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March 2013 Posts


A Day in My Shoes
Blog Entry

Episode 3, Part 1 - A Day in My Shoes - Preparing to Serve with Gabriella at High SocieTea House

Monday, March 11th 2013 @ 12:00 AM

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A Day in My Shoes – Preparing to Serve with Gabriella at High SocieTea House, Wayne, NJ – February 10, 2013

Gail needs lots of thumbs up and shares on this one! Rough day. This entry goes from video to audio and back to video...watch to the end...

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.  OR Click HERE for a complete listing/directory of entries and topics.



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Preparing to Serve with Gabriella at High SocieTea House, Wayne, NJ

So, let’s talk tea room reality. 


All days at High SocieTea are split into two shifts: 11-2 and 3-6  This enables the tea room to take staggered reservations throughout the day, or host a party in the morning or afternoon or both.  Some servers will work the entire day if they have that kind of energy, others will be assigned one shift.  Either way, servers arrive early before their shift to assist in prepping lemon curd, clotted cream, or anything else the kitchen staff may need assistance with.  The later shift stays and re-sets the dining room for the next day.  Of course the tables have already been planned and mapped out by the hostess who has been busy taking reservations, rescheduling reservations, calling people back and so on.  Whatever the plan is for the next day, be it a party or reservations, the room is set for the first go around with appropriate numbers of place settings at each assigned table.


When I arrived at 9:30 in the morning to assist with preparations, the reality of things not always being exactly perfect had already started.  The electric knife used to cut finger sandwiches pooped out and the “extra” one had already been used and not yet replaced.  So, guess where Bernadette was headed – out to the store for another electric knife. 


So my little surprise of an orchid for Bernadette went waiting for her return. I think it may have been a bright and sunny surprise for a bit of a hectic morning. 


I set off to wash up, put on my apron, and help in the kitchen.  I got to cut brownies and blondies into bite size pieces.  …It is interesting how they prepare for this – on baking day they pre-bake sheets of desserts, cut into manageable chunks and freeze for just a short time so that they will keep a couple days.  They are then defrosted overnight in the refrigerator.  When prep time arrives, the pieces are then cut up to ready for the day. 


I was given a tidy package of brownies set atop of a storage container – I was taught how to cut them and how to prepare the stash for the day.  So I cut up this tidy little pack and quickly announced, I’m done!  Ha Ha Ha!  I quickly learned that I WAS NOT DONE!  In that other storage container was a whole slew of additional packages of brownies waiting to be cut.  What was I thinking?  They were about to serve 100 guests!  Now I had to kick it into high gear and get them cut up.  AND get the next set of blondies cut up as well.  


While I was cutting brownies and blondies, Gabriella arrived, we met and then she went to work preparing individual servings of clotted cream and lemon curd to then be placed in the refrigerator – quick and easy to grab as each table is being served. 


After assisting with preparations, Bernadette and Gabriella sent me off to get a “book” that is what they call the soft cover book that holds order tickets for the server to carry.  Next I was sent to ask the cook for the menu so I might prepare a little cheat sheet of menu choices and specials and a featured tea list – this gets clipped inside the book.


Next, I asked about table numbers. I wanted to be better prepared this time around.  The set-up of the room changes frequently depending on table size needed. Sometimes tables are pushed together and the room is slightly off from the table chart. However, I quickly figured out the lay of the land as the numbers were in order left to right starting at the back of the room.  Easy to figure out even if tables are moved.


So….that’s all I will tell you for today. Trying to keep these posts from 5-10 minutes maximum.  I can tell you serving reservations was much harder than serving at a party and it was a bit too much for me.  I agreed with everyone that I looked like a deer in headlights!  I will share more with you next week and show a little clip of me serving my family later on in two weeks. 


Coming up next – Episode 3, Part 2-more serving with Gabriella, Part 3-serving my family! at High SocieTea House, Wayne, NJ

Coming soon, shopping for the High SocieTea gift shop with owner, Bernadette Solari.

After that – we are mixing it up with some great tea execs! and will move on to other types of tea businesses.

Stay tuned!


If you would like to visit High SocieTea House yourself,
Call High SocieTea-reservations required: 973-696-8327
Location: 20 Old Newark Pompton Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470 (highsocieteanj.com)


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