Moms Who Make Duluth is a monthly series featuring interviews with industrious, local women who are shaping the face of Duluth’s professional sphere while simultaneously raising their families. Duluth Moms Blog and Krenzen are delighted to highlight the positive impact working moms have on our community. We want you to get to know some of Duluth’s most notable women: professionals who balance work, community, civic engagement, and family.
Introducing... Mary Kay Berarducci!
Today we’re talking with a woman who has been making Duluth a tastier place to live for the past eleven years. Meet restauranteur, mom, flavor guru, and baker extraordinaire… Va Bene Caffe’s mastermind: Mary Kay Berarducci!
Mary Kay, will you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Duluth as the youngest of eight in a house with only 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It could feel crowded, but I loved it. There was always someone around, especially during the holidays when the house was overflowing with family, good food, board games, and card playing. My parents were hard workers. My dad was in the insurance business, and coincidentally, practiced in the building right next to where Va Bene is now located! He was perpetually positive. I would sometimes roll my eyes at his cheerfulness but it rubbed off me and I’m happy it did. Who wants to go through life all negative and bitter? My mother worked at Sears in downtown Duluth. She was the original Girl Boss!
On to the questions!
What advice do you wish you could have given to your 13 year old self?
My mom used to say, “I’m not perfect, I’m a work in progress” and it seemed like a cop-out statement. She was so right though. Also, do what you have to do so that you can enjoy what you want to do. I use to run 5 days a week. Every morning I literally had to talk myself in to it. I’d tell myself, “Just go a mile because it’s better than nothing.” And I loved running! Inevitably, I would do my whole run. My only competition is myself. I can’t compare myself to others.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Your confections and cakes are a sight to behold! What is your favorite thing to bake and why?
The next creation! When I’m in creative mode, I wake up thinking of what flavor profiles would be interesting and fun to eat. I especially love when something doesn’t go as planned and I can switch it around to something that works. Ask anyone in my kitchen! I’m always saying that I don’t like to waste anything!
What is the most exciting thing about your job right now? Most challenging?
What is your family’s favorite way to relax together?
Your children are older now, do you have any advice for new moms about the years to come?
Tell us your biggest joy and most challenging part of motherhood?
What is your favorite cheesy movie?
Name a favorite “hidden gem” Northshore spot.
Va Bene. Seriously. Even after 11 years of business, we still have local Duluthians walk in and tell us, “I never knew this was here!” We get many comment cards with “hidden gem” on them and we are ok with that!
Thank you, Mary Kay, for letting us get to know you. We love your honesty and warmth, and can’t wait for our next pop in to Va Bene to fill our bellies!
Join us over the next few months as we get to know some of Duluth’s most notable women. Do you know a mom who is making waves in the community? Speaking out? Pushing for change, or implementing new and innovative ways to better our schools, neighborhoods, government, or commerce and agriculture? Drop us a line at [email protected] and let us know!