Andrea Cagle's dad was a cook in the U.S. Army, so did he influence her career aspirations?
"He certainly did and was very supportive of my going to culinary school," says Cagle, a local caterer. "He encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a chef."
But it wasn't something she pursued immediately after high school. First, she went to nursing school in her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, following in her mother's footsteps. She was a lab technician and phlebotomist in a pediatrician's office, then worked in a medical business office for 14 years before realizing "that wasn't for me," she says.
At age 38, Cagle entered Le Cordon Bleu in Tucker, Georgia, and pursued a career that came naturally to her, receiving an associate's degree in the culinary arts.