Former Speaker Biographies
Kimiko Uriu, Certified Tea Specialist and Owner KIMICHA
Kimiko Uriu is the creator and founder of the Ottawa Tea Festival. She is a Certified Tea Specialist from the Specialty Tea Institute of New York. Kimiko is also the owner of Ottawa-based KIMICHA Tea, which is best known for its award-winning teas, specifically the 2011 North American Tea Championship black tea category winner, Jin Jun Mei.
Kimiko has worked in a leading Japanese tea company for several years, where she has been involved in each step of the tea production process - working in the tea field, factory production, tea ceremony, sales in Europe, and brand development. She has worked with chocolate, ice cream, yoghurt producers, and tea houses in Europe. She has also introduced Matcha as a food ingredient in Europe and has integrated it into recipes and food products.
Kimiko works closely with businesses in creating tailor-made solutions and tea programs to cater to different types of markets, whether it be food service or retail. She has also taught the Tea Sommelier course at the Algonquin College and continues to organise tea workshops and tea-tastings in the Ottawa area.
Louise Roberge, President of the Tea Association of Canada
Louise Roberge is the President of Tea Association of Canada and has been the guiding force for over 10 years. Louise Roberge has a Bachelor's Degree in Science from the University of Montreal and a Masters of Business (MBA) from Sherbrook University. Louise continues her efforts in the non profit realm and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), from the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
Kyoko Kosaki, Certified Omotesenke Seiha Chado Japanese Tea Ceremony Teacher
Kyoko Kosaki obtained her Teacher's Certificate of Omotesenke Seiha Chado (the Omotesenke seiha School of Japanese Tea Ceremony) after 12 years study in Japan before she came to Canada 1967. Since the late 1970's, she has offered demonstrations at Japanese Embassy events, for Canadian and international diplomatic officials and other organizations. During the 1980's she conducted chado group lessons at community centres around the National Capital Region. She now instructs Omotesenke Seiha Chado classes at her chashitsu (a special tea room) in her home.
Kyoko Tsunetomi, Practicing Chado for over 10 years
Kyoko Tsunetomi has been practicing chado for over ten years with Mrs. Kosaki. She has extensive experience in demonstrating chado in the Ottawa community and is the head guest in the tea ceremony.
British tea taster Kevin Gascoyne has been buying tea in Asia since 1989. He started his career as a tea writer for publications in the U.K., the U.S.A. and Japan. Over the years his passion for the black teas of India has spread to the plantations of many other countries.
In Canada he is one of the owners of the Camellia Sinensis Tea Houses and Tea Schools of Montréal and Québec City. Each year he and his fellow tasters travel to the tea gardens of Asia to select teas for their internationally renowned catalogue.
As well as regular public tastings, Kevin is also involved in a wide range of workshops, conferences, seminars, research and consulting activities in North America and Asia. He also co-authored of the prize-winning book ‘Tea, History, Terroirs, Varieties’.
Daniel Tremblay, Owner of Cha Yi Tea House
Daniel Tremblay travels each spring to the best tea producing regions of Asia to meet with artisan producers and imports high quality teas directly. Daniel pursued studies in herbology, organic farming and viticulture. Since 2004 he developed his passion for tea while working in several tea houses in France and Canada before opening his own teashop 2 years ago in Gatineau (old Hull). As a lover of tea and all the culture associated with these aromatic leaves, it is a pleasure for him to share his knowledge and passion.
Yumiko Tsunakawa, Ikebana Artist and Certified Teacher
Yumiko Tsunakawa is an Ikebana Artist and Certified Teacher and teaches over 160 classes, where over 3,000 ikebana arrangements at her Sakura Studio are created per year. Over 300 students have studied at her studio.
Sri Lanka Youth Dance Troupe
Sri Lanka Youth Dance Troupe is a youth program under Sri Lanka Organization for Culture and Arts. The Sri Lanka Youth Dance Troupe itself was founded in 1998, to educate and increase the public understanding and appreciation of Sri Lanka arts and culture by providing performances of an artistic nature, workshops and lectures in multicultural festivals, museums, universities and other related venues.
Gamelan Semara Winangun
In contemporary usage, the word “gamelan” just means orchestra. There are many different types of gamelan in Indonesia; the music that Gamelan Semara play comes from the island of Bali. In fact, the instruments also come from Bali; Eric Da Silva brought these instruments to Ottawa in 2002 and formed the first Gamelan group in Ottawa. Today the group is run as a collective and practices once a week in the basement of the Indonesian Embassy.
Gharana Arts is an energetic, pro-active not-for-profit classical arts organization dedicated to teaching, promoting, and developing the arts of India.