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Catherine

Catherine, a veteran of the hospitality industry, began her career after graduating from Toronto's Bartending School. Catherine began as a part time bar tender at Raclette Restaurant and Wine Bar in Toronto, tended bar, served tables and rose to the position of General Manager. During her tenure at Raclette the restaurant received the "Wine Spectator Award of Excellence". Catherine held a variety of service and management positions at many of Toronto's leading restaurants, including Loons and Spiaggia in the Beach, Marcel's Bistro, The Continental Dining Room at The Prince Hotel, Hemispheres at the Metropolitan Hotel and the McGill Club.

It was when Catherine accepted the position as Director of Food & Beverage at the newly renovated Windsor Arms Hotel that her fascination with tea began to unfold.

With Miriam Novalle, world famous tea guru and owner of The T Salon & Tea Emporium in New York City as the hotels advisor, Catherine worked with Miriam to oversee the re-creation of the tea and food menus for “The Tea Room”, the purchase of its elegant tea service and room design, to recreate the experience of tea at “The Tea Room at the Windsor Arms”.

Catherine left the Windsor Arms to open "The Tea Leaf" in the Beach in 2002. The Tea Leaf continued to grow. A second store was opened in Bayview Village in Toronto in 2006. A third store was opened in Leslieville in Toronto in 2010.

While working at the Windsor Arms and studying to become a wine sommelier, Catherine developed a better understanding of the similarities between tea and wine. As no formal tea education programs were available to her, she embarked on her journey of personal self development and training in all matters concerning tea. Catherine traveled Canada from coast to coast, throughout the USA and to the Far East including Japan, China, India and Nepal, to satisfy her ever increasing curiosity about tea.

Said to be one of the most knowledgeable tea specialists in Canada by many in the industry and frustrated by the lack of formal tea training opportunities, in 2005 Catherine brought together an international team of tea and education specialists to build an online tea education program. The program offered a comprehensive, professional and exciting experience and allowed her students from all over the world to join her in learning more about the wonderful world of tea.

Working as a consultant for David Bellisario, owner of Key Man Engravable, Catherine was instrumental in helping David open his first “TeaOpia” shop in Mississauga. Providing direction on assortment planning, product acquisition and staff training, Catherine made a significant contribution to the successful opening of the first TeaOpia store.

Interested in further expansion of The Tea Leaf, in 2007 Catherine agreed to a request from Longo’s to enter into a Vender Partnership Agreement between Longo Brothers Fruit Markets and The Tea Leaf. The agreement involved assortment planning, staff training and inventory management for 8 stores within Longo’s retail operation.

With the renewal of retail location leases coming in 2011, Catherine made the difficult decision to close the retail locations in 2011 and focus her attention on the wholesale and online business’s. 

This decision was part of a larger plan to create a corporation with a focus on Tea, Food, Wine and Travel.

Once the retail stores were closed in the fall of 2011 Catherine, after a year off to travel, registered in the Travel and Tourism program at Humber College in Toronto. She graduated with Honours in June of 2014. Catherine received her TICO certification in July of 2014.

After being certified as an instructor with The Canada Ski Instructor Alliance, the Canadian Ski Patrol and a certified Can-Bike instructor, Catherine has received her certification as a Red Cross Instructor and a Teaching Experience Supervisor.

Having prepared herself as a sport travel specialist Catherine has joined with her partner to manage TeaLogics International Inc. and Serenitea Tours. The companies were incorporated in 2010.