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Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, March 2018, Message from the Chairman

Steven Ferry

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Another substantial newsletter, so I’ll keep this message short again. As the humor offered in the last message proved popular, here is another to offset all the serious stuff in this month’s MBJ:

Looking for the collective noun for various professions, finds:

  • A Brace of Orthopedists
  • A Joint of Osteopaths
  • A Rash of Dermatologists
  • A Flutter of Cardiologists
  • A Guess of Diagnosticians
  • A Cell of Biologists
  • A Slug of Gardeners
  • A Groan of Punsters
  • An Order of Waiters
  • A Litter of Trashmen… er… Sanitary Engineers
  • A Stack of Librarians
  • A Pen of Writers
  • A Pride of Egotists
  • A Lot of Realtors
  • A Dose of Pharmacists
  • A Fib of Fishermen
  • A Flush of Plumbers
  • A Snap of Photographers

and unhappily,

  • A Sneer of Butlers

If you have any others to offer, we’d love to share them.

 

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.»

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Butler books Butler history Mixology Newsletter Steven Ferry The Butlers Speak

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, February 2018, Message from the Chairman

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry

A long newsletter this month, as usual. I hope you enjoy it, find one or more departments to be of use and/or interest, and like the new format. If you are in the mood for some levity/humour, then you might enjoy the fruits of the modern education system, as evidenced in these signs, perhaps posted by someone in a rush:

In a Laundromat: AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT.

In a London department store: BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS.

In an office: WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEPLADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN.

In an office: AFTER TEA BREAK, STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD.

Outside a second-hand shop: WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING – BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?

Notice in health food shop window: CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS.

Spotted in a safari park: ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR.

Seen during a conference: FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN’T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE FIRST FLOOR.

Notice in a farmer’s field: THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.

Message on a leaflet: IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS.

Spotted in a toilet of a London office: TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW

On a repair shop door: WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR, THE BELL DOESN’T WORK.)

Best wishes for the month ahead.

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.»

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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2017, International Institute of Modern Butlers

The Modern Butlers’ Journal

October 2017

In its 13th year of publication

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise

Message from the Chairman

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry

It has been a busy year for consulting and training in the private and hospitality sectors around the world, with trainers currently in Mexico, Maldives, and the Caribbean.

Travel these days is never dull: dodging volcanoes, hurricanes, revolutions, terrorist attacks, and plane crashes, each by a day or two. In between, there are the exciting trainings and consults, and visits to myriad countries (I have lost count, but about 50 so far this year).

It occurred to me, while listening to yet another air-hostess briefing on how to buckle a seat belt, that I am now in my 64th year of airplane travel! Some things have improved, most not. Civility, levels of service, and professionalism, have taken a hit: comfort has increased only in terms of lie-flat beds in business and first classes. The planes may be slightly faster, but the delays and lines at the airports today remove that advantage. In terms of stress, whether from nature, politics, security and related threats, or human frailties, there is no comparison with the genteel experience of air travel in earlier days. The only thing that has improved is the reduced cost of travel, making air travel affordable for most.

Letters to the Editor

«Reading all the input from our colleagues in The Butlers Speak, in response to your insightful questions, has made it very refreshing to know that we do not stand alone in this big world of ours. Thanks to you and Modern Butlers, the world is a little smaller today.» PBW

One reader was angered by the «total lack of integrity and respect exhibited by Mr. Burrell for his former employer.» He added this pithy (concise and forcefully expressive) observation:

«A contract between the employer and a butler used to be based on a handshake—a guarantee by both parties to act honourably in all circumstances.

«Post Paul Burrell, the contract is signed on paper by the employer and butler with a shaking hand.» RW

Butlers in the Media

A rather touching advertisement for volunteers to help polish silver was entitled «Find your inner butler.»

This might be taking duty a bit too far as a butler: the reported presence of the ghost of Henry Ford’s butler, whose hackles rise reportedly when tourists litter his ex-employer’s property and he just has to clean up after them.

Not quite so loyal is Mr. Burrell, whose projection onto his employer of his own moroseness and morbidity, portraying her as a troubled soul, may not be based on quite as much knowledge as he professes—quite apart from the fact that he shouldn’t be saying anything at all about the employer in the first place—especially when he receives millions in remuneration for this self-centered/engrossed betrayal of confidence and the profession.

A good interview with a butler who understands the finer points of butling.

Another good interview, this one with a hotel manager of a Four Seasons, who understands that «wowing» guests comes from the caring human touches, not the latest technology.

More on AI (Artifical Intelligence)

Speaking of which, Sir Anthony Seldon, vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham in the U.K., has predicted that teaching will be conducted by robots within a decade. This assumes the development by then of emotionally sensitive machines (that will be as genuine as a three-dollar bill). There would be some benefits of some automation, to be sure, but none that outweigh the best that human teachers have to offer.

The problem is probably best stated as the educational systems of the world have become so degraded over the last century with the substitution of social engineering for actual education, that anything might look better than what we have at the moment—which includes millions of students being drugged instead of educated, while the rest are dumbed down with curricula that only someone with questionable motives could dream up. So yes, maybe robots might look better, but then why bother with humans? Why not just program robots in the flash of a flash-drive download and just end the human race?

The vice chancellor correctly cautioned that «individuals derive a great deal of fulfillment from their jobs and that humans are hard-wired to work,» yet he offers no solution to the prediction by Price Waterhouse Coopers that robots and artificial intelligence could take over 40% of jobs in America by around 2030.

A two-episode British documentary entitled “Hyper Evolution: Rise of the Robots” warns that robots are like an invasive species because of their increasing ability to make conscious decisions and eventually, to out-compete humans. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has similarly raised the alarm about the risks to the human race posed by rapidly advancing AI, as have others.

We still have a way to go, according to Feiyu Xu, head of Lenovo’s AI Lab: the kind of artificial general intelligence needed for a robot butler, remains beyond reach. “A butler serving cocktails won’t be too far away, but a butler who can organise your life, help if you’ve lost something or can change your flights, these kinds of complex capabilities will take a long time [to develop].”

The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 5

Another quotation about life for butlers two centuries ago shows that the more things change, the more they remain the same. We still do our best to service employers, some of whom may not be the best of role models, and continue to search for considerate employers who recognize that we, also, are alive.

The author advises we focus on doing our duty despite the slings and arrows of less-desirable employers, because we will be happier in the long run. However, the more modern advice is to be aware that there are a very few anti-social individuals whose goal in life is to push others down; and if the employer is not just having a bad hair day but is routinely of such an ill disposition, one is better off updating the resume and looking for a new position, rather than obliging the person by sinking into apathy.

“Happy are the families where servants study the comfort and welfare of their employers, who in return do the same by them. The kind admonition of an affectionate master or mistress is always to be listened to with respect…. It may be your lot to find a master or mistress who may act unkindly or unjustly towards you…but if you do your duty, you will be more happy in your integrity than your employers can be in their injustice. I would rather be the oppressed than stand in the place of the oppressor….. Patience will be rewarded.”

“Let these considerations stimulate you to truth and faithfulness in your situations through life. You’ll find in the class of society with which you are about to associate, some of the most profligate [recklessly wasteful] of people; that is, in a refined way, if I may be allowed the expression, also some of the most proud and ignorant, glorying in their insolence and profaneness [obscene language and disrespect for religions]. Happily, they are not all so. I know a great number who are held in just esteem and have been honorably rewarded for their fidelity and good conduct.”

Extracted from the 1823 book, The Footman’s Directory and Butler’s Remembrancer, re-published in hardback by Pryor Publications. You may obtain your discounted copy (with free s&h) by emailing the publisher: Mr. Pryor (alan @ pryor-publications.co.uk) and telling him you read about the offer in the Modern Butlers’ Journal.

The Butlers Speak

Finding & Managing Staff, Part 1 of 3

Some insightful solutions to common hiring problems, from those who walk the talk.

1) Have you encountered any issues when looking for good staff? If so, what were they?

“Looking for good staff is trying at the best of times, as what one sees on paper is not what one meets in person: sadly, like so much else, it’s a numbers game.” PBW

“The most challenging issue typically is finding a candidate who is genuinely ready, willing, and able to perform the duties for which they have been hired.  Many will, sadly, say what they think you want to hear, when in fact they are opposed to, or inexperienced in, specific tasks.”  CH

“Most applicants have not worked in a very large residence and are not accustomed to the different types of surfaces to clean such as granite, marble, soap stone, etc., nor have they been exposed to the level of expense associated with furnishings in such a household. Similarly, they are unfamiliar with security measures, such as all exterior doors and entrances being locked at all times, and not opening the front door until we know who is there.” NS

“One of the biggest obstacles to finding top talent in our area of California is the cost of living: The nearest affordable housing is at least an hour’s drive away. Convincing employers to extend a high cost-of-living allowance that would allow staff to rent locally, is a tough sell in most cases. Another problem is that most employers don’t want an employee who must be moved in from out of town: Not only do they express a dissatisfaction with having to pay for moving expenses, but they also do not want to make a commitment to that employee: The freedom to fire without conscience is too important for them.” SA

2. What areas or avenues have proven most fruitful for finding staff? 

“Using recommendations has worked well, as has a local agency that screens potential applicants before we interview them.” NS

“Anyone can be good during an interview, saying the right things, giving the right answers. But the proof is in the pudding as they say: So what I have found to work over the years is to invite the candidate to spend a day with us, paying them for the day, and covering any travel expenses. We offer them lunch with the rest of the team and see how they interact with everyone. It’s a two way street we feel: they see what is expected and we see what they can do.” PBW

“Certain placement agencies are excellent resources, but finding a qualified candidate by word of mouth is not an avenue to be disregarded.” CH

“First and always: word of mouth and networking. It was true before agencies and it’s still true now. But failing that, careful interviewing of agency owners will reveal whether they’re capable of identifying a service mentality, and comprehensive personality assessments / matching of both employee and employer.  Only a handful of agencies nationwide know anything more about their candidates than what is given in the resume. It takes time and perception to handpick your candidates, and then match them to the employer with a reasonable success potential.  An agency worth considering will give a one-year free employee-replacement guarantee.” SA

3. What procedures do you employ for ensuring that the right staff are selected? 

«We do a background check on everyone, as well as a credit check–very important when working at a large residence. Any time we have deviated or made exceptions we’ve experienced unfortunate outcomes. We have learned from these experiences, however, so when we hire new staff, they are hired as an independent contractor. After a year, they are evaluated and we determine whether to hire on the person as an employee. This process has worked very well for us. NS

“By having them spend the day with us, I see them in action.” PBW

“Without question, a paid working trial of three-to-five days has proven the most effective way of ensuring a proper selection. I also put their skills to the test, such as asking them to iron a table linen, prepare a special dish, spot clean a rug, or wax a vehicle.” CH

“We conduct multiple interviews with three pre-qualified candidates. Each interview is conducted under different conditions. One might be a dinner engagement where table manners are subtly scrutinized and driving habits can be observed (you travel to the restaurant together in the candidate’s car.) Another might be lunch with the candidate with a partner/spouse, a best friend, or even a parent as guest. Another might be a leisurely walk about the estate, seeking comments about every aspect of service, loyalty, discretion, and privacy that the candidate holds dear.  In all instances, we make lots of eye contact and observe body language.” SA

Book Review of Serving the Wealthy

Sections on the Role of the Butler and the Principal’s Wines, Part 6 of 12

Dealing with Wine Sensitivity

by Gretchen dePillis

As Serving the Wealthy suggests, it is useful to note the preferences of the principal’s guests. When serving wine, you may note that some guests may experience “headaches” shortly after consuming a glass of wine. Others may have an asthmatic reaction.

Sulfites can trigger an asthma attack in some people, but as commercial wines can contain up to sixty different additives, it may not be easy to discover all the additives used by the vineyard, as most countries only require the listing of “sulfites” on the labels of wine bottles.

For such guests, you may wish to consider a wine from a biodynamic vineyard, and note this information in their guest preferences database.

Next month, we will review how to find the biodynamic vintage that is appropriate for your employer’s guests.

Ms. dePillis is a freelance contributor to the Journal who is based on the West Coast of the United States. She can be reached via depillis @ gmail.com

Creative Corner

KobiGutmanHow to create a Strawberry Flower

by Kobi Gutman

Adding garnish to a plate is a little touch that makes a big difference to the presentation. Here is a quick and easy garnish for a turndown treat, a fruit plate, or even (if covered with chocolate) a treat that can be served on its own.

  1. From about half the height of the strawberry, make a slice down towards the base. Don’t go through but stop
    a little bit before the base. This will create a petal.
  1. Using the knife, gently push the petal out, being careful
    not to break it. You can roll the knife over the tip of the
    petal to add a more realistic effect.

3. Repeat the above two steps to create three more petals.

  1. Make another layer of petals by cutting closer to the top of the strawberry and slicing down to half the height of the strawberry. Each petal in this layer should be located between two petals in the bottom layer – that is, not directly above them.

 

 

  1. Place as garnish and serve.

Mr. Gutman is the head butler at a private hotel in Florida and can be reached via the Institute.

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 26

will be forthcoming in November—Mr. Vargas just returned from a lengthy assignment abroad to assist the very next day with the delivery of his second child, Gala. Our congratulations to both Amer and his wife, Sonia, and best wishes for the future.

 

 

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President—feel free to contact him via email, AmerVargas @ modernbutlers.com

Consulting the Silver Expert

Cleaning and Polishing Silver, Part 5

Jeff Hermanby Jeffrey Herman

Use the following technique if you are polishing an object without porous components or components that have been sealed with Renaissance wax:

Rinse the object first to remove any pollution that may have settled on the object. These contaminants, which may be more abrasive than the polish you will be using, can actually scratch the silver if rubbed into the surface.

Apply Blitz Silver Shine Polish or Earth Friendly Silver Polish. If you feel it necessary to protect your hands from moisture, use nitrile gloves which contain no ingredients that tarnish silver. Do NOT use latex gloves!

Rub the object in a straight, back-and-forth manner so as to maintain a uniform appearance. Avoid rubbing in a circular motion.

Rinse the sponge regularly, as elements in the tarnish can be very abrasive.

Dried polish can be removed by patting the area with a warm, wet cotton ball or a wet horsehair or natural-boar-bristle brush.

Rinse the object with warm water, and then dry with a Selvyt cloth or cotton dish towel immediately to avoid spotting.

I advise using untreated heavy-weight cotton inspection gloves to avoid finger prints when cleaning and storing freshly cleaned objects.

Note: Flattened cotton-swab heads, with very little silver polish applied, are excellent for cleaning between fork tines.

Wearing nitrile gloves and using a cotton ball with Earth Friendly Silver Polish to remove tarnish from a Paul Revere Beaker

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 @ 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.»

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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, December 2016, International Institute of Modern Butlers

BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal 

December 2016

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

Message from the Chairman

Three points to round out the year:

First, let’s get the admonition out of the way: I long ago appreciated George Bernard Shaw’s pearl of wisdom when he stated that “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery—it’s the sincerest form of learning”—but only when the flatterer gets it right. I don’t mind that they lack originality; I don’t mind that they do not acknowledge where their idea came from: but I do mind when they relay the idea with sufficient alteration that they, as an apparent authority, not only betray no real understanding of the idea, but also set up those, who rely upon them for real knowledge, to fail through a lack of a workable knowledge. This is a message to one particular person, but the message the the rest of us is, studier beware! Our responsibility to ourselves is to think for ourselves and not believe someone just because they are an Authority—me included.

Secondly, some good news for the profession. Butlers traditionally have been conscientious about creating manuals specific to their household, called the (Butler’s) Pantry Book. However, except for a manual written a couple of hundred years ago, and another excellent book, Agar’s Way, which is out of print and focuses on some traditional butler skills, no text has existed on the subject of how to butle, whether in private households or hotels, etc.

We began to fill this void with the British Butlers’ Bible a quarter of a century ago, and followed that a dozen years ago with the international best seller, Butlers and Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals, which was subsequently translated into Italian, Spanish, and Russian, as well as Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators, later translated into Spanish.

These books are still available in hard copy and e-books through our bookstore.

We are happy to announce now, therefore, the just-published, two-volume, Serving the Wealthy, The Modern Butler’s and Household/Estate(s) Manager’s Companion. With over 700 pages of text, 125 photographs, and a glossary of hundreds of words to smooth the journey, these two books establish a firm foundation upon which the profession can maintain its standards, and to which individuals can refer as they serve their employers.

Purchase hard and digital copies through our bookstore, too.

We apologize in advance for the high prices—this many color pages and photographs carry inescapable printing costs—but we felt that those in our profession would appreciate the opportunity to possess a substantial set of books.

In recognition of the many who have supported the Institute over the years, and so as to dispense with finance as a barrier to possessing the books, we are making pdf versions of both volumes available privately to those who wish,  at half the cost of the digital and one-third of the cost of the hard-copy books.

To order one or both pdfs, simply email us and tell us which books you wish to receive.

And lastly, we wish you all a fun and busy holiday season, wherever your work and pleasure may take you.

Butlers in the Media

Maybe it is because we are coming up to peak shopping season, but there has been a spate of mis-uses of «butler» this past month: Beverage Butler (portable, multi-purpose beverage table); Lobby Butler; BBQ Butler (grill-cleaning service); Lawn Butler; BackSeat Butler (a car accessory that acts as a hanger and provides adjustable hooks and levers to carry grocery bags, etc.); and Wheelchair Butler, an attachment that motorizes a wheelchair.

No month would be complete without some robot butler emerging from the creative minds of engineers. There is the robotic cocktail butler that serves cocktails (actually created in the 1980s!), and a more modern wine butler robot that suggests and pours wine.

Amazon is moving into the «Home Assistant» business, which the media interprets as butler service: after describing someone who runs errands and cleans up the house a bit, the reporter stated, “If that doesn’t sound like a butler, we don’t know what does.”

The Guardian newspaper came up with a new one: Assuming that a butler is someone who serves and facilitates for the wealthy, the Guardian used the term to describe a whole country (Britain) toward its «employer,» Qatar.

A family in England fired their household manager recently for being “over-familiar.” They went to a tribunal, where the employer stated the trouble started when she discovered her household manager was looking after someone else’s dog on her property, for which service he was charging £500 each week; and then worsened when she found his boyfriend was staying at the house without her “knowledge or consent;” and that he, the household manager, was making un-authorized use of the family cars, including a Porsche. The final straw was when he refused to drive her mother to the airport on his day off.

How could a professional entertain such a level of ethics and professionalism, one has to wonder. Well, he was neither trained as, nor experienced in, butling nor household management. He was, we learn, promoted from gardener to household manager. The household manager had excuses for all the principal’s complaints, but one would not expect anything else of someone who has not the first idea of their duties, expectations of employers, and how to service them.

So in the final analysis, even though the household manager (whom the newspaper unfortunately mis-called a “butler”) mis-behaved thoroughly, I would tend to look at the employer as the cause of the problem, and ask her what she expected if she hired unqualified staff. Would she ask her gardener to be her doctor and then expect him to diagnose her correctly?

KobiGutmanSmall

Creative Corner

Soap Carving Techniques, Part 1

by Kobi Gutman

Start by acquiring soft soap, as although hard ones have the advantage of strength, they crumble and chip when cutting. You can establish whether a soap is hard or soft by sticking a fingernail into the soap to see if it chips.

The soap that I am using is Melt & Pour, which is a soap base that can be melted, accept colors, oils, scents etc., and then poured into molds. Besides being able to melt and pour them into molds (which we will cover in future issues), they are very soft and cooperative when carving. It can be purchased online and is quite inexpensive.

Let’s look at how to carve soap into a swan using a clear bar of Melt & Pour soap, a paring knife and a Thai carving-knife (brown handle).

1) Draw the profile of the swan on the wide surface of the soap using the tip of the Thai knife.

1a) If you are not skilled or confident in free-hand drawing, you can print a photo of a swan at the right size, place it on the soap, and with a dull pencil, go over its outline, applying enough pressure to create a groove on the soap.swan2

2) Then cut the soap in that shape.

swan3-1

3) Next, turn the soap sideways so that the back part of the swan is facing you. Draw the rear of the swan: a simple tear-drop shape with a flat bottom.

swan2-1

4) Cut the soap in that shape, being careful not to cut your fingers.

swan4

5) Next, draw the front of the swan by simply drawing two parallel lines that open up to a somewhat oval shape at the bottom.

swan3

6) Then cut out the soap on both sides of the head. Be careful not to cut the body while doing so.

swan4-1

7) Using the Thai knife, cut out the piece between the neck and the body of the swan.

swan5

You are almost done. In the next issue, we will go over the refining and finishing of the swan.

swan6

Kobi Gutman is the Head Butler at the Fort Harrison Retreat in Florida. He can be contacted via the Institute: enquiries @ modernbutlers.com

 

Letters to the EditorUntitled6

Just browsing over the first volume (of Serving the Wealthy): you seem to have thought of everything. It is a welcome edition that will become a masterpiece. I just love the reference sources and the detail. Thank you for the careful work you have put into these books. The second volume arrives tomorrow and they will both take pride of place in my new study. I have downloaded each e-book, too. WF

Amer1x1inch The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 17

Raspberry Russian

by Amer Vargas 

Raspberry Russian by Lindsay Landis

As the holiday season approaches, we prepare for what the cold winter brings, including the happiness generated by colorful Christmas lights, presents under the tree, and good food and company.

Today, we support the holiday season with a variation of a classic cocktail—a White Russian (yes, the Dude’s favorite in The Big Lebowski) turned into a Raspberry Russian by changing one of the ingredients.

In addition, we can muddle some raspberries in the glass before pouring the drink, thus creating a color combination similar to Santa’s outfit.

And, as presented in Lindsay Landis’ recipe at Food Fanatic, you can even make the cocktail tastier and more eye-appealing with raspberry ice cubes (fill each compartment of an ice-cube tray 3/4 with water and a fresh raspberry).

Following the traditional way of preparing the original concoction, one would first muddle three or four raspberries in the bottom of a lowball glass, then add three raspberry ice cubes, followed by 2 oz/6 cl of vodka, 1 oz/3 cl Raspberry Liqueur, and finish by topping up with cream (use light or heavy cream to taste).

Whilst the proportions of the alcoholic ingredients may vary, the resulting mix is always a sweet and smooth cocktail that would please most palates, especially if served with fruity desserts or bittersweet chocolate-based puddings.

Taste it! Enjoy it! And Happy Holidays!

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President and can be contacted via AmerVargas @ modernbutlers.com

Of Butlers, Roses, & Floral Arrangements, 

Cooking with Lavender Part 1 of 2

by GJ dePillis, Master Gardener

 

Now that the series on roses is complete, we have a short, two-part series on the use of lavender…by the chef. Few have considered culinary lavender to add complexity to some dishes. Consider adding a dash of lavender salt to dark chocolate. A la minute ice cream adds lavender to ice creams. Likewise, caramel or toffee are also rich enough to balance a distinct lavender taste. Or consider mixing lavender and lemon butter for a mild scallop dish. Lamb chops carry a hint of lavender well and add just the right dimension of flavor. Papaya, pineapple, and other sweet fruits work well when sprinkled with a sea-salt lavender, the sweetness being intensified and lightly perfumed. Lining the edge of a margarita glass with lavender salt instead of regular salt adds an additional dimension.

Lavender, photo by nehabnis
Lavender, photo by nehabnis

The 2004 edition of The Lavender Cookbook: Appetizers, Side dishes, Meat and Seafood, Breads, Desserts and More! by Sharon Shipley is a good resource.

The author recommends spiced lavender seasoning to rub on chicken, halibut, and ribs, for instance, the recipe for which follows. Some ingredients are toasted, then mixed with lavender buds, ground up, then added to a food processor to mix all ingredients. Imagine using this spicy mixture to rub on chicken, which is then roasted on a bed of apples, onions, dried apricots and pecans. Hmmm, a good Christmas dish, perhaps.

  • 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds (toasted in a dry skillet for about 2 minutes)
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seed (toasted in a dry skillet for about 2 minutes)
  • 2 tablespoons dried culinary Provence lavender buds
  • 2 tablespoons of dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of achiote rojo seasoning paste (a paste made of the annatto seed, found in most Mexican supermarkets.)
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt.

In next month’s article, we will look at how to employ lavender for an English Afternoon Tea.

Jeff Herman

Consulting the Silver Expert

 by Jeffrey Herman

Q: Will tarnish protectant in silver-polish harm me when using polished flatware to eat?

A: That depends on how sensitive you are to chemicals and natural ingredients. The thickness of the tarnish protectant left behind after polishing is probably no more than .0002″ (by comparison, the thickness of a human hair ranges between 0.0007 and 0.002 of an inch). If you feel uncomfortable at the prospect of digesting even a minute amount of tarnish protectant, it’s best to wash your flatware before using it.

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.

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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, November 2016, International Institute of Modern Butlers

BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 11

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

Message from the Chairman

Our thanks to the silent majority who took the trouble to let us know that the MBJ is on-target. As a result of the response, we will soon launch a new column that will canvas private service butlers around the world for their input on a variety of topics. Although not necessarily the most important subject, we will nevertheless make the first subject to address, just how butlers/household managers and silver intersect these days. Once a mainstay of the butler skillset, polishing silver seems to be a sideline at best for the majority. Otherwise, we have 40 topics lined up already, and that is after just ten minutes of thought. A number of our members have already volunteered to participate.

If you are a private service butler/household/estate(s) manager, current or retired, or know of someone who is, and would like to add your (or their) input so that we have larger numbers responding for a more accurate picture of our profession, then please contact us and we will add you to the list of butlers and household/estates managers. The duties are light: one email once a month (from Ms. Gretchen dePillis, our famous Rose Lady) with some specific questions. She may follow up by email or possibly even phone call to clarify any points.
We will also be starting another column—one that we did for about three issues in the early days of the MBJ—profiling butlers and household/estate(s) managers. If you would like to put forward a name and email address of an individual you feel would have a a story to tell, then please contact us about that, too.

One other point of interest: The first book for the profession was The British Butler’s Bible, which was expanded into Butlers and Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals. Well, that book, after riding high as the best-seller for the profession, is now being expanded into a two-volume set totaling 725 pages, with 150 photographs and extensive glossaries of hundreds of words. Entitled Serving the Wealthy, The Modern Butler’s & Household/Estate(s) Manager’s Companion, it should be available in November if you would like to add it to your library (print & electronic). For those who already have Butlers and Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals, we have a little surprise that should make your day, as a way of showing our appreciation to loyal readers.

Butlers in the Media

A politician in Brazil earned the nickname «The Butler» based on his reserved manner while negotiating deals between political rivals.

Robot Butlers: Alexa is a 150 GBP robot that is connected to the Internet. You wake it up by yelling its name, and then tell it what you want. The software on the Internet is its mind, and it will control various household functions, such as running baths or ordering taxis. As «skills» (apps) can be programmed by third parties, there may be little limit to its hearing and relay of its owner’s wishes, and execution of those wishes.

A robot that has multi functions and sports a video showing plastic emotions used to control people (such as a son threatening to turn off the football game because his father’s blood pressure rises to just over 100, which is normal range anyway) is another effort to take away jobs from humans. This robot-as-waiter, for instance, shows a picture of a dish to the diner as part of the order-taking process, but fails to check how they want their steak or offer alternative sides, drinks, etc. Maybe the robot could be programmed to do exactly what a waiter would do, but how desirable long-term is flat, emotionless service for human diners, even if it could be made efficient and on target, with just the right amount of upselling to enhance the guest experience without annoying them? Maybe a robot would appreciate this kind of service, but are “they” really going to start making consumer robots, too? The unreality of what these robot makers are bringing about is exemplified by the picture of a butler thrown on the screen while the voice-over talks about the robot being able to also take care of the potential owner’s housekeeping.

Butler «Things:» Someone has created a «string butler,» that allows guitar strings to stay in tune longer.

A «Wheelchair Butler» is an attachment to motorize a wheelchair.

Butler «People:» A «Gin Butler» now exists in an English pub offering a wide array of gins at its popular gin bar.

Also in England, a banquet manager position is being advertised as a «butler/house manager» and being offered just over minimum wage.

KobiGutmanSmallCreative Corner

Introduction to Soap Carving

by Kobi Gutman

Art is a wonderful tool to create a great effect and ‘wow’ guests, or any person for that matter. Whereas one might consider art to be related mainly to painting, sculpting and music, it actually spans many fields. I would even dare to say, every field.

Art has to do with aesthetics, or beauty. In the field of hospitality, there is no lack of opportunities humming-birdfor introducing beauty. Be it the design and cleanliness of the premises, the aesthetically presented dish in our restaurants, the perfectly mixed cocktail, the beautifully arranged flowers, the maintained and restored silver crafts, the crafted chocolate and the list goes on and on. These are all products of art and artists. These, together with superlative service (which is an art in and of itself) leave a remarkable impression and create a great experience for all. Not to mention the contribution for reputation, income, and longevity of the business.

During research I was conducting on fruit carving, I encountered a unique form of art—soap carving. dolphinWe’ve all seen the soap that is stamped with the hotel logo or some other design. Unfortunately, in a mass-production-oriented society such as ours, these tend to go by without taking away anybody’s breath. That, however, can be changed.

In the next issue I will provide step-by-step instructions for soap carving. In the meantime, here are a few examples of what I am talking about. And yes, these are all soaps….

gold-soap-horse

 

Kobi Gutman is the Head Butler at the Fort Harrison Retreat in Florida. He can be contacted via the Institute: enquiries @ modernbutlers.com

 

Letters to the EditorUntitled6

“Would you be so kind as to tell me what a Butler Internship is?” RC

Ed: Well, when you can find one (and they are few and far between these days), it is like any other internship: you do all the work under the supervision of an experienced butler, are paid not much above room and board, and walk away with a) experience, b) a better resume, and c) a leg-up into a professional position that those who may have some school training but no experience, lack, and so are not so attractive to potential employers. What your duties are depend upon whom you may find who is offering an internship, and the duties of the butler in that estate.

Some years ago, we had an arrangement with the British Embassy in DC, but not for a while now; and there is Blenheim Palace in England that offers an internship for two butlers each year. Or they did last year at least. There may well be others. The best would be to proposition butlers in larger estates and ask if they and their employer would benefit from such an arrangement.

“Very kind, thank you. The ‘not much pay’ part, reminds me of the Royal Family. Dripping with cash and yet they pay their staff like junkyard dogs. Mind you, I have to say, they were always the perfect guests to have stay when I used to work in Govt. Houses years ago and Ma’am always ensured we went off duty at nine pm or earlier and always left a half-decent gratuity for us. I really wanted to go back into private service, but at my age, and having been out of it for quite a few years, I don’t think I can muster the energy and money to force my way back into it again.” RC

Ed: Age does not have anything to do with it, unless you are physically infirm. You are obviously not mentally incompetent. With your apparent experience, you are not in need of an internship at all. You should be able to dust off your resume/CV and strut your stuff to agencies. No need for any funds to return to the game. As for energy, it is amazing how much returns when one feels revitalized toward a specific and desired goal. Any other reasons not to?

“You’re an excellent mentor” RC

Postscript: It looks like Blenheim Palace may not be offering internships anymore, but they are currently offering a one-month course for aspiring butlers.

Amer1x1inch The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 16

by Amer Vargas 

Cubalibre

Cubalibre, photo by Martin Belam
Cubalibre, photo by Martin Belam

This time we visit La Habana, capital of Cuba, to discover the what, how, when, and why of one of the most famous cocktails worldwide, the Cubalibre.

The origin of this mix dates from the first years of the 20th century, when the US was helping the local inhabitants of Cuba to overthrow the Spanish government. History says that US soldiers regularly ordered Ron (rum) Bacardi on the rocks topped with Coca-Cola. The freshness of the mix, the fizziness of the cola, and the mood-lifting rum prompted the drinkers to toast their shared objective: ¿Por Cuba Libre! (For the Freedom of Cuba!)

The Cubalibre preparation is very easy and doesn’t require the fancy use of a cocktail shaker. Rather, it is served directly in a highball (although it was originally served in a lowball) with two or three rocks of ice. Then we add about 4.5 cl (1.5 oz) of white rum or golden rum (stored in oak or cherry tree barrels during production), after which the glass is topped up with cola (approximately 10 cl/3.5 oz); tilting the glass 45o and pouring it gently will help maintain the bubbles a little longer. The mix is generally garnished with a lemon slice. Although the custom is dying out, the Cubalibre was traditionally served with a few drops of lemon juice, adding a citric kick to the drink. In any case, a straw is always used as decoration.

The Cubalibre is sweet and tastes little of alcohol, making it too easy to drink—so remember that it is a long drink that should be enjoyed over a period of about 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy (responsibly)!

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President and can be contacted via AmerVargas @ modernbutlers.com

Of Butlers, Roses, & Floral Arrangements, 

Other Arrangements, Part 30 of 30

by GJ dePillis, Master Gardener

DRIED: After flowers have dried out, you can preserve them and place them in a paper rose stem.

CRESCENT SHAPES: Some would like a bouquet to be in a crescent shape, for which one needs a curved wire form. In addition to the crescent shape, some people like to add ribbons, and line the inside of the crescent with velvet ribbon to prevent slipping when placed on a young girl’s head, to form a headband made with fresh (thorn free) flowers. Silicone can also prevent slippage.

WRIST CORSAGES: Use a form that is comfortable for the wrist, yet still allows the wearer to display the flowers comfortably.

LIGHTS: For a pop of the modern, one can add a spray of lights to an arrangement http://www.save-on-crafts.com/fiberoptics1.html

BOUTONNIERES: Gentlemen can wear boutonnières. Take a small bloom with no more than 1” of stem, and one tiny accent flower and wrap with floral tape. The guard petals can be left on the blooms or removed. Cut 18 gauge floral wire and slide through the calyx (the green base of the bloom), then bend it down to guard the stem and keep the bloom upright. Cover the wire with tightly wound floral tape so the wire does not show. Then add in any accent flowers and tape all the stems together. One can accent the creation with a colored ribbon. Refrigerate at about 40F for no more than for one full day before the event. Oh, yes, and of course include a pin, or if you choose to wrap in wire, try a holder.

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

Jeff Herman Consulting the Silver Expert

 by Jeffrey Herman

Announcing…the winner of the Herman’s Simply Clean Collectors Silver polish kit contest was Ms. Vicki Newton—congratulations, and may your silver shine!

 

Q: I have just started collecting silver. Are there any silver magazines you’d recommend?

A: I would recommend subscribing to Silver Magazine, PO Box 10246, Greensboro NC 27404. T: 866 841-0112

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.

Categorías
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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2016, International Institute of Modern Butlers

BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 10

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

Message from the Chairman

 This will be the shortest MBJ ever published in our almost 13 years.
We had the usual lengthy and information-filled MBJ ready to go when a plug-in update magically (as in Black Magic) evaporated every single link on our web site. After prolonged contact with, and insistence that a remedy be provided by, our web host, we managed to salvage the web site, but not, alas, the most recent MBJ.
Which in a way is something we can turn to advantage—to ask that you let us know what you like or do not like about the MBJ, so we can focus on what is useful for you.
And here’s the kicker: if not enough people respond, we will discontinue the journal.
What has us thinking is that very few people responded to the offer for a free silver cleaning set in the last MBJ—and for something that should and used to be close to the heart of every butler, that made us wonder. From preliminary research, it seems not so many butlers are polishing silver anymore! Horrors! Or maybe good!
But either way, if we are writing for an audience that is proceeding in a different direction that we thought, then we need to adjust our message and focus.
So, please, let us know by communicating or not communicating!
Thank you,
Steven Ferry
Chairman
Categorías
Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, September 2016, International Institute of Modern Butlers

BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 9

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

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.

KobiGutmanSmallCreative Corner

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:

Strawberries
The eyes and nose are made of marzipan, and the irises of chocolate

 

 

 

Kermit the frog is made very simply using a Granny Smith apple. His eyes are Kermitmade 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.

 

2 cows

 

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.

 

 

wolf howlingYou 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

 

From Anantara Tangalle in Sri Lanka
Photographed at Anantara Tangalle in Sri Lanka

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!

Amer1x1inch The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

 

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 15

by Amer Vargas 

Planter’s Punch

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.

Photo by Achim Schleuning
Photo by Achim Schleuning

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.

Cheers!

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

Mechanical Tips

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.

  1. If you construct your arrangement underwater, only use distilled water, or the color of the leaves and flowers will leech away over time.
  1. Reportedly, daffodils are «bullies» amongst flowers, tending to emit an unfriendly «aura» to non-similar flowers. Therefore, only arrange daffodils with other bulbed flowers.
  1. 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.
  1. Warm bear grass with your hands to encourage a curl, pin it, and then let it cool in cool air.
  1. 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.
  1. Kenzan 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Foam etcIf 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

Jeff Herman Consulting the Silver Expert

 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.»

hermans-450You’ll probably appreciate the following about Herman’s Simply Clean:

  • 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;
  • Non-toxic;
  • Earth-friendly;
  • pH: 7.5;
  • Fragrance-free;
  • 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.

Categorías
Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, August 2016, International Institute of Modern Butlers

BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 8

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

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).

HHALVCVAJoe 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

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

KobiGutmanSmallCreative Corner

How to Carve an Apple, Part 3: Detailing

by Kobi Gutman

 

Pumpkin appleHaving 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 tMickey mouseo 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.

DolphinThis technique brings out the details and brings your work up to a higher and more professional level.

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

Amer1x1inch The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 14

by Amer Vargas 

Singapore Sling

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.

Original Singapore Sling at the Raffles Singapore, photo by James Cridland
Original Singapore Sling, photographed at the Raffles Singapore, photo (c) by James Cridland

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.

  1. 3%22 miniaturePlace a perfect-square piece of cardboard behind the arrangement to check proportions;
  2. Leave a margin around the edge of the board, just as in formatting a document;
  3. Do not allow anything nearby to betray the scale of the piece;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. 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.
  7. 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;
  8. 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;»
  9. 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

Jeff Herman Consulting the Silver Expert

 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.

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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, July 2016, International Institute of Modern Butlers

 

BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 7

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

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

20 - Bleach

Butlers in the Media

Grant Harrold has been generating much media in Australia as he tours the country providing lessons on etiquette. It is refreshing to see a butler who used to be in the service of the British royal family, who understands discretion and loyalty.

This article in the Washington Post lists seven smart phone applications that promise to be one’s «personal butler.» And one restaurant offers «butler service:» a pull-down menu for online ordering that allows diners to customize their dining experience with additional services and products.

Then we have a company that uses eco-friendly products and has decided to call itself The Green Butler.

In Texas, a position is now open for «Doorstep Valet Trash Butler,» whose duties are to pick up trash at an apartment and take it to the dumpster. Qualifications: Driver’s license and pick-up truck. It may be hard to top this when it comes to appropriating the butler monicker.

An article on medical concierges is advertised as «butler services» when it offers no such thing. Real butlers do exist in some hospitals who provide butler services, and these are distinct from the advisory concierge services being described in the article. Similarly confused is the airport butler web site , which talks about butler concierges who provide concierge type services.

Finally, a source that is fairly accurate when it comes to advising on butler salaries.

The digital butler in Rolls Royces has already been let go to join the lines of digital butlers on the dole (receiving unemployment benefits), according to the latest Royce concept car: he has been replaced by Eleanor, who serves not only as a personal assistant but also as the chauffeur.

Buckingham Palace is looking for a Trainee Butler, all training provided and a great start to a career, according to the posting.

Photo by Mostafa Al Saghir of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
Photo by Mostafa Al Saghir of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

If our Egyptian and Indian forebears are anything to go by, then it could also be a great start to one’s death: the burial tombs of four royal butlers who served 3,000-3,500 years ago have just been opened to the public in Egypt.

The Butler's Mausoleum in New Delhi, Photo (c) by Words & Images
The Butler’s Mausoleum in New Delhi, Photo (c) by Words & Images

Then there is the mausoleum built in what is now New Delhi by a Prince for his butler about 600 years ago.

Some bosses do show their appreciation!

 

 

Letters to the Editor

Thank you for the last Journal discussion on robot butlers. My opinion is that we should not be too concerned about all this supposed invasion of robot-like “butlers.” Apart from the misleading use of the word “butler,” which is indeed very annoying, no machine will ever be able to reproduce the work of “butlers” as well as the work of any other professional role in any other working organisation. That is because the main quality of butlers is organisational skills. Butlers, as well as all the other roles developing from the butler figure, from household manager to estate manager, manage the resources and the people of one or more properties. Saying that a machine can reproduce the butler’s job is like saying that a robot will reproduce the work of any other organisation manager, director, or executive. Obviously, it cannot. No one expects a company manager’s job to be replaced by robots, so why should anyone expect the contrary when it comes to butlers? The same rationale applies to all private service/ hospitality roles. Dealing with human nature is hard enough already for a human, let alone for a machine.

Even if we want to downsize the role of butlers to performing simple tasks, they are never quite that simple and always require the intervention of human judgment.

The industry is today threatened by other, more contemporary issues, such as the lack of appreciation for professional household management expertise and professionalism; the level of salaries (which lag) far behind the commitment and responsibility involved in a household management career; an over-supply of unskilled, unqualified and unexperienced staff spoiling the market that is reducing the level of salaries;  and a number of unprofessional agents who care more about their commissions than the reputation of the industry. GL

Ed: Thank you for the feedback. I wish you were correct about Artificial Intelligence robots not taking over many jobs, including butlers and managers. The programming of dexterity, and even judgement and morals is becoming increasingly sophisticated, as this article shows, but the reality is still far short of the hype, as this article shows. It is a longer-term issue (15 years at least), and our best strategy is to reassert live communication and service as preferable to programmed service, in the eyes of the employers and guests. But if their sense of the value of humanity and live communication and service is eroded to the point where they just want efficient service and see no real benefit from human interaction with all the concomitant (naturally accompanying) foibles and expenses, then we lose the battle. If you think this is not a realistic concern,  then I suggest you consider the many elements of human affairs today that defy logic and common sense, which are yet accepted as normal.  I agree, there are more pressing concerns for the profession at the moment, but the approaching robot tsunami is of greater concern, even if it be just a ripple in the distance at the moment; we need to seek the high ground now if the profession is to be more than a historical footnote in some Robot Butler’s household manual fifty years from now.

KobiGutmanSmallCreative Corner

How to Carve an Apple, Part 2, The Use of the Stencil

by Kobi Gutman

Using a stencil makes carving easier, faster, and much more accurate. Although the procedure is quite simple, there are a few points worth mentioning.

The basic procedure

Place three or four copies of your design in a word document, each copy slightly larger than the one before it, and print.

Choose the size that best fits the apple. A design that is too small for the apple will lose its effect.
StencilCut out that design and tape it on the apple. However, there is a correct way to do this, otherwise the flat paper being taped onto the round apple will result in a distorted image. So when cutting, leave a large margin all around. Then position the paper on the apple and tape it on one side (doesn’t matter which one). Then stretch it from the opposite side and tape that side. The difficulty begins when trying to tape the remaining two sides. This is best solved by pressing the paper against the apple, flattening the image as much as possible, and then folding the margined areas before taping. As the photo shows, the folds and distortions are mainly in the margined areas. The letter ‘C’ is slightly distorted but will not affect the final result because it is easy to compensate for when carving.

As you begin to carve, another issue can present itself with the stencil: the paper becomes wet and so hard to cut through. Two situations can cause the paper to become wet:

a)  the apple being stored in a refrigerator in a hot climate, and then being removed and “sweating” due to the difference in temperature. The solution is to remove the apple from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature until it is no longer sweating, before taping the stencil.

b) The juicy flesh of the apple being cut and wetting the stencil. The way to deal with this is to cut the more delicate and intricate parts of the design first, leaving the larger areas of the design until the end, as these can be easily cut even when wet. In this example, my sequence was to start with the eye and the nose areas, then the small white areas in the ear, neck, and back, then the cub’s left ear, then the cub’s outline, and finally, the outline of the ‘C’.

Result of stencilOnce done with carving the design, remove the paper and tape, draw the frame, and finish the carving.

Here is the final result—the logo of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, the guest’s favorite team.

Kobi Gutman is the Head Butler at the Fort Harrison Retreat in Florida. He can be contacted via the Institute: enquiries @ modernbutlers.com

Using one’s artistic talents to create little touches for employers or guests is done by butlers around the world. This one from a butler at Per Aquum’s Niyama resort in the Maldives, painted on a bedroom mirror for guests on the last night of their fourth return visit, commemorating a sailing trip they had undertaken on a dhoni, the local craft.

turndownart

Recent Graduates

The Institute’s training continues in private estates and resorts around the world, with skills honed and confidence increased for all who attend.

Here are some of the graduates of training conducted this month at Atlantis—The Cove and Royal Towers—on Paradise Island, the Bahamas.

Group2 (1)

Group3 (1)

And the photo below shows some of the graduates (mainly butlers, but also other departments) at Niyama in the Maldives.

Niyamagraduation1

 

Amer1x1inch The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 13

by Amer Vargas 

Appletini or Apple Martini

We are skipping James Bond’s favorite cocktail, the Martini, to talk about a classic cocktail whose versatility pleases many drinkers. The apple martini or appletini is the choice of many who appreciate the tangy kick of apple combined with the warmth of the other ingredients in this fruity mix. It has appeared in many TV shows and movies: From JD Dorian in the sitcom Scrubs, to Alan Harper in Two and a Half Men, and even Ted Mosby at How I met your Mother. 

Appletini, photo by Jon Sullivan
The Appletini, photo (c) by Jon Sullivan

Despite being very young as a cocktail—being invented in 1997—it already has many variations. The original recipe seems to have only two ingredients: vodka and apple schnapps, mixed in the shaker with ice, strained in a classic cocktail glass and garnished with an apple slice. But that recipe can be enhanced with different splashes that give an extra kick to it, like with a splash of dry vermouth, a bit of lime juice or even sour mix. Or if you want to give the cocktail an extra tanginess, you can also use a green vodka or change the apple schnapps for Calvados (a liquor made out of the distillation of apple cider).

Whatever your choice may be, enjoy!

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President and can be contacted via AmerVargas @ modernbutlers.com

 

1st Hotel Butler Convention Held in the Dominican Republic

Dominican republic

Organized by Mr. Osvaldo Torres Cruz of Hotelería de la Experiencia, attendees from the major hotels with butler service in the Dominican Republic discussed the characteristics and duties of the butler, services offered by the hotel butler, and the relationship with other departments and management, as well as the training required and the qualifications for hiring.

We encourage other countries or regions to hold similar events and help establish and raise standards for the profession.

Of Butlers and Roses, Part 27 of 30

by GJ dePillis, Master Gardener

Miniature Floral Arrangements, Part 1 of 4

As the fog clung to the ground one early morning, I joined floral enthusiasts from across the region for a seminar in the California Botanical Gardens.  We had come to learn from Joyce Dean, judge and winning contestant at more floral shows than one can shake a tulip at.

Ms. Dean is a member of the Garden and Floral Arrangers Guild and came armed with seasoned advice and tips on how to take flowers from the garden and arrange them into delightful miniature arrangements, encouraging creativity all the while. She also encouraged us to persuade our groundskeepers to plant varieties that would bloom early, mid-, and late-season so there would be ample supplies for floral arrangements in the house, without having to call upon florists.

3#arrangementRAWe were guided through the techniques of making a three-inch miniature arrangements, as well as an eight-inch designs. Such tiny floral arrangements are perfect “pick me ups” for those convalescing in hospital. Butlers or staff can create them as bedside arrangements for overnight guests, farewell gifts for guests, or for use on each setting at the table, to be taken away by guests as a memento of the evening.

Tools required are very basic: small scissors, toothpick, tweezers, and a small piece of water-soaked floral foam or other system for supporting the flowers, such as straws or «needle pads.»

3%22 designsRAny flowers from the garden will work. We used Iris straps (leaves), Horsetail grass (Equisetum), Aurelia and Philodendron leaves. As a standard filler, we had Baby’s breath, Misty white flowers, Ming fern, Electric blue sage, Geranium, Parsley, etc.

In the next articles, I will provide design tips, and mechanical tips.

Until next time; 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

 

 

 

Jeff Herman Consulting the Silver Expert

 by Jeffrey Herman

Q: Why is there a metallic taste when drinking coffee or tea?

A: This is usually caused by a tea or coffee pot with worn plating inside, exposing the base metal underneath. Discontinue using such pots until the interiors have been re-plated.

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.

Categorías
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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, June 2016, International Institute of Modern Butlers

BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 12, issue 6

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Teaching Right Mindset, People Skills, & Superior-service Expertise

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

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 he was retired and so no longer beholden to our standards. One could also say he was entitled to express his opinion in accordance with the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution that protects the right to freedom of speech. One could even say he was right in his views, and applaud his passion and concern for the welfare of the country, which he feels is being betrayed—for not much raises the hackles higher and faster than a sense of being betrayed.

On the other hand, one would tend to look askance at any professional who did not live by the standards of the profession, one of which includes discretion and the ability to communicate succinctly in a way that skewers the truth without upsetting many around with gratuitous venting that is designed to stir others to irrational action versus a measured presentation of the facts that enables others to make up their own minds toward constructive action. One would also expect a professional to have some foresight when it comes to the consequences of his or her own words for others—his former employer in particular—who felt compelled to disavow his erstwhile butler because his statements were not in alignment with the image he was attempting to portray in his bid for the presidency of the United States. One could also point out that the butler profession was not enhanced by the way in which the former butler expressed his ideas; and that his former employer was not well served by having his butler ride on his coat tails (add weight to his own ideas by advertising his former connection with Donald Trump).

What would I have done?

As Facebook is a public venue, not a private and confidential line, I would have recognized that my ideas ultimately would be unearthed by trolls or others attempting to smear my former employer. I would simply have expressed my sentiments under a nom de plume so that there was no connection with, and blowback for, my former employer—and in a more constructive tenor, so that perhaps some forward progress would come of my communications.

Butlers in the Media

A similar story to that of Donald Trump’s butler that was revised this month is the expose of the ex-butler for Phosa, a politician in South Africa. If you can follow this convoluted web of claims, counter claims, and lies, you are a better man/woman than I. But one thing is clear: when a butler eavesdrops on the conversations of guests and employers, and worse, then takes sides/action based upon what he thinks he heard, he violates a fundamental principal of the profession and invites trouble for all concerned.

If you are familiar with manga (Japanese cartoons, comic books, and animated films, typically having a fantasy theme), you may wonder why we have never highlighted the butlers, and specifically the Black Butler that features in them. To be frank, it is because the genre and subject seemed so puerile (childishly trivial) that they were not worth mentioning. However, the Japanese cartoon butler has grown into a sub-culture that is here to stay —and one can expect to see no limits to the imagination when it comes to how these butlers are portrayed. At least they tend to be rooted in the classic qualities of the traditional butler.

Equally out in left field is a euphemism (using a mild word or phrase as a substitute for a crude term when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing) that seems to have come into being recently for those into the sexual deviancy that is becoming increasingly common in society these days: «Calling the butler» now means to use someone as a sex slave: to have someone who can be called upon at any time for personal gratification. The misconception of our profession is obvious, but one would not expect people who call upon the butler in such a manner, to appreciate such niceties.

Hotel butlers are working hard to find ways to impress their guests—some creative, some far fetched—but if the guests appreciate it, who are we to judge? In another article, however, claiming to be about over-the-top hotel butler services, we have a compendium of no less than 16 services offered that are called «____ Butler» and whose only connection to butlers is that they offer a superior service of some kind and simply retitle the provider as a «____ Butler»—several of these being new to us: Oyster Butler, Serenity Butler, Picnic Butler, BBQ Butler, Ski Butler, Sunglasses Butler, Dog Butler, Fragrance Butler, Energizer Butler, Broadway Butler, Amphibious Butler, Ambiance Butler, Tartan Butler, Hydrotherapy Butler, and even a Bonfire Butler.

Along the same line, we have the «Pet Butler,» a franchised service being offered: «Picking up where your dog left off, since 1988.» At least these are human butlers. «Leo the Baggage Butler,» on the other hand, is now being piloted at Geneva airport—he or she is actually an «it,» another in the long list of «robot butler sub-professions» that has been brought into service over the last few years. As a note, Geneva airport introduced a customer service robot three years ago; KLM introduced the Spencer robot at Schiphol Airport half a year ago to guide passengers to their departure gate. Paris airport is piloting biometric robots for immigration officers that scan passports and record passenger images.

Predictably, Travelzoo found 80% of 6,000 people surveyed expect robots to play a large part in our lives in the next few years, 75% believing they will improve our lives and 66% feel comfortable with the use of robots by the travel industry: 92% of the Chinese being very comfortable with the concept, while the French and Germans were the least welcoming to the trend. In the article from which we are quoting, it also states that «At least 24,000 [robot butlers] are used worldwide in professional services, at a cost of $3.8 billion, according to the International Federation of Robots. In the Travelzoo survey, 81 per cent said robots would be better at handling data and that their untiring energy would be an advantage.» While we have been beating the drum for the increase in personable and live interactions as opposed to the canned/programmed approach to service interactions, it’s clear that we are swimming against the tide. If the ubiquity of maddening/frustrating company/government answering-machine trees is not an adequate warning of what to expect when all service interactions become automated, then we deserve everything we will experience! Mass-production «service» is the complete antithesis of the solicitous service style of butlers, in which the individual being addressed is the most important person in the world. If you agree, then we need to work hard and fast together to re-assert humanity in service.

Zenbo, developed by a company called Asus, is the latest home robot entering the increasingly crowded market for robot butlers.

In an article entitled Robot Butler’s Creativity Surprises Its Own Makers “We never taught it that,” Carnegie Mellon’s HERB robot is making progress on being able to act intelligently in the random clutter of a home—a much harder environment for programming than a factory floor where a robot has one set pattern package of actions. The goal of the program is to create a robot for the home rather than the factory floor.

An article about Georgia Tech’s robot butler, Nimbus, is entitled Your Robot Butler Is Ready to Serve (and Learn), meaning it can learn from any human, not just its programmer.

Are you formulating an idea yet about this robot butler trend? Will you be let go for having all the undesirable human foibles and weaknesses, such as wanting to be paid and take sick leave and not working 24/7/365, and be expected, as the final insult, to turn over your butler manual and position to a robot within the next decade? Don’t count on it not being so!

In another article, a butler-presented picnic is offered for 35 GBP per person—one has to suspect the quality of the offering, given the pricing.

We found a «Coffee and Tea» butler, which is a tray designed by an individual for use for her own guests, to present tea or coffee. The convenience of the design to the guest being the qualifier for the «butler» moniker.

We recently saw an advertisement for «An extensive program on professional luxury butler service» that offered a 5-day training period resulting in «7-star» service. Come on, colleagues, let’s be real! I am sure your program is good, but let’s not fall into the hyperbole (exaggeration) that plagued the cereal manufacturers in the 1960s, when promoting how big their box was: it is hard to beat «ginormous» (a combination word from «gigantic» and enormous»), but they managed to find words in the English language that communicated even bigger than «ginormous.» Yet were the boxes really «ginormous?» In the end, did mothers in the shopping isles pay attention to the claims on the boxes?

A Guardian newspaper article highlighted an anomaly for us: why is there the almost universal tendency to headline as «digital butlers» the functions of a Personal Assistant? A headline invariably reads «Digital Butler» yet the text is all about PA-type functions being offered by some software or gizmo. The two functions are royally confused at the corporate and media levels, and thus no doubt in the public mind in general.

Letters to the Editor

«Dear Sir/Madam, I work for a wealthy and powerful family in Connecticut and am facing a quandary: I have «Felt The Bern» as the youngsters say, and very much would prefer Bernie Sanders to be president. However, my patron is a supporter of, and has met socially with, Donald Trump. My employer does not know of my political beliefs. Should I vote as I wish, or should I adhere to the wishes of the principal and help Donald Trump secure the presidency in the small way that I can with my one vote?»

Editor: You are your own person, and so should vote as you see fit. The days of being paid or “encouraged” to vote as desired by the Lord of the estate are holdovers from feudal times encroaching on democratic times. The whole purpose of a democracy is that everyone votes as they see fit based on information to hand; if democracy is operating as it should, that vote will be counted accurately and honored to result in a candidate desired by the majority (poignant, when you mention Mr. Sanders, given his experiences to date in various State primaries, as reported in the media). You have a duty to society and yourself, as well as your employer. The duty to the employer is to assist him in every way possible in his household and personal life. Any obligation does not extend to outside the household in matters such as politics. It should not need to be said that you would keep your choice to yourself, even if asked by the employer.

KobiGutmanSmallCreative Corner

How to Carve an Apple, Part 1

by Kobi Gutman

For the last few years I’ve been developing and practicing the art of apple carving (and related techniques, such as making soap) as part of my job as a Butler, in order to customize the fruit amenities given to guests on arrival and at turndown, or for special occasions. It is quite simple to do, unique, and being custom-made for the guest, it creates quite an effect. It doesn’t take much time at all and, to be honest, is quite fun for the Butler as well.

I intend, over the next few months, to share these various techniques so that other butlers around the world, whether in private service or hospitality, can offer their employers/guests the same solicitousness [showing interest or concern; eagerness to do something for another] and attention to detail.

The implements that you’ll need are as follows: Apple, knife (I use an X-Acto knife) and lemon (to prevent oxidation of the apple). For more complex designs, you might need a printer and some Scotch tape.

Definitions

I have made up my own terms, which while they may be fairly obvious, need to be defined to ensure no confusion:

Carving an apple

Draw – to make grooves with a knife of the desired figure or design;

Frame – the shape that surrounds the figure. In the image to the right, it is the oval that surrounds the frog;

Cut out – to remove pieces of the flesh of the apple. In the image, the area between the frog and the frame is cut out and therefore embossed (a design carved on a surface that stands out);

Peel – to remove the skin of the apple without cutting out the flesh beneath it. In this image, it is the design within the frog’s body.

Technique

  1. Choose the right apple—I only use bright red apples, such as Red Delicious, not green nor yellow, because the contrast between the flesh and the skin is excellent in red. Visually inspect the apple for any bruised, rotten, or over-ripe spots, and lightly press any suspect spots to see if they may be soft to the touch. The apple should be firm and red all over. It is not fun to discover such a spot after you have already put in time carving. I also recommend paying attention to the shape of the apple to make sure it will fit the type of design you wish to carve. A horizontal design (such as text, for example), will look better on a wider apple;
  2. Draw the figure or design that you wish. Note: For a more complicated design, or even for a simple one, it is easier, faster, and more accurate to print the desired image, cut it out with the knife, tape it onto the apple, and use this stencil to cut the pattern into the apple. I will explain the technique for this in Part 2;
  3. Draw the frame;
  4. Either cut out or peel the area between the frame and the design and any other areas that are needed, according to your design. When cutting out the flesh, do it in small pieces, one piece at a time;
  5. Spray lemon juice as you go so the apple doesn’t go brown.

I suggest practicing with simple designs to acquire the feel of how the technique works: Draw a heart shape on an apple, for instance, draw a circle around it as the frame, and cut out the area in between. You can even draw a small bean shape toward the top of the heart and peel it in order to add a small highlight/reflection of light. Remember to «lemonize’ as you go.

In the next part, I will provide some tips and tricks, as well as  explain the ‘print method’ in more detail.

Kobi Gutman is the Head Butler at the Fort Harrison Retreat in Florida. He can be contacted via the Institute: enquiries @ modernbutlers.com

Amer1x1inch The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 12

by Amer Vargas 

The Silk Stocking Cocktail

Today, we take the name of a 1950’s Broadway musical and film to talk about a seductive and smooth cocktail initially made for ladies, but nowadays, enjoyed by anyone who appreciates a delicious apéritif or after-dessert drink.

There is not much information regarding the origin of this cocktail, but it’s thought to have been created during the 1920’s, at a time when cocktails were named with innuendo and sensuality in mind. Its pink color catered to the kind of drinkers for which it was created.

As a trivia, in the «every cocktail has a day» calendar of barmen, the Silk Stockings cocktail day is October 24th, in homage to the day in 1939 when nylon stockings appeared for the first time at New York’s World Fair, thereby sending silk stockings into the history books.

This beautiful cocktail is as successful as it is easy to prepare, requiring just 1.5 oz/45 ml of Tequila blanco (white, not aged), 0.5 oz/15 ml of Crème de Cacao, 1 oz/30 ml of Cream, and a dash of Grenadine. Place ice into a classic cocktail glass to cool it, and more ice into a shaker, together with all the ingredients, and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Discard the ice in the cocktail glass and strain the shaker into the glass. Finish with a flick of cinnamon powder. While the original recipe doesn’t ask for it, some bartenders like to add a raspberry or a maraschino cherry to add a color accent.

Sweet, soft, and with the kick that all tequila-based drinks have.

Enjoy!

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President and can be contacted via AmerVargas @ modernbutlers.com

Of Butlers and Roses, Part 26 of 30

by GJ dePillis

Planning the Rose Garden for Security and Beauty

In terms of planting, each rose variety has attributes that would determine its optimal location; in addition, it also has a growth pattern that best suits certain planting locations—whether large pots, hedges, over brick walls, on latticed arches, along walkways, etc. Roses with a strong fragrance, for instance, are best located near where people sit or pass, so they can appreciate the bouquets; thorny roses would best be placed where burglars need to be deterred discreetly. And this security aspect is the focus of this month’s article.

According to Allstate Insurance Blog, arranging a landscape to deter burglars is called CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design). The insurance company highlights four things that one should be aware of when working with the gardening staff to ensure the safety of one’s employer’s family and assets. Coldwell Banker Real Estate also advises home security through thorny landscaping.

  • See & Be Seen: Use thorny rose bushes under windows and keep them to about 3 ft in height so that the area is still visible to neighbors and staff and does not provide “cover” for any intruder;

    Gertrude Jeckyll, rose and photo by David Austin Roses
    Gertrude Jeckyll, rose and photo by David Austin
  • Natural Access: Control the flow of people by providing clear lighting and pathways. Deter curious visitors from wandering into areas that are off-limits by use of “roadblocks,” such as boarder hedges of fragrant roses that entice passers by to stop and smell the roses while deterring them from crossing over the floral “fence.” Opt for open decorative iron fences laced with climbing and thorny roses. Lay gravel rock on the paths that not only deters weeds, but also creates sound with each step, alerting guard dogs and residents of an approaching visitor. Additionally, consider motion-sensitive solar powered lights. Avoid obscuring your employer’s home from public view, leaving enough of the house visible to neighbors or staff so they can notice intruders and alert authorities;
  • Territorial Reinforcement: in those estates that are open to public tours, clearly mark with signs and reinforce with landscaping, which areas are private and which are open to the public. The same can be done for any property that is not open to the public;
  • Maintenance: The “broken window theory” claims that if something is left in a state of disrepair, it encourages others to vandalize it and dump trash/rubbish there. If not for reason of aesthetics and pride, then at least for notions of security, it becomes imperative, therefore, that the gardening staff ensure the grounds are always well maintained, so as to dissuade or discourage those tending to act on their mischievous instincts.

Ms. dePillis is a freelance contributor to the Journal who is based on the West Coast of the United States. She can be reached via depillis @ gmail.com

Jeff Herman Consulting the Silver Expert

 by Jeffrey Herman

Q: Will a crystal salt lamp tarnish silver in its vicinity?

A: Salt molecules in the air will corrode silver. I do not know whether heat from the bulb in the salt lamp accelerates the dispersal of the salt, but I would not place salt anywhere near silver. On a related note, to prevent corrosion, empty the salt from silver salt shakers after each meal, rinse thoroughly with warm, running water, and dry with a soft cotton towel.

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.