When Caroline Brudi was looking to return to the workforce after decades of taking care of her family, she didn't head out to an office. She headed to her kitchen.
The wife and mother of two launched Sweet Caroline's Catering in the kitchen of her West Islip home.
Armed with culinary skills and recipes honed during years of cooking for her family and friends, Brudi admits she never considered cooking as a career.
"It was a love. I never thought it would be a profession," she said. "It was just something I did."
Inspired to parlay her experience into "something better," Brudi spent months perfecting her recipes before launching Sweet Caroline's. Today, she offers a staggering menu of fresh, homemade favorites including shrimp scampi, chicken parmigiana and pot roast.
Brudi does it all, catering to communion and graduation parties with more than 100 guests to intimate family dinners. She also offers personal chef packages including a traditional Sunday dinner.
"They tell me what they want, and its like grandma cooked," she said with a warm smile.
Accustomed to receiving compliments on her cooking from family and friends, Brudi relishes the sight of empty plates on her customers' tables.
"I love it," she said. "The feedback I get shows me I'm doing the right thing."
She's also earned accolades in the business world, recently being named Professional Woman of the Year for the National Association of Professional Women.
With the arrival of summer, Brudi is looking to expand, building a professional-grade kitchen in her garage. She's also working diligently to cater her first wedding, which will take place in October.