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Koby Gutman Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, June 2020, Creative Corner

Kobi GutmanCreative Corner

featuring Kobi Gutman

 

 

 

 

Whether you are in private service or in hospitality, or any other field where you look after others, family members included, there is every reason to acquire skills that bring a smile to the faces of others.

Mr. Gutman recognized that in the tradition of turndown gifts, there was room for some creativity to add to the turndown experience of his hotel guests, and so he started simple by carving fruits—which we have shown in earlier MBJ editions—that were themed according to guest interests. These were a great hit, so he researched and practiced and improved, branching out into making molds that could produce multiple gifts, as well as carving soaps, chocolate, making wood prints, etc. These became increasingly sophisticated as he researched different techniques and materials.

Somewhere in this journey of discovery and wow’ing his guests, he recognized and worked toward a personal goal to sculpt and cast a likeness. As his skills improved, so did the works he created start to take on the same quality as the Greek masters. Although his experienced eye tells him he has a long way to go to reach that level, to the untrained eye, there seems to be no difference between the statue of a lady below, for instance, and any classic statue.

In Mr. Gutman’s word:

«If you look around, in the real world or online, you’ll find a lot of art, a lot of «cool little things.» For example, regarding laying the table, here at the hotel we host a lot of events, banquets, activities, special dinners, etc. with beautiful set-ups. Sometimes I see things there that prompt ideas for new creations for my guests in my suites. These can be as simple as a nice napkin fold, a plate garnish, a center piece, or even the way the silverware is placed on the table. Anything can trigger an ‘Oh, I can do that in my area’ idea.

«I found the trick is to just DO—the rest is natural evolution. Once you find something you like and think you can do (no matter how simple you might think it is), just do it. Once you are in the business of doing, things evolve naturally; you gradually improve as you go. There comes a point where you are good and confident enough in your skills and you feel you can take things to the next level. I’m doing a course now on sculpting a likeness and this is going to be the next project—sculpting a friend of mine.»

Here is his latest sculpture, based on the work of Lou Li Rong, a Chinese artist. «It took a little longer than usual as I had quite some difficulties sculpting the features in such a small scale (the whole thing is about 10″ or 25cm tall). It’s definitely worth casting but is quite a complex shape to cast, so I am not sure yet how to do that, but I’ll give it a shot. There is a new trick there as well—a see-through fabric all out of clay.»

 

 

 

All the while, Mr. Gutman keeps giving the guests he does have what they would appreciate, such as a few more amigos made of fondant, the flat ones being muffin tops for a guest who wanted a «care bear» theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, the hotel gift shop manager, knowing Mr. Gutman’s creative nature, called saying that some of the vendors were not making deliveries because of the lockdown and so she did not have any cards for Mother’s Day. He quickly downloaded some designs from the Web and made them into cards.

Over the years, Mr. Gutman somehow managed to fit in making these creations while, and as part of, providing superior service; the lockdown has given him the opportunity to develop this skill even further. Whether you see turndown gifts as an area to develop like Mr. Gutman did, or you have some other area of interest, there is no better time to develop that skill while you have fewer guests or your employer has you on furlough.

Mr. Kobi Gutman is one of the most accomplished hotel butlers in the world, currently working as the head butler at a private hotel in Florida; he can be reached via the Institute.

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.

Por Amer A. Vargas

Amer A. Vargas graduated with a Tourism Degree specializing in hotel management from CETT (Center for Tourism Studies) in Barcelona and spent the following decade in the service industry. Beginning as a waiter and then supervisor in high-end restaurants, he was next made responsible for raising service standards through staff training programs. After receiving further training as a butler, he worked as a butler and valet in private service as well as hotels in England and Europe.

During this time period, he translated the best-selling industry texts Butlers & Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals and Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators into Spanish and is currently creating butler training materials in the Spanish language.

As the Director of Spanish-speaking Markets, Amer is responsible for making the technology of butling available in private residences and hotels in the Spanish-speaking countries of the world. He provides consultation, placement, and training services in these countries.