T.E.A.C.H. Tea Education Advisory Committee on Hospitality
As World Tea Expo continues to evolve to meet the tea industry's growth expectations, we have formed this group to enhance the education of our community. The goal is to elevate the standing of finer, specialty teas within the ever-important culinary and beverage sectors; restaurants, hospitality and similar channels. Tea service is where wine was many years ago in these myriad points of distribution; enjoyed, but service overall under-par and underperforming. We seek to expedite and raise tea's status and journey in this vitally important foodservice marketplace.
The Tea Education Advisory Committee for Hospitality (T.E.A.C.H.) is dedicated to building more content and resources at WTE that will support this objective. This has created a strategy and action plan – speakers, events, media and networking - to incorporate high-end specialty tea into these sectors through the creation of a full track exclusively focused on Culinary, Foodservice and Hospitality.
Our members include the following distinguished advisors:
A.J. Singh (Ph.D.)
A.J. Singh is the Professor of International Lodging, Finance and Real Estate Finance in The School of Hospitality Business. He has co-authored four textbooks, on International Hotel Management (2008) and Hospitality Asset Management (2009, 2015), and Best Practices in Sustainable Hotel Development and Operations was published in March, 2011. Dr. Singh was jointly responsible for the establishment of The Hospitality Business Real Estate Investment Management Minor in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. He currently teaches the Hospitality Business Real Estate, International Lodging Development and Management and Financial Management courses at The School. He is an active member of HAMA (Hospitality Asset Managers Association) CHRIE (Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education) and AHFME (Association of Hospitality Financial Management Educators) ISHC (International Society of Hospitality Consultants) and ULI (Urban Land Institute). Dr. Singh works closely with the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at Michigan State University. Dr. Singh's has over 15 years of hospitality business experience in various management positions in the USA and India. He has worked for Oberoi Hotels, Stouffer Hotels, Hyatt Hotels and Laventhol & Horwath. Currently: He is launching a new program in Hospitality and Tourism Management at UT-RGV and will most certainly be including beverage appreciation and related interaction with folks in the Specialty tea industry.
Mary C. Greengo is the founder and President of Queen Mary Inc. While growing up, she always enjoyed a cup of tea while baking in the comfort of the kitchen with her mom. Mary knew at a very young age that she wanted to be in charge and work for herself. A love of tea and a desire for independence created the blueprint for Queen Mary Inc. that encompasses the world famous Queen Mary Tea Room & Restaurant, a signature line of branded loose-leaf teas sold at her own retail store and a flourishing online business. Additionally Mary has developed a robust and burgeoning direct selling business through independent tea consultants that are sharing the Queen Mary brand all across the country.
I am born and raised in New York. I received a business degree from Boston University and worked at several corporate hotels and restaurants while there. I then furthered my studies at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) where I received a degree in Culinary Arts. Thereafter, I became involved with several specialty food-related businesses and restaurants as an investor, chef, board member, and/or operator. In 2018, with over two decades of culinary, operating, management and ownership experience in the restaurant/food & beverage industry I moved into the role of majority partner at SerendipiTea with an eye on the future. Noting that the Specialty Tea and the Organic industries are rapidly expanding I, while remaining true to the company's founding mission, am steering SerendipiTea toward expansion and wider growth as it nears its 25-year anniversary.
As co-owner of The Cultured Cup, a 23-year old tea and coffee business, Stewart was the first Texan to achieve the title of Certified Tea Specialist (CTS). He's served as an Advisory Board member for the Specialty Tea Institute (STI) and is a Mentor for the STI Certification Program. Kyle is a frequent speaker at the Crow Museum of Asian Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, SMU, and in 2012, he gave a TEDxSMU talk about tea. In 2018, Stewart was nominated by World Tea Expo for Best Tea Educator.
Jhanne Jasmine is the former owner of The TeaZone and Camellia Lounge which opened in 1999 with the goal of creating the definitive American tea house. Located in Portland's downtown Pearl District, Tea Zone and Camellia Lounge featured over 120 loose leaf teas and introduced Portland's first tea lattes, bubble teas (and they were made with tea) and tea fruit smoothies. It was also home to the first tea cocktail lounge/music venue in the U.S. (Camellia Lounge, which opened in 2006), and featured over 45 unique cocktails made from spirits that were infused with tea, and featured live Jazz five nights a week. The extensive food menu included brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner and Holiday Afternoon High Teas. The business sold in 2014 and has since closed. She now works for Stash Tea Company as a Research and Development Specialist and Tea Program Educator.
Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace
Virginia is a physician, scientist, and award-winning educator, with a life-long fascination with the science behind our sensory perceptions. Through her research and teaching as faculty member in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University (one of the world's premier institutions for research on nutrition and eating behavior), she gained an appreciation of tea as the quintessential example of a complex and delicious beverage. Now retired, she focuses on helping others understand and use the science of sensory perception to develop their appreciation of tea and tea-food pairing, through WTE workshops, through assistance with the organoleptic experience of tea for World Tea Academy, and through her blog, http://virginiaspairteas.blogspot.com.
Edward is a 20-year veteran of the service industry working in smart casual and fine dining. He has spent the last 10 years of his career in the Hotel Industry at high-end well-being and pseudo eco-tourist destinations such as Travaasa Resort in Austin and Miraval Resorts in Arizona and Texas. Edward is a Certified Sommelier and has attended a number of STI certification courses which has served to satiate his passion for tea much as the Court of Master Sommeliers did for wine. "I am able to move between the tribes as Somms are fascinated with the genesis and complexity of tea. I personally see many similarities between tea and wine, especially Oolong."
Currently, Edward is the Beverage Director for Miraval Resorts Austin and has created a brand standard across Hyatt Miraval for Coffee and Tea incorporating quality and provenance. His reasoning is to abide an offering that entices patrons to move unabashedly between the leaf and bean.
Edward also owns a small import company called "Leaf, Vine & Bean" through which he deals in microlots of high-quality coffee and small parcels of tea from China, Taiwan and Japan. As an educator, he teaches coffee, tea, wine and spirits classes while hosting social events both at Miraval Resorts Austin and locally in Texas.
Edward's biggest concern in the industry, with respect to tea, is propaganda, throttled information and the lack of a unified quality standard. "This is where we are failing. There is very little confidence in what we do and the trust we have is on blind faith."
Edward has an undergrad in communications and is currently working on his MBA in Austin.
"My passion lies in understanding relationships in nature and their impact on one another."
"I am a student and teacher in kind."
Eve Hill-Agnus grew up in Paris, France and in California, both places where she has family roots. She attended Stanford University, where she studied English literature, Italian, and education. While teaching English and journalism, she wrote freelance for multiple publications in the realm of food, with a special love for craft and culture. Since 2014, Eve has been the dining critic for D Magazine, and her journalism has won awards from the Association of Food Journalists as well as the Folio Digital awards. She moved to Dallas in 2010, where she currently resides and sips tea.