Meet the Team

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Lysanne is our senior manager and pastry chef, and the mastermind behind all of the amazing treats at the Secret Garden! You might not have met her, but she is always behind the scenes working hard to delight guests with each High Tea we serve. We’re so grateful for Lysanne’s talent, passion and dedication! Here is a short Q&A with Lysanne:

Q: How long have you been working at Secret Garden?

A: I’ve been at The Garden for 14 years now! The trend in the industry is NOT to be at one place for more than a year or two because most kitchen environments are very harsh. Obviously this is not the case here; Kathy and Erin are a special breed. They both have been in terrible kitchen environments just like me and they have vowed NOT to let this happen at the Garden. Their values (respect, growth, encouragement, and care) are what makes the Secret Garden what it is today and is the reason the kitchen staff usually stays for a very long time.

Q: What is your favourite thing about The Garden over the holidays?

A: This time of year can be intense and  stressful in this industry. But I do like the look of the Garden once Erin has put up the store Christmas decorations.

Q: What is your favourite tea?

A: I am a Creamy Earl Grey drinker!

Q: What is your favourite Secret Garden treat? 

A: I think our Raspberry Bar is one of the best things we have. It is incredibly simple but its old time simplicity is the perfect combination of sugar, fruit and nostalgia. It literally melts in your mouth.

Q: What’s one thing you’d like our guests to know about your team in the kitchen? 

A: The kitchen team is very special. It is a group of people from all walks of life with a wide age range. Some have been here for as long as I have and some are fairly new. What brings us all together is the fact that this is a very good place to work where people are treated with respect and encouraged to grow. We care about each other and our work. Even though no one is perfect and mistakes do happen, we always try our best.

If you’re interested in joining the Secret Garden team, click here to apply.


Friends of the Garden

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Sara Fudjack is a PhD student at UBC. She wanted to promote addition recovery on campus, so she created this red tea cart to help spread the word! Secret Garden provides the tea, and Sara provides valuable resources and a listening ear. We’re grateful we can support Sara in what she’s doing!

Friends of the Garden: 13 Years and Counting!

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Ivania Gozzola and her daughters and daughter-in-law Tina Benedet, Tami Comuzzi and Ida Gozzola started coming to The Secret Garden over 13 years ago. Ida first found the place and went in for lunch. She told the women in her family about it and Ivania suggested they all go back for high tea and since that first year they have come back every August.

“This became our regular once a year birthday party to celebrate us as moms,” said Tina. “Throughout the years we’ve never ever missed a year.” There was something about stopping to reconnect for an afternoon as mothers without someone yelling ‘Mom’ every couple of minutes that became special for them. “We could talk!”

When their babies were really little they would bring them in a car seat or stroller, but now, “We don’t ever bring our girls or our boys; this is just our quiet time for ourselves,” said Tina. At the end of each tea they will each pick out a “loot bag” of tea to bring home with them. Creamy Earl Grey is a family favourite. As far as the treats? “We covet the lemon tarts and anything chocolate,” said Tina.

Pressed for a favourite tea memory in all those 13 years, Tina said, “Probably the very first one was when we first discovered [the Secret Garden]. It was so little and so quaint that we weren’t expecting anything.” After each August tea the women will pop into the local shops in Kerrisdale. “We’ve made that a beautiful tradition for the four of us and we hope our daughters do it when they grow up. They’re very close.”


Meet the Team: Ada Slivinski

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ada slivinski jam pr

Ada Slivinski manages PR, social media and special events for the Garden! She was a regular customer before joining us in 2016. Her talented team at Jam PR includes photographer Juli Talerico, who takes all of our gorgeous High Tea photos, and Alex Estanislao, who manages social media. We couldn’t do all of this without them!



Meet the Team

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Tiffany Picard, marketing consultant

Tiffany Picard has been managing the Secret Garden website and newsletter since 2014. Over the years our newsletter community has grown to nearly 12,000 readers. We love being able to keep in touch and share a little of the Secret Garden spirit with each of you!



Friends of the Garden

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Recently Janet Meares celebrated her 75th birthday in her happy place, The Secret Garden! Janet was one of the Garden’s very first customers over 20 years ago, and her grandson used to play baseball with Kathy’s son. Thank you Janet for all the happy memories at the Garden!



Friends of the Garden

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Shirley Smith and Kathy Wyder

Shirley Smith is a long-time friend of the Secret Garden. She is very skilled at sewing, fixing pillows at our old shop and making a green stuffed kitty cat that kids have enjoyed at the Garden for over 20 years!

You can still admire Shirley’s work at our store. Her kitty tea cozy and three plush cats watch over our shop every day!

Cat Tea Cozy at The Secret Garden

Kitty Cat Stuffed Animals at The Secret Garden Tea Company


Visit The Secret Garden Tea Company