It was a chilly fall day in the 1990s in Edmonton when a group of my friends gathered to indulge our foodie nature in some wonderful eats. The restaurant was known for its succulent cuts of local Angus beef, aged to perfection and served up to your exact specification. We had duly filled ourselves and now our tummies were in need of some calming tea.
There were three options – orange pekoe, peppermint, and chamomile. I could see them sitting over by the coffee station in three wicker baskets. White flimsy tea bags – most likely stale beyond belief. When one of my mates inquired as to which had no caffeine, the server was at a loss for an answer.
The tea arrived at our table a few minutes later. The water, which was in one of those flip-lid drippy tin pots that were (and unfortunately still are) the norm in restaurant tea service, had white foam on top – a tell-tale sign that it came from the red lever found on the front of the Bunn coffee machine. I won’t go into detail about how lousy this water is for making tea – one sip of the acrid brew will tell all.
I mentioned in a previous post how this single event catalyzed my desire to do something about the murky quality of tea service in the food and beverage industry. This is a classic situation in which a little knowledge can go a long way. How can a chef at a 5-star restaurant put so much effort into an excellent food offering, yet completely and utterly disregard the finishing touch to any meal – a simple cup of tea?
1. They do not receive any tea training while completing their chef designation.
2. There are very few people knocking on their doors offering them a premium tea service for their establishments.
With this in mind, I decided to create a series of training videos that chefs, restaurateurs, and managers could use to train their staff. Give them simple, concise, and factual information and maybe, just maybe, the tea service in their dining establishments would improve over time. I know this is somewhat self-serving, but I love tea – particularly after a great meal. I want to see restaurants ratchet up their tea service at least a dozen notches or so.
I have banked much time and money creating this video series that provides the information free of charge. It would be sad not to see it utilized.
All I ask is that you pass the series on to anyone in the restaurant and café business that may need a little help and information about tea and how to improve it.
I have to fess up as well and tell you that I think one of the reasons I was put on this planet was to help reverse the trend on overpackaging everything. Seeing as I have chosen tea as my vocation, my target is the lowly, dreaded teabag. I make no apologies.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my gracious hosts for the use of their wonderful teashop in Toronto – Michael and Laura at Tealish Tea Boutique. They have a great store – drop in and say hello if you ever get to Canada’s largest city.
So let the videos begin.