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 9, International Institute of Modern Butlers
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 9
International Institute of Modern Butlers
Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise
Message from the Chairman
If you have ever been confronted by a service provider who lacked, or had lost their focus on, providing superior service, then there are three things you can do about it, other than letting them go.
You may not, for instance, be in a position to replace them, because they could have been working with the family so long they are considered part of the family—nannies or chefs who were working for the grandparents of the current employer, and who helped raise them from the time they were knee-high to a grasshopper!
Assuming you’d rather smooth out the situation than have to live with the constant friction, what would you do? Please email us your thoughts.
On a different note, please also make sure you read the very special offer at the end of this Journal, from our resident Silver Expert, Mr. Jeff Herman.
And check out the Chairman’s latest published article in the trade press: Emotional Engagement—A Mantra in Search of a Technology.
Butlers in the Media
Another nicely done interview with the Head Butler of the The Savoy.
Another “Apartment Butler” service has been launched, providing concierge and housekeeping services. Also, more products graced with the butler moniker: heritage end-tables.
And on the butler robotic front, various predictions and updates on the current state and future of robotics taking over household chores—relayed by The Sun, a low-grade English newspaper; as well as another on LinkedIn entitled What Happens When Millions of Jobs Are Lost Because of Automation? And finally, a personalized family robot is on the horizon—thank goodness, this one is not called a “Butler Robot.”
What would life be like without an insouciant Australian travel writer taking a light-hearted look at service in the butler world: this time River Cruise-boat Butlers—and she quite correctly calls her butler for crossing the line. He obviously needs proper training, but it appears he did correct nicely.
How to Carve Fruits other than Apples
by Kobi Gutman
When delivering any service, it is normally that little extra step, the special touch, the unexpected, that creates the ‘wow’ effect. Fruit carving is a good way to achieve this effect. A simple piece added to a plate makes it that much more special and goes a long way with the guests.
I have found that a wonderful source of ideas for carvings are characters from picture books for kids. These can be made into simple fruit sculptures that are very likely to extract a smile—even from the bigger “kids.”
Here are some examples:
Kermit the frog is made very simply using a Granny Smith apple. His eyes are made with marshmallow and a dot of chocolate. To make his mouth, peel the skin of the green apple, place it on a red apple and cut and peel that one using the same shape. Then take the red skin and place it in the green apple.
These two cows decorated a vegetable plate for young girls—they are made from tomatoes, a cherry tomato, and pieces of black olives. The eyes are marzipan and chocolate, and the grass consists of cut stems of parsley.
You may have guessed that this cantaloupe carving of a wolf howling at the moon was not based on a theme taken from a children’s picture book.
The way I made it is very similar to the apple carving technique. Put a stencil on the cantaloupe, cut the design through and then take out the cantaloupe all around it, piece by piece. It’s not as easy as an apple but its not too difficult, either.
To obtain the green shade of the wolf and the shrub, peel a very thin layer off the cantaloupe’s skin. The tree in the background is simply a stem of parsley.
Kobi Gutman is the Head Butler at the Fort Harrison Retreat in Florida. He can be contacted via the Institute: enquiries @ modernbutlers.com
A note from the Chairman on Towel Art
I have mixed feelings about “towelagami,” as I call it: the rather ubiquitous shaping of towels at turndown, whether done on cruise ships, in hotels or resorts. Not the kind of thing that traditional butlers aspire to, but which does appeal to enough guests for the practice to continue. So I felt compelled to photograph this almost life-size crocodile lying in wait for me upon my return from dinner. He certainly caught my attention, and was surprisingly realistic—not to mention, a unique way of presenting the TV remote. I hope this does not escalate the size of these offerings, as housekeeping departments vie with each other to create ever bigger statues!
Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 15
by Amer Vargas
Today, we travel back in time once again: this time to the nineteenth century, more specifically to the period of the spoiled Miss Scarlett O’Hara and the adventurous dandy, Rhett Butler. A lot of rain has fallen since the film was first broadcast, but Gone with the Wind is still a classic movie, a must-see for anyone who considers themselves a cinema aficionado.
As so often happens in movies, cocktails are depicted in this beautiful drama, and in the case of the beautiful Scarlett, her favorite drink was the Planter’s Punch.
Planter’s Punch is based on Dark rum with additional ingredients that provide both a tangy as well as a sweet taste.
According to the International Bartenders Association, the mix is served in a highball glass, but it is also quite often seen in a hurricane glass, which makes for a better presentation.
The ingredients are 4.5 cl (1.5 oz.) of Jamaican Dark rum, 3.5 cl (1.2 oz.) of fresh orange juice, 3.5 cl (1.2 oz.) of fresh pineapple juice, 2 cl (0.7 oz.) of fresh lemon juice, 1 cl (0.35 oz.) of grenadine, 1 cl (0.35 oz.) of sugar syrup, and 3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters.
All ingredients are poured into a shaker that has been filled with ice and then served (the ice strained) into the chosen glass, which is also filled with ice. Then Angostura bitters are added on top, followed by a maraschino cherry and pineapple or a slice of orange as a garnish.
Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President and can be contacted via AmerVargas @ modernbutlers.com
Of Butlers, Roses, & Floral Arrangements,
Part 29 of 30
by GJ dePillis, Master Gardener
Miniature Floral Arrangements, Part 3 of 3
Have you ever walked in the garden, your imagination taking in each plant and visualizing how it could be used in an arrangement? Does that leaf look too big? Is that blossom too small? Well, as long as the plants are healthy, you can use any of these mechanical tips below to sculpt your floral creations.
- If you construct your arrangement underwater, only use distilled water, or the color of the leaves and flowers will leech away over time.
- Reportedly, daffodils are “bullies” amongst flowers, tending to emit an unfriendly “aura” to non-similar flowers. Therefore, only arrange daffodils with other bulbed flowers.
- When using floral foam, make sure to use foam made for fresh flowers, that is designed to retain moisture. No matter how long one may soak foam designed for dry flowers, it simply will not retain the moisture.
- Warm bear grass with your hands to encourage a curl, pin it, and then let it cool in cool air.
- When using foam, plan where to stick each stem. Use a toothpick to begin the hole. Know that soft stems will not stay in place easily, so you may need to trim them at an angle for two reasons:
- To allow the plant to soak up as much water as possible (maximum surface area).
- To create a pointed end that allows one to stab the stem into the foam.
- When using tweezers, gently grasp the flower near the bloom and slowly insert the stem into the hole created by the toothpick. Squeezing too hard will separate the bloom from the stem.
- Note that some flowers, such as African Violets, do not do well in foam and require a “Kenzan” instead—this is a small set of pins secured in the bottom of a flat vase with floral clay. The Kenzan is then submerged in water and the needles used to stab the stem, so allowing the flower to remain upright.
- If there are no floral foams or Kenzans available, place several straws into the tiny holder or vase, cut them to the same height as the container, fill the container with water, and place a stem inside each straw and so shape the arrangement.
The above basics “open the garden gate” to the collecting of flowers, twigs and leaves and, combined with your imagination, the creating of beautiful arrangements for any occasion: bridal bouquets and boutonnieres, birthdays, luncheons, English Afternoon Teas, year-end holidays such as Christmas using striking reds and greens or Hanukkah using crisp blues and whites.
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
Before we consult Mr. Herman this month, we would like to let our membership and readers know that his company has just introduced a new, environmentally and silver-friendly cleaning product. In Mr. Herman’s own, unabashed words:
“You’ve spent hundreds of dollars trying every silver polish and chemical dip on store shelves. They stripped or scratched your silver, smelled terrible, and exposed you and your family to dangerous chemicals. You’ve listened to the advice of friends based on what they had heard from their friends, and so on.
I’ve been a professional silver restorer and conservator for over three decades. I’ve witnessed and corrected an enormous amount of silver abuse. That’s exactly why I developed Herman’s Simply Clean, which cleans gently and completely as it removes tarnish while leaving the object’s surface the way it was prior to tarnishing. I’m using it in my own practice when removing tarnish on anything from baby spoons to important museum objects.”
- Developed by an internationally respected silver conservator;
- Mild enough for your most cherished sterling and silver-plated flatware, holloware, and jewelry;
- Contains no harsh abrasives;
- No ammonia;
- pH: 7.5;
- Creamy consistency;
- Leaves no residue;
- Complimentary silver cleaning assistance;
- Made in the USA.
Herman’s Simply Clean contains no tarnish inhibitor and is perfect for silver enthusiasts who are:
- Looking for earth-friendly “green” products;
- Sensitive to fragrances;
- Owners of silver flatware, chalices, Kiddush cups, and other objects from which to eat or drink;
- Concerned about eating from silver with tarnish preventer.
So put down that dried-out cake of polish and give Herman’s Simply Clean a try. It will make your silver smile as much as you!
Mr. Herman is offering a free Simply Clean kit, shipped free anywhere in the world to the person who offers the best reason, in 25 or less words, for why you’d want to try Herman’s Simply Clean. The kit consists of:
- Herman’s Simply Clean
- 14” x 14” Selvyt cloth
- 100 premium cotton makeup pads
- 200 jumbo cotton balls
- 1 cellulose sponge
- Plastic-covered container
To participate, email Mr. Herman directly (jeff AT hermansilver.com) with your very own, clearly stated reason, in 25 words or less, for trying this brand new product. Your entry must be received by October 1, 2016 to qualify. Mr. Herman will acknowledge receipt and pick the best entry from those he receives, informing the winner by October 5 at the latest and to arrange shipment to the address you provide.
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 9, International Institute of Modern Butlers August 31, 2016
The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 9 International Institute of Modern Butlers Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise Message from the Chairman If you have ever been confronted by a service provider who lacked, or had lost their focus on, providing superior service, then there are three things you can do about it, other than letting them go. You ...
- 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 ...