Cynthia Gold, Tea Sommelier at L'Espalier, discovered her true passion for tea after taking enlightening excursions into the tea fields of China and Sri Lanka, where she uncovered the pure beauty of tea culture. Although many cultures in the East have seen examples of cooking with tea, Cynthia is one of only a handful to have brought, what she calls, "a culinary approach to tea," to the United States.
Cynthia feels that tea culture is the antithesis of the coffee culture, which through her eyes represents the culture of hurry and haste. She says that her profession and interest in tea is "a needed niche in this world" because it connects people to one another. "In our culture, fine teas permit people to take a little bit of time," says Gold, "- to spend time with close friends and family, and having time to one's self." As one of only a handful of Tea Sommeliers in the world, Cynthia serves as an inspiration for the culinary team at L'Espalier.
Over a decade ago, Cynthia left the corporate world to pursue a career in the culinary arts. She began her education at Johnson & Wales University, where she graduated summa cum laude. She later attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and Napa Valley, California for advanced classes in pastry, chocolate and baking. With this culinary training, Cynthia has cooked at a multitude of Boston's finest restaurants including Marais, Biba, Pignoli, Rocco's and the Back Bay Brewing Company. Additionally, she has first-hand experience as the former owner of Tea Tray in the Sky and Elements Restaurants which received numerous accolades including "Boston's Best."
From poaching and pickling to brining and smoking, Cynthia is an expert in using numerous techniques to combine the flavors of teas and food to create appetizers, salads, main courses and desserts. She has also created a custom line of L'Espalier signature teas as well as a full line of tea cocktails. Cynthia has worked closely with the culinary team to create tea infused recipes which are showcased on the menu of sophisticated and modern New England-French cuisine. Additionally, she oversees the tea program which is a wonderfully creative yet traditional tea experience. Guests can choose from a variety of themes for a Fantasy Tea Party. The menu includes something to suit every taste with Little Red Riding Hood's Basket offering tea sandwiches, pastries and petit fours, the Three Blind Mice cheese tasting, or the The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg studded with caviar and champagne.
Cynthia's work has received multiple accolades including Santé Magazine's award for 'Culinary Innovation' and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Women Who Inspire 'Golden Goblet' Award for excellence in the beverage industry. She has been featured in Art Culinaire, Boston Magazine, Yankee Magazine, Fresh Magazine, Plate Magazine, Santé Magazine, Tea Magazine, Imbibe Magazine, Chronicle, The Washington Post, Improper Bostonian, and The Boston Phoenix among others as well as numerous publications overseas. She regularly enjoys teaching the concepts of culinary tea, including cooking with tea, pairing teas and foods and tea cocktails, to culinary students and professionals in the US, Asia and Europe. Her book, 'Culinary Tea' is currently available in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia and has received acclaim from both chefs and tea professionals alike.