The Galbraith House will soon be serving up high tea - with a twist.
Russell Pohl, the event planner and caterer at the Galbraith House in New Westminster, is teaming up with the home's owner to offer a monthly high tea at the historic home. Partial proceeds from the teas will go to various charities.
"Take a step back in time, come enjoy a little bit of New West history and a beautiful lunch at the same time," he said.
Pohl, the owner of Mr. Mom's World catering and event planning business, has worked in the hospitality industry for many years. In addition to working as the caterer at the Galbraith House, he continues to operate his own catering business.
"Our head office is upstairs," he noted. "My commercial kitchen is in Surrey. We don't do any public cooking here. We bring it all in."
When Pohl first set foot in the Galbraith House, he felt an immediate connection to the home because it's almost identical to his great grandmother's house in Red Deer, Alta. Home to several offices and a spa, the 1894 house in New Westminster is also rented out for events such as weddings, showers and fundraisers.
Like the home's owner Angela Kerslake, Pohl loves the house and wanted to find a way to open it up to the community. Starting this month, the Galbraith House will host a monthly high tea that will raise money for charity.
"You are giving back - you are also something fun and unique that showcases the house," Pohl said.
A portion of the proceeds from the first high tea, which is being held on Sunday, Sept. 23, will go to Surrey Pride, a nonprofit society that raises funds for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning) charities. October's tea will raise funds for Animal Aware, an animal welfare charity in Guatemala supported by Kerslake, and November's tea will raise money for the Group of Five, a New Westminster-based society that buy equipment for Royal Columbian Hospital.
The trio of charities will be rotated for the first six months of the high tea, at which time it may be opened up to other charities.
"Our goal is to do one every month," Pohl said. "The dreamer in me would say if we could do two a month and cover more charities, that would be great."
Like afternoon teas at places like the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, the tea at the Galbraith House will feature finger sandwiches, pastries and tea. While the sandwiches will include traditional fare like egg salad and tuna fillings, others will feature a twist on tradition such as a chicken salad sandwich that includes raspberries.
Pohl's catering company, Mr. Mom's World, specializes in foods made from family recipes. Many of the recipes belonged to his and his life partner Darrell's grandmothers and great grandmothers.
"That is where all our recipes come from," he said. "Our whole premise is to give you a sense of being at grandmother's house, yet it is modern."
Pohl's mother and his two 20-something children help out with the business, and his five children aged six to 14 are the "official samplers" who taste Mr. Mom's World's culinary creations.
"It's going to be as authentic as going to the Empress as possible," he said of the high tea. "We are going to have the nice linens. The staff are going to be impeccably dressed."
Three seatings of tea will be served at the Galbraith House, with the final seating focusing on the gay community. The cost is $39.95 per person.
"You have to make reservations," he said. "There are three seatings - 10: 30 a.m., 12: 30 p.m. and 2: 30 p.m."
The Galbraith House will provide seating for about 70 people throughout house, including the lounge, the mini dining room and the great room.
"It's like going to grandma's with your family and meeting a bunch of friends. We are that kind of people " he said. "For kids, it would be really cool to say look at this house. The house is so historic. This is a way to celebrate that. It was almost torn down."
Pohl credits Ron and Marie Jang and their family for the amazing restoration they did on the house at 131 Eighth St. a decade ago and Kerslake for her meticulous maintenance of the house and the yard in recent years. It's envisioned that the garden parties may be held at the home next summer.
"It's beautiful in the summer time," Pohl said of the yard. "Next year we want to be able to take the high tea outside in the summer."
For information or reservations, call 604-782-7298.