Modern Butlers’ Journal
The Institute’s free electronic newsletter promoting service standards and items of interest to professionals in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts and other quality service professions around the world.
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal, volume 12, issue 8, International Institute of Modern Butlers
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 8
International Institute of Modern Butlers
Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise
Message from the Chairman
It has been a busy month with training and consulting in Mexico, the Maldives, New York/Long Island, and Sri Lanka—five days of which were spent in airplanes! We learned that two hotel butlers trained by our Institute had received rewards for being judged #1 service providers in their city or country —one in Las Vegas and the other in Sri Lanka (working for the recently launched Anantara Tangalle resort).
Joe Yalda of Red Rock in Las Vegas has been featured before in our Journal, and we wanted to highlight one important fact about his operating basis. In a city where ‘what happens in Las Vegas stays there’ and so literally anything goes, Joe will have none of it—meaning not that he betrays confidences, but that he does not support guest requests for illicit or immoral favors in the first place. Yet, with the upbeat and smooth way in which he handles such requests, the guests keep coming back for more of his ethical approach to life. A breath of fresh air in a culture that increasingly mirrors the character of the waning Roman Empire.
Butlers in the Media
For those PG Wodehouse fans of Reginald Jeeves and his employer, Mr. Wooster, it might be of interest to know where the name Jeeves came from. The BBC shares this delightful nugget of information.
Without in any way endorsing the political mentions/leanings in this blog piece from butler Mr. Jim Grise, he had some interesting points to make about the profession.
An informative article on the top-tier “butlers” in family offices who manage the estates and fortunes of their employers.
And what do we have in the wierdo department? Quite a bit this month: A Filter Butler (filters water); a Baggage Butler at an airport; a Butler position in a Chicago hotel that only has one minor duty of a butler required; a butler to deliver food and beverages to various locations in a Fifth Avenue store in New York city. Qualifications: “Must be customer-service oriented, organized and maintain high personal-presentation standards. Must be able to use an iPhone.” A phone app to substitute for the developer’s idea of what a butler does in a hotel; a dog-shaped robot butler from Google that loads the dishwasher (with guidance from a human). The company that manufactures it has been put up for sale following doubts that the line of products was able to produce revenue—but nobody is buying. This does not stop the Facebook founder from creating his own AI butler—one that is really an electronic interface for controlling the elements of his home, but which can also make his breakfast toast—although it won’t make it at the time he wants it. Minor details.
Letters to the Editor
We received a letter from a gentleman who was seriously hearing impaired (i.e. 95% loss), asking if he could make a good butler. After some discussion, he agreed that his speaking and hearing skills were not too noticeable, and that he had introverted on the condition and made it an issue, whereas the senior datum was his wish to serve at the highest level—and that would carry him through any slight and occasional inconveniences for those he served. Meaning intention, not the material, is the determining factor.
How to Carve an Apple, Part 3: Detailing
by Kobi Gutman
Having covered the basics of apple carving and the use of the stencil, I’d like to cover detailing. In a photo or a painting, it is easy to create individual details by using different colors, shadows, or drawing an outline. This is not the case with an apple.
By way of example, the design to the right has a ribbon with a buckle on top of the hat. This would not be clearly visible if we just made a groove with the knife as we were cutting through the stencil.
The way to portray them is first to cut the outline of all the wanted details through the stencil and, once the stencil has been removed, cut a line close to these outlines and peel off the narrow strip of apple peel in between.
Looking closely at this pumpkin, you will notice that the hat is composed of five different sections and that none touches the other. You will also notice that the hat itself doesn’t touch the pumpkin.
When you just like to give a notion of the detail, or to create a texture, a single cut of the knife is enough. In this case, the two inner grooves on the pumpkin were done this way.
To the left are a couple more examples for both techniques.
Kobi Gutman is the Head Butler at the Fort Harrison Retreat in Florida. He can be contacted via the Institute: enquiries @ modernbutlers.com
Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 14
by Amer Vargas
In this month’s article, we fly from Las Vegas to Singapore to taste a tangy and strong cocktail. There is no real need to mix it with mescal (made from 30 varieties of agave, whereas Tequila is only made from Blue Agave), beer, and drugs in the same way that Raoul Duke drinks them in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas before putting the “American dream into action.” Anyway, let’s focus on the taste of this perhaps effeminate-looking cocktail, but which is actually intended for those who like strong flavors.
The name of the drink comes from the fact that it was invented in Singapore at the Raffles hotel around 1910. Whilst the original recipe has changed a little bit over time and has been recreated using the original notes of the bartender who created it, the reality is that even nowadays, every bartender does his own version and it is hard to find the same taste in different parts of the world.
If you want to give it a go, these are the ingredients you’ll need: 3 cl. of Gin, 1.5 cl. of cherry liquor or cherry brandy, 0.75 cl. of Cointreau, 0.5 cl. of Benedictine, 1 cl. grenadine, 12 cl. of pineapple juice, 1.5 cl. of fresh lime juice and a dash of angostura bitters.
The preparation is very simple: pour all the ingredients in the cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain the mix into a hurricane glass and garnish with pineapple and maraschino cherry.
Remember… be moderate and enjoy!
Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President and can be contacted via AmerVargas @ modernbutlers.com
Of Butlers, Roses, & Floral Arrangements,
Part 28 of 30
by GJ dePillis, Master Gardener
Miniature Floral Arrangements, Part 2 of 3
Last month, we reviewed reasons for creating miniatures and the needed tools. Now we will cover nine design tips.
- Place a perfect-square piece of cardboard behind the arrangement to check proportions;
- Leave a margin around the edge of the board, just as in formatting a document;
- Do not allow anything nearby to betray the scale of the piece;
- Lay out the flowers and leaves on the table and then place them in the foam so they are in balance. Think of yourself in the shape of your arrangement: Would you be able to stand and not wobble if you assumed the shape of your arrangement? If not, then add something to the space which is sparse;
- Traditional designs are ordered: they need to cover all the foam with flowers and also utilize different heights. They group colors into blocks so the eye knows what to look at first and leisurely travels to the next pop of color;
- Modern designs can include cutting the shape of the leaf or drying the leaf and painting it; not covering the foam; and employing three specific heights, sometimes referred to as heaven (the tallest vertical), man (the middle sized vertical), and earth (the smallest or lowest to the ground vertical)—imagine water flowing from the clouds to the ground.
- Avoid having two vertical sticks of the same height, which would resemble rabbit ears. Aim for a stepped-down flow where the eye travels on a diagonal down from one side to the other;
- When viewing the final work, ensure the “front” has been established—except in the case of a round table centerpiece that is designed to be “all around;”
- Strive for depth, something that draws the eye to the back of the piece.
In the final part of this series, we will cover some of the mechanical requirements for bringing together the arrangement. Until then, remember to stop and smell the flowers!
Ms. dePillis is a master gardener and freelance contributor to the Journal who is based on the West Coast of the United States. She can be reached via depillis @ gmail.com
by Jeffrey Herman
Q: What is the best way to clean a silver item that has been gilded (covered with gold)?
A: Use a citrus- and phosphate-free dish soap or hand sanitizer. Neither will harm the gold. If those non-invasive products do not remove the discoloring, try using a moist cellulose sponge (not the white plastic sponge that sometimes comes with silver polishes) with Blitz Silver Shine Polish, which is among the most mild polishes on the market. It’s the only mild polish that can be applied and rinsed, or applied, allowed to dry, then buffed.
Mr. Herman continues to offer his services to our readers for any questions you may have about the care of silver. Either call him at (800) 339-0417 (USA) or email jeff AT hermansilver.com
The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal, volume 12, issue 8, International Institute of Modern Butlers August 1, 2016
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 8 International Institute of Modern Butlers Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise Message from the Chairman It has been a busy month with training and consulting in Mexico, the Maldives, New York/Long Island, and Sri Lanka—five days of which were spent in airplanes! We learned that two hotel butlers trained by our ...
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal, volume 12, issue 7, International Institute of Modern Butlers July 1, 2016
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 7 International Institute of Modern Butlers Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise Message from the Chairman The raw enthusiasm and eagerness for, and attentiveness to, life demonstrated by those passionately engaged in being of service to others, convinces me that the relative few in our profession are rightly regarded with admiration by the many. Housekeeper’s Corner Butlers ...
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal, volume 12, issue 6, International Institute of Modern Butlers May 31, 2016
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 6 International Institute of Modern Butlers Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise Message from the Chairman The main item of news in the butler world this month is another example of a butler not following the code of ethics of the profession. In defense of Donald Trump’s former butler, one could say ...
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal, volume 12, issue 5, International Institute of Modern Butlers April 30, 2016
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 5 International Institute of Modern Butlers Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise Message from the Chairman Keeping tabs on how butlers are perceived in society (see our column Butlers in the Media over the last several years) has been mainly an exercise in spotting ways that our title has been called upon to confer ...
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal, volume 12, issue 4, International Institute of Modern Butlers April 1, 2016
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 4 International Institute of Modern Butlers Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise Message from the Chairman There were two examples this month of butlers talking in public about their employers, which raised some eyebrows amongst those in the profession. The first was an ex-White House butler talking about First Lady Nancy Reagan. Good ...
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal, volume 12, issue 3, International Institute of Modern Butlers February 29, 2016
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 3 International Institute of Modern Butlers Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise Message from the Chairman As the story below, about the young butler being sued illustrates, one can sometimes run afoul of house rules for the managing of work-issued credit cards—where the lines are to be drawn. Another example of exactly this trap crossed ...