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Butler standards Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2018, Butlers In the Media

Steven FerryButlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

Conrad Hotels announces a Room Butler whose duties are simply those of In Room Dining. Similarly, almost, we now have Bag Butlers—systems for easily bagging leaves in the autumn; The Laundry Butler (used to be called a Clothes Horse, but maybe horses objected to the stereotyping??); and The Medi Butler, which facilitates the removal of compression stockings.

If marketers keep it up, the word «butler» will have as many meanings, and as much actual meaning, as the words «get» and «got.»

An interesting article in the Miami Herald on the inroads robot butlers are making into hotels and resorts.

An article entitled The Life of a Modern-Day Butler contains some interesting information and perspectives—the last paragraph being nicely stated: «When they’re doing the job well, it looks like they’re doing nothing at all. They’re the invisible helpers, the cogs that keep things running in the most powerful, influential households on Earth. Because when it comes to keeping the personal lives of the world’s most powerful people moving along, the old line turns out to be true: ‘The butler did it.'»

Lastly, the second in a three-part series by the Chairman was published in various venues this month. The series covers the need for Quality Assurance programs for hotels and resorts to be modernized in many ways, including having standards for butler service. The whole concept is being very well received by managers and owners of hotels and resorts around the world.

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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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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Newsletter

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

 

The Modern Butlers’ Journal

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

There is nothing quite like Paris in the spring and summer, those warm days and long evenings, the magnificent buildings, the focus on fashion, the flowers, the arts, the food, the wine…. What is there not to love about Paris—and the Parisians, who are courteous at first, friendly soon enough? All I can say is that the world would be a poorer place without the French culture to give it color and reason.

We are happy to announce that the Modern Butlers’ web site has had a make-over—part of which is a new look for the Modern Butlers’ Journal.

Butlers in the Media

A pleasant article about a long-term butler in Hong Kong.

And an article entitled «Which virtual butler will command the servants in your smart home?» Really? We seem to be moving closer to the surreal prospect of The Battle for Supremacy of the SuperButlers. One caption reads: «Smart home needs a smart butler.» How about a live and intelligent butler who is trained to use computerized systems as servo mechanisms? Where does the idea come from that people are not necessary? A robot-like human who has lost any sign of life? Or a robot that has been programmed to make humans obsolete? Both options seem to lead to the same source: a human that has lost his or her humanity.

So the latest robot butler can walk up stairs, open doors, and iron wrinkles. The article does not say whether it can do any of these actions with any degree of finesse.

The Attraction of Online Courses

An independent survey was conducted recently which found that

  • People like to learn at home more than anywhere else;
  • If they have a choice between learning on computers, tablets, mobile phones or reading a printed document; they pick a computer. Mobile phones came last;
  • The preferred duration for learning is 16-30 minutes, by a huge margin;
  • Only about 50% of people feel they have the learning opportunities they need in their work;
  • Learning opportunities are critical to job satisfaction.

Furthermore, what people desire the most is self-paced learning and to put information into practice immediately. Anyone who has done any of the Institute’s online courses knows that’s exactly the way their Institute training is conducted. The courses were designed and written by the Chairman, who has worked for decades as an educator, specializing in cutting-edge education methods, as well as by Professor Ratliff, likewise an educator for decades. See what courses are available.

The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 2

The prospect of working in private service has not changed so much over the last two centuries. On the plus side, one enjoys proximity to the fine trappings and environments that our employers demand around them, and on the down side, have to deal with the challenges, “trials of temper” from those we serve or others who serve them, and “self-denials” as we put aside our interests for the greater good—for “neither your time nor your abilities are any longer your own, but your employers’.”

And that is why the author begins his book by discussing these realities to anyone who might be interested in joining the profession. In a way, don’t be beguiled or tempted by the pluses without also considering the minuses. Yes, you may well jet set around the world and drive the finest of cars and live and/or work in the finest of palaces, but that annoying little invisible line exists all the time, dividing you as service provider from the family and friends to whom you are providing service.

“Candidates for gentlemen’s service must consider that it is a way of life wholly different from any that they have been accustomed to, comprising comforts, privileges, and pleasures which are to be met with in but few other situations; and, on the other hand, difficulties, trials of temper, and self-denials, beyond what you might be called on to bear in some other state of life. 

“When you go into service, all the ways in which you may have been indulged at home must be given up. And you will find it equally to your comfort and profit to have none but those of your employers, as far as they may be consistent with justice and moral government. Reflect that when you once engage yourself in a situation, neither your time nor your abilities are any longer your own, but your employers’, and they have consequently a claim on them whenever they may be required.”

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 AT pryor-publications.co.uk) and telling him you read about the offer in the Modern Butlers’ Journal.

Book Review of
Serving the Wealthy

Sections on The Role of the Butler
and the Principal’s Wines, Part 3 of 12

by Gretchen dePillis

A Wealth of Knowledge

The text of Serving the Wealthy provides collective expertise on the hard and soft skills required in the elegant management of private estates. Just looking idly through it, if you glance at the section titled “Clearly defined roles”, (Volume 1, page 118), you will see that one element of the butler’s job description includes ensuring “the employer and other members of the household enjoy the ultimate in personal service and comfort.” Toward this end, the first-hand accounts in the book of being a butler in a high-net-worth household today are invaluable. I would recommend reading Mr. Fink’s statement (Volume 2, page 232) that a butler is normally also trained as a valet. In more modest households, one individual could serve both functional roles, whereas in larger and traditional estates, the butler oversaw the management of the staff, including a valet, which is a separate position. See more information on valets in Volume 1, starting on page 199 and Volume 2, on page 211.

A gentleman’s valet is not to be confused by Americans with a parking valet. If you are seeking to engage a parking valet, then Volume 2, Appendix 16i on page 328 is the reference checklist you seek.

Just one page earlier, page 231, we have a first-hand account of how the International Institute of Modern Butlers is an excellent forum for experts to share the knowledge needed to maintain the subtle and intricate skills inherent in modern and refined private service.

Page 236 shows how life as a butler differed a century ago.

It is important to understand the “back story” from which this esteemed profession originated. It is also valuable to learn first-hand experiences of those in different eras and countries to understand what is unique and yet bindingly similar in the profession

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

On Art and Service

by Kobi Gutman

KobiGutman

Original Horse Statue Model
Original Horse Statue Model
You may have seen this horse as soap in an earlier publication, and this is the sculpture I made in order to create the mold for that soap. Recently, I came across this photo and although, from what is now a more advanced vantage point, I see quite a few elements that could have been done better, I have had a more interesting realization—that there is a remarkable resemblance between the making of this horse and the servicing of a guest.

Being the first sculpture I had made of this kind, I had all the reasons I needed not to make it. I didn’t have proper knowledge; I had no previous training; I didn’t have any tools; the armature (a metal framework on which a sculpture is molded) that supports it was made incorrectly, etc. Really, the only reason this horse is still standing is because I intended to do it and I went ahead and did it.

When servicing guests, we now and then encounter special needs and requests that we had not encountered before. We may have not been trained for such a situation; we might not have sufficient tools, resources, or knowledge to handle such a request. Or the person we normally use to provide that service is not there that day. Or, or, or….

There are many reasons not to do something. One key test of a service professional is if he or she makes something happen despite all the reasons it cannot be done. It might not be perfect. It might take longer than it should. But it will be done.

In the case of this horse, to access the areas of the horse for which my fingers were too big, I sliced a piece of eraser and used that as my tool. The eyes, nostrils and mouth were created using a toothpick.

When you do not allow external (or internal) reasons to stop you, and you find ways to service your guests despite whatever it may be, not only do you become more capable, but your confidence in your own ability also rises. At that point, of course, it becomes easier to manage things and events, and you could say that life becomes that much brighter for one and all.

That is what this little statue told me and I thought I’d share it before continuing with the relay of the techniques.

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

One More Notice to Those Who Have Bought the E-book version of  
Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators

It has been brought to our attention that our publisher automatically converted the Hotel Butler book to Kindle and that some of the charts at the back were not showing properly. We have corrected this issue ourselves, and in the meantime, would like to offer anyone who bought the Kindle version, a complimentary pdf of the book. Please contact us to let us know if you are one of these people.

The Butlers Speak
The Placement Game, Part 4 of 6

General Pointers

A Beast of Job Interview by Mike Licht
A Beast of Job Interview by Mike Licht

Continuing the survey of butlers and HMs/EMs, we asked for general pointers when looking for a position.

«Find out if possible how long the last employee was there and why he or she left; and how many individuals have been in that position. If there be a high turnover, keep in mind that your position may be short term, and through no fault of your own.» DS

«Perseverance is the key; network; keep your skill set current. Then network some more.» M

Along the same lines, another butler suggests, “All channels require a relentless determination. Ultimately, you’re selling your personality first and foremost, followed by your experience. I have long averred [stated] that I can train an eager neophyte [someone new to a position], but I cannot change his/her personality. Assessing the innate presence of a service mentality is the first criteria (for me) when interviewing a new hire.

«LinkedIn is a good place to post a general, professional profile (when looking for a position) that omits employers’ names, but includes years worked and a list of applicable skills, plus a photograph. As agencies do reach out through this avenue, it is best to take down the profile if you are happily engaged.

“People interested in the field should take the opportunity to learn the trade. Though some homes do bring in an expert to work with the staff for optimum performance. Today, on-line correspondence courses, and short-term, in-person training are available. It is a fantastic way to become educated, invest in yourself, and attain some experience. I wish these programs were available thirty-five years ago, when I started my career.

“Don’t burn bridges! With my years of experience and references, I have worked for the same employer more than once: I worked for a family for ten years, and decades later, they hired me to care for their father, a professor who had Alzheimer’s disease. I did that for three years and then was hired for another position for two years because that family saw how wonderful I was with the professor.”

«If you can, network with others in similar positions. Maintain relationships with previous principals, house managers. My principal has asked me many times if I know of anyone who could fill a position for one of his friends or colleagues.” NS

“Ask as many questions as you can think of—you are interviewing them just as much as they are you. I’d recommend working a trial day to generate a feeling of how things are run. Some will be happy to pay you for that day, but I wouldn’t push that. It should suffice that they are flying you in and putting you up in a hotel.” PB

“I have several suggestions:

  • Be relentless;
  • Frequently review your resume for major omissions;
  • Ask agents representing you to review your resume for completeness;
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and put more information in than you would include in an application-specific resume;
  • Network: Start online conversations with colleagues you connect with on LinkedIn;
  • Take summer or seasonal temp jobs to build your experience;
  • Skip academies and other training organizations unless transitioning from another career. Training for an experienced applicant is not cost-effective.

«In my estimation, private service is 90% relationship and 10% skill.  You can train and learn skills.  But if you have to ‘wrap’ your innate nature around a contrary employer, it isn’t sustainable or very effective.  Placement should be all about matching personalities.  Far too much emphasis is placed upon the resume because understanding other people is not only a challenge, but sometimes not very pleasant. A «good» agent will spend enough time with the client to evaluate their nature.  A one-hour meeting doesn’t provide an adequate window in which to experience the vagaries of any human.  Part psychologist, the good agent can assemble enough perspective on the nature of the client to stand a reasonable chance of matching a candidate with a client.  But it takes maturity, experience, and knowing what to look for.  It’s match-making… not resume paring. The tendency of many candidates is to think all they have to do is provide a good resume and the agent will find them work.  This is way to simplistic!  Even a candidate that has completed a training program with accolades, does not assure a match between personalities. In days of yore, the way it worked was for the candidate to sense what was required of them to work around the employer, and then change his or her nature to fit in a subservient, deferential way.  Today in America, we tend not to see ourselves as greater or lesser than anyone else.  So this early format for private service no longer works well in the long run.  Sure, we can force a relationship, but it won’t last. SA

Part 5 The Future of the Job Market

Part 6 Effective Ways of Attracting Future Employers

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 23

Rimming the Glass, Part 3 of 3

by Amer Vargas

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

Following our previous steps on how to rim a cocktail glass, let’s look at the second option for the last stage of rimming—that is, coating the rim with a powdery agent.

We focused on savoury agents in last month’s MBJ, and in this issue the focus is on sweet agents, with sugar as the classic cocktail medium, although modern times allow for some creativity to make drinks look even more appealing.

Sugar works very well with sweet-tart mixes high in acidity. The most common option for these cocktails is granulated or white sugar, which provides a very sweet and clean taste. For other mixes, like those with whiskey or bourbon as main ingredient, demerara, brown, or raw sugar are better matches and provide a deeper, caramelized flavor. Ensure you break down any sugar clumps in the raw sugar formed by the presence of sticky molasses.

Sugar can also be mixed with other powdery agents, like cocoa (which can be used on its own, too) which works very well for chocolate martinis; cinnamon-sugar gives a special twist to Kahlua, Bailey’s, and orange and chocolate liqueurs.

Rimmed Vanilla Pear Cocktail by Personal Creations
Rimmed Vanilla Pear Cocktail by Personal Creation

Candies are a funny and very eye catching option when presenting sweet cocktails. There is such a wide array of options that it would be impossible to name them all, but the basic idea is that any candy that you can reduce to a powder or reduce to very small chunks in a mixer, will work. Some examples: regular licorice or black licorice work well with black vodka mixes or concoctions containing berry syrups. You can also buy edible glitter, colored sugar-flakes, or confetti, rainbow or chocolate sprinkles… any ingredient that one might use for decorating a cake could work well for rimming a cocktail glass.

A special mention goes to that kid’s favorite, Pop Rocks! Pay attention though, to Pop Rocks coming into contact with any moisture—it will start to sizzle and pop, which may make it unstick from the rim.

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

Consulting the Silver Expert

Cleaning and Polishing Silver, Part 2

by Jeffrey Herman

Jeff Herman

Gently wash and dry your silver immediately after use. While washing, do not allow silver to come into contact with a metal sink, as that can cause scratching. (Use a plastic dishpan or line the sink with a towel.) Use a non-lemon-scented phosphate-free detergent and, to avoid water spots, towel dry using a soft, cotton dish-towel or Selvyt cloth. Silver that is used frequently and washed in this manner will require infrequent tarnish removal.

xThe right side of this sugar bowl was cleaned with Windex Surface Multi-Surface (I now prefer Better Life Natural Glass Cleaner as it’s made from plant-derived cleaning surfactants and just as effective) to demonstrate its tarnish-removal attribute

When storing your flatware, rotate the pieces so they will wear uniformly.

Tarnish is easily removed when first noticed (usually as a yellowish tint), and will become increasingly difficult to deal with as it turns to light brown and eventually black.

Occasionally, washing an object with a non-lemon-scented phosphate-free detergent is preferred to waiting until tarnish forms and becomes so stubborn that polishes have to be employed—all polishes having some degree of abrasion.

Most of us are familiar with that light brown – and eventually black – color that forms on silver. But you can catch tarnish in its very early stages if you hold the object against a piece of white paper (glossy paper if you have it). If tarnish has started to form, you will see a very light, yellowish tint in the silver.

Try removing this light tarnish with either diluted Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (citrus-free), Windex Multi-Surface Vinegar, Method Glass & Surface, or Purell Original Formula hand sanitizer. If the hand sanaitizer leaves a residue, rinse it off with warm water or remove it with a moistened cotton towel, then dry immediately. Try this technique first, as it is the least abrasive of all silver cleaning methods.

Cleaning Silver Spoon 1

Cleaning Silver Spoon 2Cleaning Silver Spoon 3The left image of this sterling spoon handle is in its original condition, the center image of the spoon was cleaned with hand sanitizer, and the right image was polished with Earth Friendly Silver Polish.

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, 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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Newsletter

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
Newsletter

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.

Categorías
Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, December 2015, International Institute of Modern Butlers

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

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 11, issue 12

International Institute of Modern Butlers

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

I came across an article recently that we had missed three years ago: What the Butler Did, The super-rich are paying a fortune to re-create a model of domestic service that never really existed. The author references examples of butler indiscretions and ask, «Why would anyone employ a butler if he can’t be relied on not to commit indiscretion?» Good question!

He then goes on to talk about butlers murdering their employers (but is unaware of the example immediately below of Mr. Hall).

Next, he discusses how British butlers in reality were drawn from the lower classes, and not from the middle or upper classes, as is promoted by the character of Jeeves (a valet rather than a butler). This used to be true, but is not today, even if it mattered.

The author claims that butlers have never been the soul of discretion and today, are only so because they are paid so much.

Overall, quite a jaundiced and inaccurate view of the profession and motivations of butlers, other than the few exceptions from which the author draws his conclusions.

As with all professions, butlers have to respond to changing demographics, realities, tools, environments, and employer/market demands—including diversifying from serving just in private service, and serving employers from countries other than England or Europe.

At the same time, we have to retain what is central to the profession and resist the temptation to respond to demands by the uneducated to cut corners, lower standards, or redefine the profession for whatever reasons.

We are muddling our way through in a turbulent world, and overall, deserve a better report card than that afforded by this article!

We wish you a Happy Holiday Season, for those who celebrate it, and a successful month for those who do not.

Butlers in the Media

An extraordinary tale of skulduggery by a 20th century con man and petty thief in England, Archibald Thomson Hall, who pretended to be a butler and from that position, stole from his employers and ended up murdering five people, including two of his employers. Only one of his employers, a Lady Hudson, was sharp enough to spot him as a fraud, firing him. The rest could have used some  understanding of not only butlers, but Man in general, because they fell for the smooth talking and failed to spot the real nature of Hall.

Just one example this month of a product or service riding on the coat tails of our profession: A «towel butler» — being a dumb valet for towels.

An article canvassing several cruise-line butlers on the services they offer, showing a step-up in services offered in the absence of butlers in the crew, and which could be improved even further.

Continuing our promotion last year of an internship opportunity at Blenheim Palace, this article featuring the head butler there, Mr. Stephen Duckett, will be good news for future internship candidates.

An interesting article on the use of information to customize and make convenient the lives of those we serve, which the author correctly identifies as a basic butler characteristic. She points out that the modern trend of collecting personal information and then bombarding the person with ads, or worse, is not a luxury characteristic nor a quality experience for the individual being served.  «We should look for the future of luxury in its past. The world of old luxury involved an actual person delivering impeccable service, and modern luxury should take a cue. This means making the «last mile» as human as possible. The ultimate luxury of both the past and the future is human interaction and all the professional secrecy that goes with it.» Google take note.

Which leads us to the latest of the Chairman’s articles, Would You Like Your Service Today Live or Programmed, Madam? part 1 being published initially by Hotel Business Review magazine in November.

Another one of the Chairman’s articles was also published in November, Love and the New Age of Service, in the International Luxury Hotel Association’s magazine, Luxury Hoteliers.

Kobi soapThis little fellow is another hand-made soap creation customized to the guest by Mr. Gutman, head butler at the Fort Harrison Retreat in Florida. Each advance in his technique and materiel brings him closer to sharing his knowledge and providing a simple way of bringing a smile to the guest’s or employer’s world.

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

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 7

by Amer Vargas 

The Strange Story of the Orange Whip

“Who wants an Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Three Orange Whips!”

Today, we pay tribute to the great (and big) John Candy for his part in the 1980 musical comedy film, The Blues Brothers, where he plays the role of Burton Mercer, a parole officer to Jake (one of the Blues brothers).

When Mercer raids a Blues Brothers concert to arrest Jake, he allows the brothers to complete the concert before making the arrest;  so he sits with two state troopers and offers them, and then orders, an Orange Whip.

Where did this vignette come from? The father of the costume designer on the movie film set was the Director of Sales at the Orange Whip Corporation and requested that the director have the drink mentioned in the movie. The director told John Candy of this request, who improvised the whole scene in the movie. This scene made the Orange Whip a classic among both drinks & film aficionados, but not in the way planned by the Orange Whip Corporation.Orange Whip

The Orange Whip that we know today is actually a sweet cocktail that is very easy to make, as all ingredients are mixed in the blender to create a frothy texture and then poured into a Highball or Collins glass filled with ice (or similar). The ingredients and proportions are: 4 oz of orange juice, 2 oz of cream, 1 oz of vodka and 1 oz of rum.

However, Officer Mercer was not referring to this alcoholic beverage when he requested Orange Whip in the movie, but to the Orange Whip Corporation’s non-alcoholic, effervescent orange-flavored beverage that existed in the ’80s and which has since disappeared from the market.  While the movie scene catapulted the alcoholic version into prominence, it did not achieve long-term success for the soda version, it seems.

December is here and with it, the time for good wishes for everyone. So, grab your cocktail (or Crush or Fanta, today’s closest versions of the original Orange Whip), play The Blues Brothers, and enjoy the music…

Happy holiday season!

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

Of Butlers and Roses, Part 20 of 25

by GJ dePillis

How to Make the Cut (continued)

Last month, we discussed the proper way to cut a stem or rose cane (stems). This article will provides more details on the proper way to prune.

  • SecateursRemember to hold the secateurs/clippers with the sharp, flat blade (guillotine) below the smaller blade when making a cut;
  • Cut a stem at a 45-degree angle, with the lower part (heel) of the cut toward the inside center of the plant and the top part (toe) toward the outside of the bush;
  • Do not trim too close to the bud: The heel of the cut should be at the same level as the bud, meaning the toe of the cut will be about ½” – ¼” above the bud;
  • With a thick tool and measurements in the 1/4”, one might wonder which blade is positioned where; it is simple: the curved blade should be positioned at the toe of the cut, ½” above the bud, on the outer side of the bush/stem;
  • Remove skinny and dead canes, as well as those that cross or rub against each other. Rubbing canes can suffer from “friction sores,” which run the risk of becoming infected and so invite insects to lay eggs, or a disease to enter  the plant. For this reason, once you have removed a crossing branch that has already caused a sore, you may want to seal it with a drop of Elmer’s Glue—which can be done equally for any cut made on a stem—to discourage insects from boring inside the stem. Each cane should be strong enough to carry the weight of the bloom, or it will sag;
  • If the cut is not clean (bits of the bark pull off in your clippers, creating a ragged or jagged edge), then sharpen your tool—torn bark is a sign of a dull tool;
  • Trim a hybrid tea shrub bush to about 18-24” off the ground;
  • Dead head (remove the old bloom of) a rose on a stem and cut the stem back to an outward facing bud if that bud is part of a 5 to 7 leaf cluster;
  • If you see a sucker (a root emerging as a separate plant), cut it off under the soil, at the root that started the shoot. New strong canes can form above any graft line (where a cane has been grafted to a root);
  • Look for the graft line at the base of the rose bush and trim all canes starting to shoot from it. You don’t want the hardy root-stock to grow, or it will deplete the energy the plant needs for the top part (above the graft line) to bloom;
  • When cutting a “bud union joint” (where four or more branches come out of the same joint) cut flush (flat) against the joint. Sealing it with Elmer’s white glue will prevent it from growing back.
  • To grow a rose from a cutting, clip the cutting to an established “shoulder bud” and put that cutting in the ground. Ensure the stem you cut off is long enough to have at least three bud bumps above the ground.

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 at gmail.com

Jeff Herman Consulting the Silver Expert

 by Jeffrey Herman

Q: What is weighted sterling?

A: Weighted sterling simply means sterling that has had heavier, base materials added within its form. There are two types of weighted sterling: structurally-weighted (for structural stability throughout) and stability-weighted (so they won’t tip over). Some objects do not require structural or stability weighting, but may be weighted for other reasons, such as the removable leather-covered lead bottom of a cigarette box.

Structurally-weighted objects have been made since the late 19th century. They are generally marked «Weighted,» indicating they have pitch or plaster throughout hollow areas. This may include steel-reinforced candelabra arms that would sag if not supported. The rolled rims may be the only exception to any reinforcement. Weighted creamers and sugar bowls, for example, would be easily dented if not filled. Candlesticks weighing one pound may weigh less than one-tenth their weight in actual sterling content when empty. Structurally-weighted objects, sometimes made with sterling as thin as .003″ (thinner than 20-pound copy paper), has been used to save on the cost of the precious metal.

Stability-weighted objects are normally taller or broader pieces that require weighted bases so they won’t tip over. They are generally more valuable, since they are made of sterling thick enough to support themselves without any filler. The bases can be filled with pitch, plaster, or lead, and have been produced for centuries.

More on weighted sterling can be found here.

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 skills of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resort,  spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts, & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2015, International Institute of Modern Butlers

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

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 11, issue 10

International Institute of Modern Butlers

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

At the tail end of a two-month training program at several five-star resorts in the Maldives, I stumbled upon a living legend: a most loquacious and knowledgable general manager at the southern-most island of the Maldives chain, who happened to be the very first hotel butler. He shared many stories, as well as accomplishments, that show that determination and intelligence know no bounds. His name is Mr. Allwyn Drago, and he is from India. When Mr. Oberoi Senior decided to implement butler service in his hotel palaces around the country, he called upon quite a few individuals to be the first butlers; recognizing Mr. Drago as an exceptional gentleman, he made him his personal butler, too.

Mr. Allwyn Drago worked for many years as a butler while earning degrees, even from Cornell, and is currently GM at Shangri-la's successful resort in the Maldives
Mr. Allwyn Drago worked for many years as a butler while earning degrees, even from Cornell, and is currently GM at Shangri-la’s successful resort in the Maldives

Technically, hotel butlers have existed for the last 150 years in a handful of luxury hotels (since the first was founded in London—the Langham—in 1865): each hotel had a butler on staff to service royalty or nobility in order to provide the level of service to which they were accustomed in their own palaces.

It was Mr. Oberoi Senior who took the initiative in modern times to bring butler service to VIP guests. It is gratifying to see that the butlers originally performed quite a few of the services that one would expect of a butler who had been trained properly. The full range of services is greater today, for those trained by the Institute, but this is only to be expected as the profession found its feet and more people offered creative ways of servicing guests.

One point I was able to correct after many years of teaching the wrong information: I had thought the Oberoi chain had implemented butler service in 1982, but it was actually 1986. Which means that other hotels and chains were not far behind in catching on to the notion.

 

Not All Soaps are Created Equal

Parrot3
Mr. Kobi Gutman continues to work in his free time on creating custom-made soaps for his guests. He plans to produce a short technical manual for the use of butlers who would like to be able to turn this commodity into a «wow» factor with minimal outlay of effort and cost. Stay tuned for more information!

 

 

 

Butlers in the Media

«Butler robots» that are four times more productive than humans, handle cargo in a Hong Kong e-commerce fulfillment center. And a scientist writes about the complexities of creating a robot that can fold clothes, which gives some idea of how much robot butlers have to catch up with us mere hominids. The article opens with some interesting facts, too: «The idea of a robotic servant is a lot older than you probably realize. It doesn’t just go back to the 1960’s cartoon series The Jetsons, whose Rosie the Robot could prepare meals, clean the house, and solve unexpected troubles. As early as the 3rd century BC, the ancient Greek scientist, Philo of Byzantium, built an iconic human-like robot maid that could pour wine when a cup was placed in its hand.»

The news this last month was heavier on real butlers than on robot butlers, which is a pleasant change, although in the case of the remorseful paedophile butler who was busted, the less of that sort of exposure for our profession, the better. The same goes for Mr. Burrell’s continued antics, this time on Celebrity Big Brother: cashing in on his past glory by giving away private details of his former employers. Will he ever get it? Probably not.

One interesting angle on Downton Abbey is how Jim Carter, the actor who pays Carson, the butler in the television series, is asked continually by his fans to be their real-life butler—showing that there is still plenty of demand, or nostalgia at least, for the stiff butler of old. The views Mr. Carter  is reported as expressing in the article show him to be suitably curmudgeonly, so it seems he has immersed himself deeply in his role, and like his fans, is not distinguishing 100% between reality and TV—unless, of course, he was picked for the role precisely because he has a butler mindset!

Danone yoghurt is offering ten winners of a promotional campaign the opportunity to be served by handsome «hunks» who will «undergoing intensive butler training.» My goodness, what a circus society is turning into—again.

Kudos to Mr. Andrew Lowrey of Precise Home Management, who had a good write-up in the Baltimore Style magazine on his life in, and of,  service.

A good article on St Regis butlers—the scope of their services could be improved quite dramatically by doing many more, less high-key but useful and  relevant services than the sabering of champagne bottles.

Another butler school, and another butler who talks too much about his previous employers; but overall, an interesting article and we wish the school well.

And lastly, a well-written article about hotel butlers: «I think about the strange butler-guest relationship that is increasingly being imposed by the hospitality industry. High-end hotels are going gangbusters with butlers, the ultimate luxury service accessory.» But then the writer launches off into the likes of pillow butlers and bath butlers.

What a tangled web we, butler trainers, have weaved in our rush to bring something butler-ish, anything butlerish, to the world of hospitality. And what confused ideas now exist in hotels and the public mind about the nature, scope, and worth of a butler. As mentioned in the message above from the Chairman, butlers originally were bona fide butlers in a few five-star hotels—the Bugatti’s and Royce’s of service staff and mirror images of their private-service counterparts. The mass production of butlers over the last three decades has resulted in stripped-down versions, the great oxymoron of «economy class butlers.»  I understand why the old timers sneer so convincingly about the direction the profession has taken.
The author goes on, «Hotel butlers are moving away from strictly The Remains of the Day roles to increasingly niche duties. Here are some of the more unusual options,» and what ensues is another long list of off-the-wall  «___ Butler» roles, most of which are new to us, too, such as Tie Butler, Doggie Butler, and Cocktail Butler.
As long our profession has a cachet based on superior service style and stays relevant to guest needs and expectations, we will always represent the pinnacle of service and be copied by multiple other services. However, unless we, as trainers, really push to have the qualities of the old style butler, and the fuller range of services that butlers can offer, trained properly; and as long as hotel butlers are given just a few days of training to provide the thinnest possible range of services, just enough to call them «butlers,» then we will not have created a clear niche in the mind of the employer and guest, as to what we are, and our profession will be diluted and redefined ultimately as some hokey gimmick.
We certainly do not want to have that happen on our watch, do we?

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

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 5

by Amer Vargas 

The Red Eye

“Ever worked behind a bar?”

“My uncle is in the business.”

“Do you know how to make a ‘Red Eye,’ mister … what’s your name?”

“Brian Flanagan.”

Red eye, photographer unknown
The Red Eye, photographer unknown

Today, we pay tribute to one of the film characters who lived once, but never died. After leaving the army and moving back to New York City, the young Brian Flanagan, brilliantly played by Tom Cruise in the 1988 movie, Cocktail, began work as a bartender at nights while studying for a business degree. His initial mediocre work as a bartender turned into a passion under the mentorship of his boss, Doug Coughlin.

This film put the spotlight on the fun and charm of bartending and, more than that, the drinks that are produced when one works with devotion, passion, and a vision.

So, the Red Eye is one of Coughlin’s favorite drinks and which, as he states in the film and many can corroborate in real life, helps to dispel hangovers.

The Red Eye earned its name from the predominant color of the concoction, and the fact that a raw egg is added, looking like a floating eyeball.

The preparation of the cocktail is really simple: frost a highball glass and pour in 1 oz/2.5 cl of Vodka; 12 oz/35 cl of beer; 4 oz/12 cl of tomato juice; and a raw egg. Do not stir, or the egg may break, and it needs to be in one piece so the imbiber can down it in one go. Not recommended for the squeamish, just for the hung-over!

Enjoy your drink…and your movie!

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

Recent Training and Graduates

Graduation for some of the trainees from Veli, Dhigu and Naladhu, three resorts under one leadership—each resort is on its own island and caters to families, honeymooners, and the very wealthy preferring their privacy

Graduation for some of the trainees from Anantara Veli, Dhigu, and Naladhu, in the Maldives. Each resort being on its own island but under one leadership (Minor Hotel Group), and catering respectively to families, honeymooners, and the very wealthy who prefer their privacy. The trainees did very well on their refresher course, as did some trainees fresh out of college and engaging in a corporate-sponsored program to introduce them to the hospitality industry. 50% of the program participants from the prior year stayed on at the resorts, having chosen to pursue their careers in hospitality.

Of Butlers and Roses, Part 18 of 25

by GJ dePillis

Medicinal Roses as Described in Ancient Texts

Roses used to be a staple in apothecaries (Chemists/Drug Stores). Red roses were mentioned in various medicinal texts because it was thought the stronger the fragrance, the more potent the rose oil, and thus healing properties of the roses.

What rose-related medicinal treatments were common?

  • Drinking rose water would stave off a queasy stomach or even prevent vomiting;
  • Rose hip tea, or rose honey, would ease coughing;
  • Topical applications would alleviate joint pains and rheumatism;
  • Rose-scented oils would revive swooning or fainting individuals (I do suspect most of these patients were corseted ladies struggling for oxygen);
  • Fevered patients would find relief;
  • Drinking rose tea, rose water, or rose wine would ease constipation or other digestive problems;
  • When mixed with mint leaves, heated and applied to the chest and stomach, it was thought restful sleep would be encouraged; an ease of breathing would ensue for those who were congested; and an easing of muscle aches and the soothing of an agitated patient would result;
  • Sore throats would be soothed when taking a spoonful of rose honey;
  • Rose oils mixed with lotions would treat skin sores;
  • Mixing rose oil with apple cider vinegar and spearmint leaves would reduce dandruff;
  • Spraying chilled rose-water would refresh a person on hot summer days;
  • Rose petals soaked in white wine for at least two days, then strained, and one goblet-full imbibed would a) diminish a headache, and b) ease the aches associated with wounded gums;
  • Taking the hairy seeds out of the rose hip, mixing them with sugar and hot water, and straining the liquid, would treat diarrhea when the concoction was drunk;
  •  Drying rose-hip pulp and using the powder in the mouth of a colicky infant (experiencing pain from intestinal gas) would calm them.The White Windermere Aushomer rose photo by David Austin Roses

So, next time you are planning to use the roses from the garden, don’t just think of them as decorative elements around the house!

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 at gmail.com

The White Windermere Aushomer rose
photo by David Austin Roses

 

Jeff Herman Consulting the Silver Expert

 by Jeffrey Herman

Q: When was stainless first used in table knives?

A: Although American Elwood Haynes discovered stainless steel and patented it in 1919, it wasn’t until 1924 that a stainless steel table-knife blade was invented by an Englishman, Dr. William Herbert Hatfield. It was called 18/8 stainless steel (18% chromium, 8% nickel), an alloy which is still used today. Prior to this development, carbon steel was used, which was then replaced with plated-carbon steel.

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 skills of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resort,  spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts, & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, March 2014

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

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 10, issue 3

International Institute of Modern Butlers

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

I was interviewed recently for an article about robot butlers by a writer who understood that there was a slight problem with the onward rush to create them. Tech companies continue with the search for the Holy Grail: robots that can copy human actions and perceive and respond to their environment better/more efficiently/more effectively than humans. These companies will never reach that goal for two simple and related reasons:  a) they do not understand what butlers are and do, and most importantly, that butlers are not machines;  b) employers are not machines, either. They are both, in most cases, alive. No amount of software will ever be able to inject life into objects. Ancient alchemists tried to turn lead into gold, and that is an excellent metaphor for the actions of 21st Century techies hell-bent on creating über-butlers. All power to them, I say, as the fun is in the playing of a game, engaging in the challenge. No doubt many advances will be made tangentially, but robot butlers being anything more than amusing toys/mannequins, or taking the place of us lowly hominids, is not an issue that should cause any butler to dust off his or her resume.

Letters to the Editor

Photo: Janos Feher
Photo: Janos Feher

«It never ceases to amaze me how those with wads of cash, often bigger that the holdings of small countries, worry about matters such as a possible premium increase in the butler’s health insurance. Like one employer, who has a huge pile of rocks in the UK worth in excess of 3 million quid, and a shack in Barbados that costs him $240,000 to operate every year and in which the family only spends three months a year, but whose  conversations eventually and invariably return  to his concerns about the cost of heating and electricity. I was once asked to cook a roast of beef and requested a half bottle of wine to make the sauce. The discussion that ensued, before that employer begrudgingly acquiesced to my humble request, was unbelievable—especially given the compliments I received after he had eaten. Maybe that is why I am still the humble butler and he, the Lord of the Manor!» (Name withheld)

Ed: It is a curious fact, oftentimes, that those who have wads of cash are so focused on amassing and keeping those said wads, that they overlook the notion that they are also meant to enjoy what their wealth makes possible—which enjoyment can be for their own benefit, or more satisfyingly, the benefit of others. The story of the unfortunate King Midas is that he was imprisoned by his captors in full possession of all his gold, and no food.

Butlers in the Media

A person who appears to be a butler speaks out briefly about serving the Queen (of England) at table and working in service.

An Australian lady gives us a few more examples of how creatively labelled «something butlers» (i.e. BBQ butlers) are popping up in hotels. Along the same line, apparently tables at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai now come with «personal butlers.»

The Chairman’s latest article, Mr. Bicycle and Other Challenges, has been published by the just-launched Luxury Hotelier Magazine.

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

Let’s Talk about Spirits, Part I

by Amer Vargas

Whiskey, Part I

This time we are focusing in one of the most famous spirits worldwide, the drink of the tough western cowboys: yes, whisky (or «whiskey»!).

The current name of the drink owes its origin to the Gaelic dialects spoken by the Irish and the Scottish centuries ago. The distilled drinks from the Roman era were named “aqua vitae” (water of life), which was translated into Gaelic as uisge beatha, which evolved over time into uskebeaghe, uskebaugh, usquebath and usquebae; and as pronunciation kept changing, to whishkeyba and the modern-day name: whisky.

Barley, photo by Pacebes & ArnOlson
Barley, photo by Pacebes & ArnOlson

Whisky is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash, and aged in charred white oak casks for a set period of time; from about a month for some, to several decades in the case of top-quality whiskies.

The first step in the production of whisky is the selection of ingredients, as different grains produce different drinks. Most commonly, barley, rye, wheat, buckwheat, and corn are used to produce whisky.

Fermentation vessels, photo by Walter McFinely
Fermentation vessels, photo by Walter McFinely

In addition, the grain can be “malted,” which involves soaking and draining it several times over a time period of about 3 days, at a steady temperature of 13 oC (55.4 oF). The grain is then allowed to germinate for about a week. In this process, the grain opens and part of the starch is converted into sugar that converts into alcohol during the distillation process.

Germinated grain is dried and toasted for another  3 days at a temperature of 70 oC (158 oF).

Next, dry malt is milled and mixed with hot water in a tank to obtain what is termed “wort.” Yeasts are added to instigate a fermentation process carried on at 33 oC (91.4 oF) for another 3 days. The resulting by-product is called “wash.”

At this stage the wash is distilled twice. The first distillation creates a “low wine” drink of 25-30o proof and the second one doubles the amount of alcohol, leaving the whisky ready for aging.

Aging in wooden-casks in Auchentoshan Distillery, Scotland, photo by Nicor
Aging in wooden-casks in Auchentoshan Distillery, Scotland, photo by Nicor

The most common container employed in aging whisky is a charred white oak barrel, and in the case of malt whisky, casks must previously have contained Sherry or Bourbon. During the maturation stage, the wood delivers flavours, tannins and strength to the drink, and colour can be added using caramel. The aging process lasts from 2 to 20 or more years, although after two decades, any extra aging  does not necessarily improve the whisky. Once  bottled, no further maturation or development occurs. Whisky commonly has a 40% alcohol content, although some can have as much as double that amount.

In the next article we shall review where and how different whiskies are produced. In the meantime, may I suggest you enjoy a quiet read by the fireplace, while sipping a whisky on the rocks?

Mr. Vargas can be contacted via AmerVargas at modernbutlers.com

«Rent-a-Butler» Success

“While I reside in New York, a great friend of mine moved recently to London and (I suspect inspired by Dowton Abbey) had mentioned on several occasions that she would like to have a butler for her birthday. Unfortunately, I was not able to oblige her request with a full-time butler, but came up with the idea that I might be able to find a butler to deliver her breakfast on her first birthday in her new home. This turned out to be more difficult to coordinate then I had imagined and, despite having contacted numerous staffing services in the London area, I was unable to find someone who could assist me with this unique request.

A happy client receiving her Harrod's breakfast
A happy client receiving her Harrod’s breakfast from her Rent-a-Butler

Thankfully, I was introduced by the Institute to Mr. Prem Rao, a butler in London and member of the Institute, who immediately made himself available to assist with this early morning, weekend request. Furthermore, he made the request his own, helping to develop a wonderful menu and suggesting additional gifts to make the event special. I found Mr. Rao to be extremely detailed-oriented with regard to the manner and content of delivery. The breakfast was a great success, largely due to the contribution of Mr. Rao.

As I was not able to attend the event personally, I very much appreciated the close communication and updates provided by Mr. Rao, as well as the photos he took for me of the occasion.

As a professional investment manager, I have many ultra-high-net-worth corporate and government clients around the world. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the services of Mr. Rao to them. I wish him much success in the future.” SM

Perceptions of the Butler (Part 6 of 7)

by GJ dePillis

Day to Day Expectations of a butler

In general, the butler’s duties are obvious to those within the profession, but what does the average potential employer assume they will receive in the way of services when they hire a butler?  Identifying these expectations is important, obviously, in determining if one’s employer is likely or not to be satisfied. It might be interesting, also, for those already in service, to see how their employers compare.

1.      Which meals do you expect to be served daily?

›    20% Lunch for members at home.

›    65% Breakfast, dinner, and cocktails when needed.

›    15% stated all meals are to be served under the butler’s direction, unless ordered otherwise. This includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, and cocktails.

2.      What is your day like on your butler’s day off?

›    100% stated that they waited for their butler to return to work.

3.      Do you require your butler to be versed in the sports or hobbies you enjoy?

›    66% said «Yes.» For example, one respondent stated it would be nice if he became excited about golf.

›    33% said the butler could have his own hobbies and did not need to share the pursuits of his employer.

4.      If you were single, and had a butler, would you transition your butler to your married household?

›    83% of the respondents said «Yes.»  It was felt that after the butler had been trained to the requirements of the bachelor’s household, it would be more efficient to augment staff if needed after marriage than to start from scratch.

›    16% said it would depend on what household staff the future spouse would bring into the household, but every effort would be made to integrate both staff teams.

5.      Would you be willing to part with your butler once a year for the purpose of the butler attending a conference to improve skills?

›    84% said «Yes,» and the remainder said «No.»  Of those who said yes, the types of skills to be improved/updated were: (some respondents suggested more than one topic):

›    83% Technology and mechanical skills.  The respondents felt the mechanical skills would be useful to repair common household mishaps and some minor auto fixes;

›    80% The butler’s managerial skills to assist with managing existing staff as well as outside contractors;

›    20% The latest fashions;

›    50% Mastering new cooking skills.

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 at gmail.com

Consulting the Silver Expert

 Jeff Herman

 by Jeffrey Herman

Q. Where can I have appraisals performed in the United States?

A. At a number of locations:

American Society of Appraisers
, 555 Herndon Parkway, Suite 125
, Herndon, VA 20170, Phone: 703/478-2228, Fax: 703/742-8471

Appraisers Association of America, Inc., 
386 Park Ave. South, Suite 2000, 
New York, NY 10016, Phone: 
212/889-5404, Fax: 212/889-5503

International Society of Appraisers, 
1131 SW 7th St., Suite 105
, Renton, WA 98055
, Phone: 206/241-0359, Fax: 206/241-0436

Recommended
:

Joseph P. Brady Appraisal Services,
 2870 Peachtree Rd. #495
, Atlanta, Georgia 30305
, Phone: 770/594-9293;

Waterman Appraisal & Consulting Services
, 17 Ronald Rd.
, Barrington, RI 02806
, Phone: 401/289-0044, Cell: 401/595-4225.

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 skills of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resort,  spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts, & cruise ships around the world.