Food writer and tea specialist Kathy YL Chan was in town to join Michelle Karr-Ueoka in presenting a tea and dessert pairing event.
BY NADINE KAM
The art of tea is relatively new in the West and it’s only within the past two or three years that Asian-style tea shops began springing up around town. Even so, sipping on oolong, white, pu-erh and green teas continues to be a standalone experience as we get to know the flavors, chemistry and benefits of the teas.
We have yet to embrace the idea of tea sommeliers that exist in China. Here’s one of my earlier blog posts about such an experience: http://takeabite.staradvertiserblogs.com/2012/05/01/opening-the-senses-to-jin-xuans-tea-experience/
Kathy YL Chan is trying to change that. Born and raised in Hawaii, the tea connoisseur now lives in New York and travels the world as a tea consultant for restaurants and hotels, and as a writer and speaker focusing on teas. Somke of her clients include Lady M Confections, Eleven Madison Park, and The Peninsula Hotels.
The first pour of Mi Xiang oolong tea, which was a hit of the day.
Wine pairing with her desserts is nothing new to Michelle, but she said the event marked her first attempt at pairing teas, a ritual that will no doubt grow in popularity—like beer and sake pairings—as people become more familiar with the teas themselves.
Guests eyes, and palates, were opened as they bit into Michelle’s first offering of a Ka’u orange and tropical fruit “Pop Tart,” noting how it meshed with the creamy, honey notes of China’s Mi Xiang oolong.
Kathy said oolong is her favorite category of tea because it offers the biggest variety and most complexity.
She is currently consulting with a major restaurant set to open here next year.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.