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INTERVIEW

Maitre d’ of tea, Jeffrey Hattrick Sommelier, Ritz-Carlton Phoenix

How did you fist become acquainted with the world of tea? I did not grow up sipping tea with my grandmother as many do. I only discovered the world of tea after arriving at The Ritz-Carlton in 1998. I found the service to be beautiful and civilized. I also like to do “fancy” things and there are few things fancier than afternoon tea. My boss, John Speers, came to me shortly after starting at the hotel and suggested that we create a role for me that I could make my own. Based on the uniform I knew that I would get to wear (a tailcoat and ascot) and the music I had heard from our resident pianist, Nicole Pesce, I decided that the Tea Room would be the place for me. That is when I began learning about the art of serving tea, the nuances associated with the preparation of the perfect tea, as well as gaining technical knowledge about tea varietals, flavors, etc. I feel very fortunate to have found this world of tea which so seamlessly overlaps with my lifestyle and who I am at my core. What was your background before your legendary arrival at the Ritz-Carlton? I grew up in the Pacific Northwest with my wonderful family (mom, dad, and three brothers). Professionally I worked in retail as a personal shopper at Nordstrom. I also let my passion for arts thrive as a dance

instructor/choreographer for a high school dance team. Customer service has always been at the center of my professional endeavors, layered with the critical element of creativity. It is no wonder I landed in the Tea Room at The Ritz-Carlton. Many consider you a local celebrity. How do you feel about that? I am truly honored that this community has welcomed me and given me “local celebrity” status. I never thought that the Tea Guy would receive such recognition. My friends and family think it’s funny when I get spotted out in public … often by little girls who come to the Teddy Bear Tea. It makes me smile when I am at a restaurant and hear from a neighboring table, “Is that Jeffrey?” I do appreciate knowing that I have made a lasting impression on people. You have the ability to change a person’s day. How do you make that happen? My greatest joy in the work that I do is knowing that I can change someone’s day for the better. I think it begins with a simple smile and the recognition that everyone is special. We all want to be pampered and doted on … that’s what I do. The mere occasion of Afternoon Tea sets the tone for a special experience. I simply expand on that to give a few extra small touches that people do not expect Do you often have to brush up on various new teas to the market? I work with an amazing tea company called Rishi. They are experts in the world of fine tea and they always keep me fueled with the latest and greatest blends in the world. We are all masters in a certain field. I don’t need to know everything; I just need to know the right people who can guide me to what I seek.

been professionally trained but have been singing all my life. My father is a professional square dance caller. He has been on stage since before I was born, and as soon as I could walk, I was on stage singing by his side. How instrumental are you in the selections of teas, sandwiches and desserts that have made your tea service incomparable? I am proud to say that I have full control over everything that has to do with the tea service. I have personally selected both porcelain patterns that we have used since my arrival in 1998. I handselect every tea that comes onto the menu. I participate in the creative process of the food. I then let the team of chefs work their magic to create the works of art for which they are known. Tell us something we don’t know about you? When I am not at the Ritz-Carlton, I am a health coach. I work with people to help them learn the fundamentals of eating right, losing weight and creating balance in their lives. I help them develop habits that allow them to re-orient their life in the direction of long-term health and well-being. What are your hobbies? I love being outside. My garden is a place of great peace and pride for me. I love to hike, play tennis, travel and dine. As I mentioned above, my greatest hobby is dreaming. I believe in creating a bright vibrant future … which always starts with a dream. This may sound like lyrics to a sappy song, but I truly love dreaming and them making dreams a reality … for me and those I care about.

You have a great voice. Were you ever professionally trained? Thank you for the kind compliment. I certainly love entertaining and love using my voice to make people smile. I have not

TRENDS MAGAZINE

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Profile for Trends Magazine

TrendsNovDec13  

Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Art, Fashion, Dining, Home, Heart Ball

TrendsNovDec13  

Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Art, Fashion, Dining, Home, Heart Ball

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