Eugenia Theodosopoulos 
Co-Founder/Owner, Essence Bakery Café
Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame, Pastry Chef Extraordinaire, 2011*


Eugenia’s love and respect for food and baking began at age 13 while working in her father’s restaurant—a legendary and loved-by-the-community Ohio eatery established in 1931— still owned and operated by the Theodosopoulos family today. Her talents evolved and in 2011 Eugenia was inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame and awarded Pastry Chef Extraordinaire.

Eugenia’s passion for food is rooted in tradition and technique. She moved to France where she furthered her culinary talent by studying and working at the renowned Ecole Lenôtre Paris. Eugenia went on to establish a cooking school and catering company in Paris serving clientele including foreign diplomats, embassies, and international executives.

In 1994 Eugenia and her French husband, Gilles launched Essence Catering in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2007 they opened Essence Bakery Cafe specializing in French pastries, breads and organic breakfast and lunch.  After 9 months in business, it was named Best New Restaurant for the pastries and food. The croissants, food and pastries continue to receive accolades and awards.

Her support of others carries over to the community where she enjoys sharing her love of food with youth. She has mentored dozens of young ladies through C-CAP (careers through culinary arts program). In addition, she partnered with Free Arts of Arizona to create a 10-week hands on culinary program for at-risk youth and families of domestic abuse. Also, she spent 26 weeks teaching a young boys group home knife skills and how to cook dinner.

Eugenia is Board Chair for Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA) and serves on the board for CCAP Arizona.

She speaks fluent French and is proficient in Spanish. Currently she is learning Greek.