78: Eugenia Theodosopolous

From now 'til we publish the 2012 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times and Chow Bella present 100 Tastemakers -- Valley residents who make the cut in our culinary scene. Some you'll know; for others, it'll be a first introduction (but likely not the last). While you're here, check out our 100 Creatives on Jackalope Ranch.

Today: The pastry chef who was way ahead of the macaron curve.

Tastemaker 78: Eugenia Theodosopolous

Recently inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame as "Pastry Chef Extraordinaire," Eugenia Theodosopolous traces her culinary roots to her time studying and working at the Ecole Lenotre in Paris. At Essence Bakery Café in Tempe, Chef/owner Eugenia offers high-quality organic local food and Parisian pastries. We blame her perfectly buttery croissants and delicate French macarons for a few of the extra inches on our waists.

I arrived in Phoenix... 19 years ago with the best copper pot to cook sugar, and I still use it, even though the handle is half-broken!

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Gilles Combes (the love of my life), Jean Louis Clement (my incredible mentor), Pierre Herme (the most talented pastry chef), Joel Robuchon (unbelievably talented chef with a palate you cannot imagine), Jacques Pepin (he brought us so much from France). What can I say? I love French men!

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... at the Biltmore Hotel just for the ambience -- it's gorgeous.

One menu item this city could do without is... big, dry scones. Real scones are delicious.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... a huge party with my family and friends, just like I had for my 40th birthday -- food stations galore, with loads of Greek and French food, Bordeaux wine, and Bombe Alaska for Gilles!

The Tastemakers so far: 100: Tracy Dempsey 99: Craig DeMarco 98: Lara Mulchay 97: M.J. Coe 96: Betty Alatorre de Hong 95: Eric Schaefer 94: Hanna Gabrielsson 93: Shinji Kurita 92: Silvana Salcido Esparza 91: Mike Pitt 90: Christina Barrueta 89: Christopher Gross 88: Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung 87: DJ Fernandes 86: Cullen Campbell 85: Chris Lee 84. Gwen Ashley Walters 83: Tony Morales 82: Lylah Ledner 81: Andrea White 80: Lori Hashimoto 79. Mrs. White

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