen Tripp opened her Mill Valley bakery just as the country was sliding into the Great Recession. Now the store is thriving. How did she grow a new business during lean times? Read more
Photo by Aya Brackett

From IT Exec to Chocolatier

"In November 2007, I found myself out of work and out of love with corporate America," writes Shelly Mortensen. "I was not looking forward to starting off on the bottom rung of the ladder again considering I was now 38 years old. Then I found Dove Chocolate Discoveries and realized I could become an independent chocolatier." Read more
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Hey Pesto!

"Growing up in a traditional Italian family led me to my passion for gardening. My organic garden consists of many things, one of which is basil. My mom made pasta with pesto, so I continued the tradition with my family. At 50 I re-invented my life by forming my pesto company, Romarsi." Read more

The Biscotti Baker

At 48, Suzi Renehan quit her corporate job and took a big leap of faith to follow her passion. "I have always loved to cook and I found it a great way to relieve the stress of my daytime job as a corporate executive in the financial industry," she writes. "In 2007, a coffee shop in my building asked if they could try selling my biscotti." Read more

The Cake Diva

"I used to sell designer clothing," writes Gail Dosik. "In the Spring of 2003: the fairly well-known Seventh Avenue company I worked for downsized and I was out of a job. After a lot of consideration, I enrolled in The French Culinary Institute’s pastry program…..Now I’m the owner of One Tough Cookie." Read more
Photo by Tina Ravitz

My Catering Business

"For 25 years, I was a manager for a communications firm.I always loved to cook but never had the time except for Sunday dinners or dinner parties with friends," writes Linda Duggan. At 56, she wasn’t ready to retire, and instead, Tre Corsi Catering was born. Read more

The Mercer Sisters’ Sweet Reinvention

In January 2006, Heather Sue Mercer, the youngest of three sisters, heard that their favorite Manhattan bake shop was up for sale. She immediately called her sisters Jenji (a lawyer) and Bekah (about to have her first child). "We had always thought it would be a great idea for the three of us to go into business," she writes, "because we had such different strengths and talents – and seriously – how hard could it really be??" So, together, they bought Ruby et Violette. Read more

A Restaurant Where You Can Eat for Free?

Denise Cerreta gave up her successful acupuncture practice to open a pay-what-you-want restaurant that helps feed the world. At One World Everybody Eats, in Salt Lake City, Utah, she breaks all the usual business rules and comes out ahead. Read more



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