MEET THE CHEF
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 grandfather’s restaurant—a legendary and loved-by-the-community Ohio eatery established in 1931— still owned and operated by the Theodosopoulos family today. Eugenia’s early specialty—pies! Her talents evolved and in 2011 Eugenia was inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame and awarded Pastry Chef Extraordinaire—a highly distinguished award, she was selected over four top pastry chefs.
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 catering company in Paris called "Le Petit Gourmand" where clientele included foreign diplomats, embassies, and international executives with discerning palates.
In 1994 Eugenia and Gilles launched Essence Catering. In 2007 they opened Essence Bakery Cafe in Tempe (2007) and expanded with a second location in Phoenix (2013). Eugenia uses every opportunity in the bakery-café to mentor her staff and encourage their contributions to Essence.
Her support of others carries over to the community where she enjoys sharing her love of food with youth. This year she mentored a high school culinary program with CCAP and helped 2 young ladies win culinary scholarships. Also she recently partnered with Free Arts of Arizona and Les Dames d’Escoffier to create a 10 week hands on culinary program for at-rish youth.
Eugenia is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier, James Beard Foundation and she serves on the Boards of Scottsdale Community College and Rio Salado College Culinary Programs and judges for CCAP culinary competitions.