With a tradition of serving delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner since 1985, Garden Café is Omaha’s premier bakery, restaurant and caterer. Monika Duszynska is the Sales and Operations Manager at Garden Café.
How did you get started in the business? – In December of 2009 I was laid off from my corporate job due to company downsizing. I didn’t know what to do so I took some time and started cooking, which I really enjoyed. I enrolled into culinary school in December 2010 and graduated with Culinary Arts and Management degrees. I worked my way up from Prep Cook to Pastry Chef, and then to Sales and Operations Manager at Garden Café.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Leaving the corporate world for the unknown. I had no idea what I was going to do and all I knew was that I was still searching for my passion.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – My most important professional achievement is being excited to come to work from the moment I wake up in the morning. I love what I do and the people that I work with. I enjoy working with food and people, and I get to do that every day .
Tell me a little about your family. – My family here in the States is small but close, and consists of my mother, brother, niece, and nephew. I’m very close to my mother, who lives with me, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her in my life. My niece works with me at the Garden Café as the assistant manager. Last but not least are my two dogs; my Rottweiler, Ozzy and my Boxer, Mya. No matter what my day was like, when I come home they give me love, laughter, lots of kisses, and cuddles.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – When weather allows I enjoy taking my two dogs on hikes. It’s so peaceful getting out of the city and enjoying nature during each season of the year.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – Two of the most interesting things about me are that I’m a yoga teacher and I was not born in the United States. My family and I came to the United States in 1983 from Poland. During that time many families left due to the communist government. I became a certified yoga teacher in 2006 through the Omaha Yoga and Bodyworks Center in Benson.
What are you the most proud of? – My decision to purchase a house, which was a scary decision to make. A house is very permanent and requires a lot of responsibility that I never had before. I found a house in Benson that I fell in love with the second I walked in–I must have looked at 30 houses before I found mine. Within a month the papers were signed and boxes packed up. I love the sense of small community but “still in the city” feel of Benson.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – Light on Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar. It’s my go-to book when I need a refresher.
What is your favorite local restaurant? – Hiro 88, because I could eat sushi every day. They are the only sushi place in town that offers halibut on the menu, which is my favorite fish.