We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Gadea and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The success behind my business is my passion, drive and support that I have received from my family. Service and quality is my number one priority along with a sense of community. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for over a decade, which has allowed me the ability to build relationships with many people who have successfully owned their own business. I have taken everything that I have learned over the years from my mentors about service, quality, customer engagement, trust, honesty and food done right to create my brand. My experience and everyone’s support has been tremendously helpful in guiding me through this process.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My professional path has taken many turns along the way. I knew that I have always wanted to help others in some way or another. I started on that path by graduating with my bachelors degree in psychology from Arizona State University. From there I worked with children in the behavioral health foster care system, were I was challenged each and everyday working alongside children and families. I then made my way back to my second passion of creating and cooking, I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with my associates degree in patisserie and baking . I honed my culinary skills at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, while at the Four Seasons I had the pleasure of lending a hand at the Disney Orlando property and Surf Club property in Miami. Then moved to become the pastry chef of Scottsdale National Golf Club in Scottsdale. I started my own business Tia Maria’s Bakery in 2020 continuing to grow personally and professionally.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For hiking I would take them to Sedona since it’s beautiful over here and who doesn’t like to see the red rocks. Buddha beach, beaver creek and devils bridge are some of my top choices. If we are lucky enough to get a spot for Antelope Canyon it is completely worth the drive to also see Horseshoe Bend. The natural beauty that makes up Arizona can not be beat. After Sedona I would drive through Flagstaff or Jerome see the local shops and grab a bite to eat from a local place. Here in the valley thunderbird mountain is always a nice hike with three different mountains in one place. As far as food hands down we have to stop at Little Miss BBQ, Barrio Cafe, Picos and The Hudson Tempe and we can’t forget a local farmers market just to the name a few. Depending on the season we would catch a game of some sort, being so close to all the stadiums compared to other states people should take advantage of all the sports in the state. In the west valley I think Westgate is always a go to since the surrounding area is growing so much.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out my team my mom Maritza Espinoza, Mirna Gadea and family. This group of ladies have supported me and continue to stand by me at every farmers market, all the long nights of packaging and planning. The very talented owner of In The Streets Tattoo, artist by the name El Whyner who designed my business logo. Rudy Allen owner of 2Lefties Bakery who has been my bread mentor for over a decade. Susan Kolman owner of Artfulsweetsaz.com who has helped me over the years both personally and professionally. Guillermo Magana owner of Bored Baker Pizza Maker we have worked together for over a decade and he has always been someone that I could call on for advise. Janell Panicko owner of Jordan’s Corner who believes in my business to make me a preferred cake vendor for her events. Lorraine Lopez owner of The Craft Co by Lo, this incredibly talented owner hand crafts all my business addons from cups to holiday items and everything in between. Chef Mel Mecinas who has guided me for over a decade in my career, he has always pushed my limits and always pushed me to be a better chef each and everyday. His favorite quote to tell me was “sencillo mija, it’s just food”
Facebook: Tia Maria’s Bakery