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Madona “Dona” Giorgadze grew up in the small industrial town of Rustavi in the Republic of Georgia.
Even after Georgia gained independence from the Soviet Union, Giorgadze said life there was hard: homework was done by candlelight as there was often no power or heat, and there were long lines to buy bread. She remembers the joys, however, of sharing family meals and learning how to cook. By age 8, she said she was starting to prepare her own food from simple soups to fried potatoes and salads. After she began raising a family, she became more creative and adventurous, experimenting with ingredients to come up with interesting recipes.