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February 2013 Posts


A Day in My Shoes
Blog Entry

Episode 1, Part 1 - A Day in My Shoes

Monday, February 4th 2013 @ 12:00 AM

A Day in My Shoes – Day One – Serving with Sylvia – January 19, 2013 - EPISODE 1, PART 1

Welcome to A Day in My Shoes – a blog and sometimes vlog as The Tea House Times publisher, Gail Gastelu, puts herself in another person’s shoes for the day – going behind the scenes in the tea industry!  If you are just joining us, go to the Archived entries in the left column to catch up - beginning with January 2013.


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EPISODE 1, PART 1 - (arrive for tea party prep by 10 am - party 11-2)

Hello everyone, Gail here….Thanks for joining me for A Day in My Shoes….On Day One, January 19, 2013, I arranged to shadow Sylvia, a server at High SocieTea House in Wayne, NJ.  When I inquired as to the dress code for spending a day in Sylvia’s shoes, I was told to wear black and white (easy! Most of my wardrobe is black and white!), to tie my hair back (a low ponytail would be fine), and wear comfortable flat shoes or sneakers.  You may have noticed this in the video clip posted in the Preview (click here if you missed it.)  Let me tell you, sneakers were the right choice! I was happy to see all the waitresses were wearing black pants and sneakers just like me!


A quick side note about video:  First of all, it is astonishing how many people are already following and sharing about A Day in My Shoes.  And I must -Thank you- for the kind and encouraging feedback.  Upon posting the Preview video clip for day one, I have already received a lot of requests to show more video.


I must tell you this puts me well beyond my comfort zone, but I will try to provide more of a Vlog for you as we move beyond this first private party. Remember, this is not about me; it is about sharing more behind the scenes with others in the tea industry so that we may all learn more….but I will try to keep it fun and respond to requests as much as possible.


This first experience was a private bridal shower tea party so we did not take video or photos while the party was in session.  Bernadette (owner of High SocieTea) felt that serving at a tea party would be the best way for me to get acclimated.  She said that she normally puts new waitresses on a tea party to start. The reason? Well, the food is the same for each guest. Each table is served the same food. Four teas were also chosen ahead of time by the customer, and so it would hopefully be a no brainer for me.

Sylvia (l), Gail (r)

Well!  I was asked to arrive one hour before the party to assist with preparations and get a little run down of duties with Sylvia.  I am sure the rest of the team arrived at least two hours earlier.  When I arrived, I put on my apron and stuck to Sylvia like glue as she showed me around, where and how the tea is prepared, where to get extra tea….  She led me into the dining room to adjust chairs and place settings since they had just finished vacuuming and some things had become a little jostled.  She explained to me how each place setting is arranged and later after the party I helped reset the tables for the next party (which I did not stay for Embarassed– I went home to collapse!).



One interesting thing is that they place the teacup upside down upon the saucer so that the guest CAN see the bottom!  Ha, I think it was actually a cool idea.  I know it is a faux pas to look under one’s cup, so this way, you are not tempted to do anything wrong, you simply cannot help it as you have a quick peak and then turn over your own cup in preparation for the waitress to serve you tea!


Gosh, there is so much to tell you. From this one day alone, I could probably write for the entire year, I have already come up with new product ideas for tea rooms, and could write a book later on the do’s and don’ts or other helpful advice for tea room owners….but this blog will concentrate on the experience and just by following along, I am sure you will think up fresh ideas for your own tea business or personal tea experiences. 


So, after being taught how they set their tables and how to properly pour the tea without spilling or burning anyone! – I was taken into the kitchen for a look around while Sylvia prepped the D/W station since the dishwasher would not be arriving until later.  As she continued to prepare for the dishwasher, I begged the kitchen staff to put me to work.  So, I got to prepare the plate garnishes for 37 guests.  That was fun. All I needed to do was place a lettuce leaf, paper doily, and pretty flower upon each plate.  What for? Well, at this particular party, in addition to normal afternoon tea finger sandwiches, scones and sweets, the food to be served -on that pretty plate- included a slice of quiche, and a small bowl of soup.  The quiche went on the lettuce and the soup over the doily. Woo hoo! that was fun.




I am trying to keep each blog to a maximum of 5-10 minutes, so I will continue on with more party details next week….stay tuned.

(yes there was an audio BLOOPER !  I think you can only stand 5-10 minutes per week, so that is the extent of each episode. If you have the patience for something longer, email some feedback.  But, we are told most VLOGS are a maximum of 5-10 minutes!)



DATES for High SocieTea, Wayne, NJ when Gail can serve you!
Sun. Feb. 10, 11-2 (leaving AT 2!)
Thurs. Feb 21, 4-6 (leaving AT 6!)
Sun. Feb. 24, 11-2 (leaving AT 2!)
Call High SocieTea-reservations required: 973-696-8327
Location: 20 Old Newark Pompton Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470 (


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