Our hearts are heavy, yet full of love, as we celebrate the life, vision, and energetic resonance of our Co-founder, Mary Ann Beauchamp.
In 1950, Mary Ann was born to her mother Kyoko and her father Robert, an American army sergeant, in Tokyo, Japan. The weaving of these two cultures would lead Mary Ann on a lifelong journey of culinary curiosity and creativity. Her family moved periodically during her formative years, and Mary Ann was passionate to learn local cooking traditions anywhere they landed. From Japan to Italy, California to North Carolina, she felt inspiration awaken in warm bowls of comfort.
When her father retired in 1960, the family made a new home in Delta Junction, Alaska. Mary Ann attended the University of Alaska, and in 1972, she met her future husband and best friend, Mark Beauchamp. They were married in 1978 and welcomed their daughter, Jessica, in 1979.
The Beauchamp family moved to Eugene in 1986, where Mary Ann’s enduring love of food, and the joy she felt while serving others, allowed her restaurant dreams to blossom. In 1991, Mary Ann opened and owned the first restaurant concept of her own creation, Wild Rose Café & Deli. Ahead of her time for the restaurant industry, she developed an extensive, plant-forward menu and guests were pleasantly surprised to learn that personalized orders were always welcome in Mary Ann’s kitchen. She displayed obvious delight in nourishing others while also introducing people to new flavors from her travels around the world.
In 1997, Mary Ann collaborated with her husband Mark to open the first Café Yumm! restaurant. Her unique recipes and commitment to whole foods made Café Yumm! a beloved destination in Eugene. Within a few years, the restaurant grew into a successful Northwest chain based on the heart of Mary Ann’s business ethos: To Nourish Humanity and the World.
Mary Ann’s exceptional creation (and the star of our menu), Yumm! Sauce®, is now a fan-favorite throughout America, with mail orders to all 50 US states and distribution to hundreds of grocery stores. Although Mary Ann retired in 2005, she continued to be recognized as Café Yumm’s co-founder, most expert critic, and the motivating force for developing Café Yumm! into what it is today … or as Mark describes her: “My Supervisor.”
Mary Ann was known for her joy, humor, culinary talent, adventurous spirit, and an effortless, beautiful ability to connect one-on-one with anyone she met. She was a strong supporter of causes related to sustainability, securing food access for low-income people, women’s safety, and education about wellness and health. She also had numerous artistic pursuits and practiced creative writing throughout her life. But most of all, Mary Ann loved cooking for friends and family, traveling to experience other cultures, and learning about traditional diets and cooking methods wherever the muse would take her.
Mary Ann passed peacefully on July 26 and is dearly missed by her husband Mark, her daughter Jessica, the Café Yumm! community, and a multitude of close friends. In lieu of a memorial service, she would have invited you to make a donation or volunteer time to a worthy cause in her memory.
If you have a favorite story about Mary Ann to share, please write to us here.