Two Locations

New Location
2108 N. Clark st.
Chicago, IL 60614 ‎

Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton St.
Chicago, IL 60661

Sophie's Story

Vanille Patisserie owner Sophie Evanoff discovered her love for pastries early on, grabbing any chance she could to bake alongside of her mother, her teachers, or the grandmothers who baked at church events, even working her pastry creations into school projects.  By high school, she knew she wanted a career in the pastry arts, not necessarily as a chef, but rather as a business owner, so she would have the ability to “turn my dreams into reality.”
This dream was put on hold for a while, when, encouraged by her parents to pursue something more “practical,” she earned a degree in Psychology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Upon graduation, however, it wasn’t long before the kitchen called her once again when Sophie quickly landed a job as a pastry cook at a restaurant in her hometown of Detroit. At last, she got the chance to turn out desserts on a daily basis, a job she not only loved, but one that convinced her and her family once and for all that her true calling was indeed in the pastry arts.
Going to the French Pastry School in Chicago was the next logical step– the school had a reputation as the premier French Pastry school in the Midwest and Sophie only wanted to learn from the best. Awarded a scholarship from the For the Love of Chocolate Foundation,, Sophie began the formal part of her pastry arts education.
Still, owning Vanille Patisserie was not in the cards just quite yet. First, Sophie worked a few more years in the field, rounding out her classical culinary education with stints in the production and R&D side of the confectionary business.  While making pastries by machine was not the path she intended to pursue, getting a glimpse of high production techniques laid a strong foundation for future business ventures. Sophie also spent time working in online marketing and merchandising for a gourmet food and pastry shopping site, gaining valuable experience for the type business she knew she would eventually own.
During the time she was rounding out the business side of her pastry education, Sophie was continually on the lookout for the right business opportunity, never feeling quite right about any of them until one day she discovered that Vanille Patisserie was suddenly on the market. “I trusted my gut” said Sophie, and in her heart she’d knew she’d found the right opportunity.
Since buying Vanille, business was been “exploding.” Finally given an outlet to pursue business ventures in the pastry arts, Sophie has dreams far beyond merely operating a French Patisserie. “I want educate people about what French pastry is really all about. Our commitment to handcrafted pastries, using classical French techniques handed down from mentor to student throughout the generations is something I feel we at Vanille are really in a unique position to deliver. Everyone in our kitchen was trained and continues to be trained directly from a true master of the French pastry arts. We don’t have to explain the power of our brand – people can see it just by looking at the beauty of our products and the strong reputation for quality Vanille has built throughout its ten years in Chicago that only continues to expand.”
Whether through the online store, its retail stores, or distribution in the finest hotels, restaurants and upscale grocers, Sophie intends to drive the growth of French Pastry Arts in Chicago and well beyond. “I’m not driven by financial reasons as much for the realization of dreams – not just mine, but those of my team, our customers, and someday children, who I want to inspire to grow to love baking as much as I do.