Patisserie Valerie all started with Theophile Vermeirsch (Theo) who was born in Antwerp in 1898. He first came to London with his family as refugees from Belgium in the First World War. During this time, he worked as a pastry chef.
The family returned to Belgium some time in 1918 and in 1922 he married Esther Van Gyseghem, born in 1900 in Oostende. Together they returned to London and opened a Belgian patisserie in 1926 on the corner of Dean Street and Old Compton Street in London’s Soho and called it "Patisserie Valerie”.