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National Hellenic Museum Virtual Exhibitions

Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne

Katherine Kallinis Berman (R) Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne (L) no frame.jpg

NHS’ Excellence Award Honorees are Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis Berman, co-founders and owners of Georgetown Cupcake, stars of DC Cupcakes and Cupcake Cam LIVE on TLC, and best-selling authors of the cookbooks The Cupcake Diaries and Sweet Celebrations.

The women were born in the late 1970’s and while their hardworking parents, Ilias and Eleni worked, their Yiayia and Pappou, Katerini and Pasxalis Ouzas lived down the street from their home in Toronto and helped raise the women. Yiayia’s influence and love of baking to please others was a passion passed on to them. The women practiced making their own little cakes from Yiayia’s batch of leftover batter.

The sisters dream of one day opening a bakery together, but as most parents do, theirs worked hard to educate them for professional careers. Sophie graduated from Princeton University in 2000 with a degree in Molecular Biology. Katherine graduated from Marymount University in 2002 with a degree in Politics. The family later immigrated to the U.S. from Canada. Sophie pursued a career in venture capital with a focus on biotechnology portfolio companies and Katherine worked in the glamorous fashion industry for the iconic Gucci brand.

They reached success in their respective careers but the dream they had as little girls never faded. In the summer of 2007, they decided to do something about it, to be mavericks as their parents and grandparents had been, even if it meant leaving the security and comfort they knew to take a risk for something better. They found a little space in the middle of Georgetown within their budget and opened Georgetown Cupcake on Valentine’s Day, 2008. They were in shock to see a huge line extending around the block from day one that, years later, has yet to dissipate. A glowing New York Times review, appearance on Martha Stewart’s syndicated show, and random visit by a reality show producer waiting in line for his cupcake led to a phenomenon that spawned the now global cupcake industry!

DC Cupcakes aired on The Learning Channel (TLC) networks and provided viewers with an insider’s glance at the adorable Kallinis Family’s operations of their growing cupcake empire. The often hysterical antics, challenges and drama of operating a Greek American family-owned business were tempered with the many moments of love, kindness and care the family had for one another, their employees, customers, and extended Greek family. Millions tuned-in for three seasons to share and be part of the story.

The girls relationships grew along with their brand. Sophie & Steve LaMontagne and Katherine & Ben Berman are now raising children of their own. The Georgetown Cupcake business continues to grow with millions and millions of cupcakes still made the way Yiayia inspired: from scratch, made with the best ingredients and great care. Yiayia Katherina’s goodness and desire to please others is channeled through the sister’s incredible philanthropy benefitting children, the needy and even the men and women of our armed forces serving abroad through the Pentagon’s Operation Cupcakes Program.

Sophie and Katherine have never forgotten where they came from, the importance of their Greek heritage which was the key to success. Georgetown Cupcake is the quintessential Greek and American success story bound together by hard work, drive and most of all agape. We salute Sophie & Katherine, their families and forebears.

Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne are the 2023 National Hellenic Society Arete Award of Excellence winners.

Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne