Showing posts with label Gloria Smith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gloria Smith. Show all posts

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dilmah USA-El Conquistador Resort-Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, Land of Enchantment.  Christopher Columbus found this island on his second voyage and named it San Juan after John the Baptist. Became a post for the Spanish and Europeans to make their stops before going to Mexico, Cuba and Central America. Puerto Rico now a US Commonwealth since 1952.  A tropical island with surrounding islands, British and US Virgin Islands and the Dominic Republic that would include them as part of the Greater Antilles. 
My first view of El Conquistador. Golf Course in view.
Red flower Flamboyon Tree
A 50 minute drive I was able to enjoy the view. Inquiring about all the variations of trees.  I learned to recognize the Almond tree, Flamboyon tree that came in blue, red, green and white, the Coco tree, the  Ceiba tree, Banana and Mango trees.  The natural dense tropical foliage is always so beautiful to me.  I am not a green thumb but appreciating the trees, flowers and plants fascinate me.  A tree on a island will only be a house plant in Arizona maybe that's where I get my awe. 
Coming around the bend looking up to see the chosen red flower Flamboyon tree that laced the El Conquistador Resort with the golf course welcomed you to its beautiful premises it was much more than what I anticipated.
   El Conquistador a Waldorf Astoria Resort part of the LXR Resort & Hotel Collection where Praful Mehta and I met to set out to educate, share about its teas personality and how indeed Dilmah Tea can make its mark.  Since I had not been to Puerto Rico before I had a chance to do some exploring and take in all that was all around me.  El Conquistador is a destination unique in its surroundings 300 feet above the beach shore on the edge of a cliff and below the hotel's marina.  Guests use the glass window cable cars to go to and fro from the marina and take in all the fabulous views of the ocean.  Las Casita Village a colorful Spanish inspired stucco exterior made a break in the hotels landscape.  Golf, Golden Door Spa, an array of Restaurants, shops, boutique's, ice cream :-), a Casino, Coqui Water Park, Palomino Island and swimming/volleyball pools.

One of the highlights for me was dinner with Gamal El Fakih Rodriguez, Praful Mehta, Dermot Connolly and Doug Zeif, Sr. VP, F &B at LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels.
Praful Mehta, Gloria Smith, Dermot Connolly and Doug Zeif
Doug Zeif's name has swirled around me a few times so meeting him was very exciting for me. In life we hear "I met your twin" maybe referring to your appearance, disposition or personality.  Well, I have a dear friend that is Doug Zeif's twin so to hear him speak I could almost predict his train of thought.   Doug is a great story teller, of course they are all true.  Yes, I stood right there when he told his stories in Sri Lanka thousands of miles away I just seem to transcend like I was a spectator present. Vivid, adventurous and ready to interact with every scenario that presented it self with a little a bit of trouble shooting.  I enjoyed his blogs that are readily listed below. Doug and Jacob's adventures and MJF blogs covering their visit are both available.  I invite you to read them.  The door is always open to visit the MJF Charitable Foundation.  A once of a lifetime opportunity to see Dilmah's Truly Ethical Tea making the difference.  Business is a matter service will mean something first hand.
Volunteer to Help
 Doug commented that their trip to Sri Lanka through the MJF Charitable Foundation was a life changing experience. I believe it was. 
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Doug Zeif's Blogs

 MJF's Blogs covering Doug and Jacob visit with Dilmah
                                                                                        Doug and Jacob visits deprived Monaragala
My room had an ocean view with one island straight out my Arcadia door.  Palomino Island.   El Conquistador's private island with horseback riding, water sports and a beach!  At twilight the Coqui frog begun their unique croak. I did not recognize the croak as a frog till Praful named the sound.  Thus El Conquistador has on the premises Coqui Water Park how appropriate the sound of children squealing, yelling, laughing and maybe some croaking.

 Gamal El Fakih- Director of Food & Beverage had a team of managers and staff from each establishment. Las Brisas Restaurant, banquets,  Las Casitas Café, Strip House Restaurant and the Golden Door Spa attended the Dilmah Tea presentation. Each location had a series of Dilmah Teas to represent. Las Brisas represented the Dilmah Gourmet series, Casitas Café Dilmah- t-series sachets,  Strip House- Dilmah t-series sachets and Golden Door Spa represented the Dilmah t-series loose leaf.
Golden Door Spa will be venturing out in tea gastronomy and a hopeful Dilmah Tea Sommelier will represent the Strip House and attend the Dilmah School of Tea.

 No doubt about it Puerto Rico is a coffee drinking nation.   As an Arizonan it was interpretation of a show down.  Praful opened up the presentation to two sessions of Dilmah pupils. I have to say I really enjoyed Praful teaching and watching the group learning the world of tea. Breaking out the tea was a door opening to talk about the tea one on one.  As the conversation opened casually many caught on that Dilmah Tea represented as a pure single origin Ceylon tea, an ethical tea and that it is real tea is vital in telling the story of tea. The group comprehended the importance in proper preparation and spring or filtered water, consumers are drinking tea more for the health benefits, caffeine differentiation between tea and coffee and tea has properties that calms the nerves, rejuvenates and refreshes.  Romancing of the Tea or Taking Tea was also new to many of the group.  Exploring the many ways that tea is presented was a discovery.

How can I say this without sounding cheesy. Gamal's judgement and direction was very important to the management and staff. With that said I commend Gamal and Doug that their leadership has a lot to be said.

I find myself very easily returning to El Conquistador as a guest.  An early morning back at Las Casitas Café drinking Dilmah's Brilliant Breakfast talking with the ladies that served me so nicely.  Thank you El Conquistador for your wonderful hospitality. 


El Conquistador's Cruiser to Palomino Island

t-wall in the Golden Door Spa

First Session
Second Session
Gloria Smith and Gamal El Fakih Rodriguez- Director F&B


Friday, June 22, 2012

Dilmah USA-Fancy Food Show DC

  Dilmah Tea entered the 58th Annual Fancy Food Show.  A milestone for NASFTCelebrating 60 years of retailers, distributors, restauranteurs, artisans, importers and those who connect to the food industry. It was in 1951 that the initial meetings of NASFT and came into full fruition in 1952 in New York City at Hotel Astor's ballroom inTimes Square. Jacob Javitz Convention Center is the permanent location. This year it was showcased in Washington DC with 180,000 foods and beverages that represent the best in new flavors, ideas, trends and innovations. Over 80 countries were represented.
Anticipation of a successful event was expected and a successful event it was.  Dilmah USA consisted of Praful Mehta, President of Unity Brands Group, Dilmah USA, Varsha Mehta, Director of Unity Brands Group, Renise Lereche, Development Business Management of Unity Brands and Gloria Smith, Dilmah Evangelist.
    As consumers, retailers, restauranteurs, distributors, etc are becoming more knowledgeable about tea and its relation to the tea pickers, source of packaging, fair trade and sustainability and listen to the Dilmah story many comment that these are not just buzz words or new marketing tools but reiterate back that Dilmah Tea is truly an ethical tea company that goes beyond fair trade. It was great pleasure to share the Dilmah story with an enthusiastic listener that identified there was substance and community behind Dilmah Tea and many there were.
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Praful Mehta and Renise Lereche had just returned from Sri Lanka in May from a Global Dilmah Partner Distributor Conference and Dilmah School of Tea. Visiting the MJF Charitable Foundation, a spectator at the MJF Trophy for Excellence; a game of cricket played by the blind and partially blind and reopening of the MJF Health Center at Somerset Estate, for the tea pickers and their families, gave them first hand experience what a purchased box of Dilmah Tea can significantly make a difference for the community. Dilmah Conservation brings expression through schools, partnering with the IUCN, uplifting indigenous peoples, sustainable crops in war torn lands and endangered species in the Sri Lankan landscape.  
Sharing the Dilmah story highlighting that business is a matter of human service captured the attendees heart that pulled them through the door to the world of Dilmah.   The World of Dilmah

A flux of attendees came flowing through the Dilmah booth. Neighboring booths commented on our crowds. Polish exhibitors came frequently for tea, the national number one tea in Poland. New business entrepreneurs complimented our helpfulness and information thoroughly to meet their individual needs. Thrown the question,"Why does not everyone know about Dilmah?" Impressed with our presence worldwide. Impressed with Dilmah's established events/competitions: The Culinaire, The Sommelier, Chefs and the Teamaker, The Real High Tea, Sri Lanka Bocuse d'Or, Dilmah School of Tea,   In awe of the Watte series. Watte series showcasing the 4 elevations of Sri Lanka.  Character from each elevation.  The liquor, bouquet, and taste of each tea. The 'terroir' aspect of tea as in the terroir aspect of wine making the Watte series exclusive. A tea series to match the attendees prospects from The Exceptionals, boutique t-Series in sachet or whole leaf, foodservice, Chelsey Iced Tea, Fun Teas, Exotic Teas, Green Gourmet, Gourmet, Premium, Watte Region/Watte Single Estate. Appointments with procurement management, distributors, hotels, natural food grocery chain and retailers.  Appointments that would change the Dilmah map in the US.

Dilmah Tea handpicked, harvested and packaged at the source within days not blended with other origins. Makes it garden fresh and twice the antioxidants.

                                  The hmmm and the smile after their first sip. We did our job.