Suzy Kades Karadsheh ’01 loved her busy job as the director of Calvin’s Annual Fund. When her husband’s career took them to Iowa in 2014, she decided to stay home with their two young daughters.

“Unpacking, I was in a tiny closet, sobbing,” Karadsheh said. “I thought, ‘Who am I now?’”

One evening, her husband, Saba, came home and told her he’d heard a podcast about a new thing—food blogging.

“He said, ‘You love to cook and write, you should do this,’” Karadsheh remembered. “I thought the idea was nuts; I agreed just to keep my sanity.”

With that exchange, The Mediterranean Dish website was launched.

Born on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, Karadsheh grew up in a home where “everything happened around the table,” she said. “You never knew who would stop by.”

It wasn’t until 2016 and the family’s move to Atlanta that Karadsheh’s occasional hobby became something much more. “Things shifted for me when I began to get email from people telling me what huge, healthy changes I’d help them make to their lives,” she said. “I began to see this as a full-time mission.”

Her mission is less about Mediterranean recipes than a Mediterranean lifestyle.

“It’s about well-balanced, wholesome dishes that anyone can make,” she explained. “Because above all, the Mediterranean lifestyle is about sharing—not just food, but oneself. Mediterranean people don’t fuss about food, we don’t ‘entertain.’ We just have people around the table.”

The Mediterranean Dish now serves millions of visitors each month and has grown into a multifaceted company with a booming e-commerce arm for olive oil, spices, and other recipe ingredients. Karadsheh has been featured in many media outlets, including Today, Mother Earth News, Everyday Health, and Good Housekeeping.

“What keeps me going when I get tired is knowing that people are making my recipes, breaking bread, and sharing that love with others,” she said. “That’s sacred.”