After two days of exploring the DIVERSIFY marketplace, you'll more than likely be hungry. Lucky for you, we thought ahead.
On Wednesday, June 21, DIVERSIFY's theme will center around food. Incredible restaurants and catering companies will be on display, and each will be serving some of their best dishes.
Local catering company Kozy Cooking will be among our vendors Wednesday. We spoke with owner and chef Andi Cagle on what makes her business special, how she got her start and some of the cool projects she's been working on.
Trend: Where did your passion for cooking begin?
Andi Cagle: I grew up working in a barbeque restaurant in Huntsville, Alabama – when I was six years old. That’s where it all started.
Trend: What led you to turn cooking into a business?
Cagle: I actually began catering. My sister – she doesn’t cook, she’s an engineer – said “I don’t want to cook. I want to have somebody cook for me.” That ended up being me. Every time she had a party, I would do all of the cooking. I loved it. That’s something that I did when I was in college, and it’s something that I did before culinary school, when I was in the medical field.
Trend: Could you describe your experiences with projects such as Culinard and East Chattanooga Involvement?
Cagle: I was the culinary director at Virginia College. I was the first director there. I also worked for East Chattanooga Improvement. It’s a nonprofit – my uncle actually started it – in the East Chattanooga area. Instead of people moving out, East Chattanooga Improvement has tried to make the neighborhood better. I was a volunteer. I did cooking classes for kids, cooking camps and I did healthy meals for people with special diets.
Trend: Do you feel like food is a way to keep people involved in their community?
Cagle: Absolutely. Food brings people together. If you’re trying to get people to do something, bring food into the mix. Especially good food. It pulls people together.
Trend: You were one of the chefs for the inauguration of President Obama. What was that process like?
Cagle: It was an amazing experience. We fed 18,000 people that day. I was the executive chef over the ambassador’s ball, and I actually fed around 7,000 people. It’s something I can tell my grandkids. Not everyone gets to do that.
Trend: How did you find out about DIVERSIFY?
Cagle: Well, Maria Noel is the one that brought me in. I’m also on the board of the MidTown Council, which won Council of the Year last year. I was an at-large member for the last two years, and I just took over this division of Diversity and Inclusion. I’m heavily involved with the Chamber and I want to continue to be heavily involved. I think DIVERSIFY is going to give me some more exposure in my catering business. Most people know me as the director of the culinary school, and now they’re beginning to know me from my catering business.
You can learn more about Cagle and Kozy Cooking by visiting the Kozy Cooking Facebook page.
To learn more about DIVERSIFY, visit ChattanoogaChamber.com/Diversify