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Butler training Mixology Newsletter

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

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

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 11, issue 7

International Institute of Modern Butlers

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

In the last Journal, I touched upon the subject of robots: “If I speak untruths, then roll on the great wave of “butler robots” that science is striving so hard to create for us—a mechanistic and ordered society where mankind is an impediment to be tolerated in part. For surely, these robots will win the day: their knowledge will be as firmly fixed as the software engineers who write their code; and they, indeed, unless we change our understandings and skill levels, will be superior to those annoying, fussy, and fickle hominid butlers who used to strut their stuff until the mid-21st Century.”


That editorial was timely, in that five more articles on the same subject appeared in the last month; One predicting massive social unrest as the drive to increase efficiency and lower costs will see robots taking over “low-wage” jobs in multiple industries (presumably the next step after, and even better than, Chinese laborers); the claim is that only 10% of jobs that can be automated have been so far. An Australian study predicts 40% of jobs will be lost by humans and taken over by robots in the next 10-15 years. Robots are already taking the place of humans as waitresses and hoteliers in Asia.

Wilson, the volleyball companion for Tom Hanks in tThe Castaway
Wilson, the volleyball companion for Tom Hanks in The Castaway

Accountants and telemarketing roles are most at risk, while people who do more creative jobs are less likely to be put out of work by machines. An Oxford University study predicted  that Personal Care Aides, for instance, have a 73.6 chance of being automated. But if your position requires you to come up with clever solutions, to help others personally, and to negotiate, then there is less likelihood that your position can or will be automated. All of which aligns with earlier MBJ editorials: certain aspects of butler jobs can be done by robots, but the position of a live butler handling real people is safe in human hands for the simple reason that most humans like to communicate and deal with real people—there is only so much a robot can do to interact with feeling, intelligence, and compassion. As much as one programs emotions and feelings into a robot, the fact is that they are faked and about as satisfactory to a human as the basketball was to Tom Hanks in the movie, The Castaway.

Tesla founder, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking are warning about the unintended consequences stemming from the blind pursuit of AI technology by corporate and military interests. While this may pose a danger to the human race, the article entitled, Doctor, Butler & Bodyguard: UntitledMeet the Futuristic Robot that Does It All throws down the gauntlet or writes plainly on the wall in the Butler’s Pantry. ThePartner (photo on right) mimics human movements. Says the creator, “We printed ThePartner on my home 3-D printer, using open-source code. We used recycled parts, like an old curtain rod and toy tractor wheels for the ‘legs.’ Next, we started controlling the robot’s movement using microcontrollers.” In other words, if some hobbyists can do that, then imagine what Google’s and others’ billions being invested in Artificial Intelligence are going to create in the decades ahead.

All of which is to say that any butler manager who is alive and focused on service, rather than being a symbol, will have no trouble keeping his or her job.

Butlers in the Media

Bin Butler

Butlers as a concept keep being used to elevate the banal into something special, such as the Beach Butler service in California that provides a “dedicated butler to setup a beach chair, table and umbrella at a designated time and location, deliver tanning products, chilled beverages and food so that clients will never have to leave their towel. When ready to leave, we do the clean up, so you don’t have to.”

Then we have the Bike Butler—a stand for a bicycle. And let’s not forget Reiner, the Bin Butler in Berlin, pictured on the right. And if you happen to want someone to deliver groceries in Australia, then you may want to contact The Grocery Butler.

Here is one that is a bit more on target—possibly even being a butler: the Marina Butler at a Kempinski hotel in Bodrum, Turkey, who welcomes visitors sailing into the marina with a bottle of champagne on arrival, or arranges lunch, watersports, spa treatments or private catering on the yacht if they were to call ahead.

There is now an Assistant service called Alfred (as in Batman’s butler) for time-crunched Boston and New York executives who need help with groceries, laundry pick-up, etc.

And how about The Black Butler—a musical related to Japanese manga and anime sub-culture that perplexes the editor, but some Japanese seem to enjoy the self-conscious, un-butlerish posing and posturing that seems to be a trademark of the genre.

Lastly, an article about whether a Russian butler assassinated the Indian Prime Minister in 1966.

KnibLetters to the Editor

“I have been in the service industry for a little over nine years; I started as a busser with my company when I was sixteen years old and moved my way up to eventually becoming the Head Butler for the resort. When we first began the butler program back in February of 2014, Mr. Ferry came to our resort and taught me how to be a proper butler. During the course he showed me that there is a scale or gradation of emotions, which I had never seen before. I immediately became intrigued by it and saw the importance of learning and using this tool, how critical it is to the service industry, let alone the butler world.
“I began to use the scale on my family and team members. One example was a team member who clearly had a tone of anger; everyday he would come up to me to complain about something. One day, when he came up to me, I switched my tone to boredom towards his reason of complaining; he almost immediately came up the scale. Another example of using the scale was with a guest who is known to be angry and yell about any issue she encounters. During the orientation of her villa, she found an issue and went into a rage. Using the scale, I switched my tone to antagonism towards the issue, and she quickly became disinterested. The emotional scale is the one tool that I believe any member of the service industry should know and learn to use. Not a day goes by in my life that I don’t use it. It has helped me become the butler that I am.” JY.
Ed’s note: Mr. Yalda is a good example of the Modern Butler in the hotel environment: He lives his life to the full, and that means, when on the job (which is close to 24/7/365, because he loves it so) as Head Butler at Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, he focuses completely on taking ownership of his guest(s) and making their lives memorable and flow smoothly. As a result, they show their appreciation: which, when it involves comments, fuels his passion; and when it happens to involve tips, means he can afford and enjoy driving the fastest car on the road (one of his  passions). What goes around, comes around, and what Mr. Yalda puts out is a creativity and support for all those he meets, to make their lives better.

JoetheButlersm

More Little Butler Touches—Soap Carvings 

From Mr. Kobi in Florida

From Mr. Kobi in Florida

Kobe soap

Placement

The exclusive Dorado Beach Ritz Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico is looking for butlers (Embajadors). They will train anyone qualifying (must be a US-citizen or Green Card Holder), who has a minimum of one year experience as a Hotel, Cruise, or Condo Butler, or two years in the Hospitality industry (hotels/restaurants, or Cruise lines). For more information, please send request and your current CV/resume to the head butler Mr. Arora (Paawan.Arora at ritzcarlton.com)

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

Let’s Talk about Mixology, Part 2

by Amer Vargas 

The Manhattan

Today we will look at one of the most famous cocktails worldwide, considered by the International Bartenders Association to be a classic that all barmen (and butlers) worth their salt, should know.

The Manhattan cocktail seems to have its origins some time in the mid-nineteenth century in the New York region, where it became a very fashionable drink and the trend spread across the US to Hollywood stars, who made it even more popular in movies as the choice drink for handsome main characters.

It is also known that people from the island of Föhr, in the north-west of Germany, immigrated during the nineteenth century to New York and learned about the drink; they developed a real liking for it and took it back home—which explains why today, the mix is commonly available in most cafe’s and restaurants on the island.

Manhattan cocktail, photo by Naotake Murayama
Manhattan cocktail, photo by Naotake Murayama

The preparation of the Manhattan cocktail is really simple: it involves rye whiskey (the most common variation available in nineteenth century New York), red vermouth, bitters and maraschino cherry.

Pour the following over a lot of ice (cubes) in a shaker: 5cl/1.7oz of American rye whisky (although these days, it is common to see it prepared with Bourbon or Canadian whisky), 2cl/0.65oz of red vermouth and one or two dashes of bitters. In the old days, it was said it should only be stirred, but nowadays it is also acceptable to shake it. Strain in a chilled cocktail glass and finish with a maraschino cherry (which must be dried first, so as not to over-sweeten the mix).

As is always the case, the quality of the ingredients determine the quality of the final drink. This will not only be detectable on the palate, but may also be obvious to the eye: if you use poor quality ingredients and shake the mix, a little foam or froth will form that will spoil the look of the drink. Whether shaken or stirred, in all cases, the final Manhattan should be transparent with a caramel color.

And that is the straight Manhattan. Variations exist to please everybody: the Dry Manhattan replaces the red vermouth with a dry vermouth; the Perfect Manhattan replaces the red vermouth with equal parts of dry vermouth and red vermouth  (1cl/0,33oz of each); the Brandy Manhattan uses Brandy instead of whisky; the Cuban Manhattan is like a Perfect Manhattan—remember, with both red and dry vermouth—but uses a dark Cuban rum instead of whisky; and finally, the Tijuana Manhattan replaces the whisky with añejo (aged) Tequila.

Make your choice and sip along…Cheers!

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

Recent Training and Graduates

Nizuc graduation

Cancun in Mexico has a fairly recent addition, Nizuc Resort and Spa, which has several world-class restaurants, one of the top Spas in the world, and a butler service that is serious about expanding into the full range of services. Mr. Ferry recently trained there and is pictured here with all the graduates.

Of Butlers and Roses, Part 15 of 20

by GJ dePillis

The Right Tool for the Job

Why do gardners need good clippers for roses when it is time to prune back branches or clip roses for a vase ?  Can’t they just use anything that cuts?  No. The reason is because a clean cut is needed. Any squashing or crimping of the stem damages it and shortens the life of the rose when it is placed in a vase.

When just starting out, you may want to use the cheaper, Chinese made Fiskar clippers.  But then, again, you may not! Felco is the better quality, Swiss-made brand, costing $50-60 USD and promoted on most Rose Society pages — in part because it also acts as a wire cutter (there is a notch in the blade for this purpose).  Felco invented the more ergonomic “rotating handle”that rolls in the hand when opening and closing the clippers, thereby easing tension in the hands when doing a lot of clipping.

The Felco offers a USA-made holster to keep the shears on a belt and comes with a key to take it apart, clean it, sharpen and reassemble it.

Tool shed SeaWorld San Diego-2Tool shed SeaWorld San Diego-1Tool shed SeaWorld San Diego-3

The pictures above show typical gardening tools, as seen at Sea World, San Diego. Remember that, unless you live in a very dry climate, blades do rust if left outside and should always be kept clean and stored in a shed.

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: Does silica gel serve the same purpose as 3M Anti-Tarnish strips, or should I use both?

A: The strips absorb tarnish-producing pollutants; the gel controls the humidity that contributes to the acceleration of tarnish. I always advise using both.

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.

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Mayordomos con Karisma frente a aguas azul turquesa en Cancún

Casi tres semanas en diferentes hoteles de la cadena Karisma para entrenar a sus mayordomos. Sin duda, un grupo que destaca por sus inmenso deseo de aprender, su intenso interés y su atención sobre todos los conceptos presentados, además de por su buen humor y grandes ganas de interactuar entre ellos y con el instructor.

Y mientras el que escribe las presentes líneas desarrollaba el curso de capacitación por la mañana y parte de la tarde, el resto del día lo dedicaba al disfrute de la zona, caracterizado por playas de arenas blancas, transparentes aguas azul turquesa, una flora plagada de “cocotales” de bellos verdes, y una fauna entre la que destacan los cangrejos de diferentes tipos, tapires, monos, iguanas, aves de peculiar graznido, tortugas, multitud de especies de peces que se pueden visitar esnorqueleando… y hasta cocodrilos (a los que el instructor les dedicó un sencillo saludo desde la segura distancia).

Prácticas en El Dorado Royale

La capacitación se desarrolló cerca del tranquilo Puerto Morelos, una pequeña localidad situada a unos 40 km. al sur de la famosa Cancún, pródiga en manglares y cenotes (estanques de agua manantial en lo que en el pasado eran cuevas rocosas). Muy cerca, pero más al sur, se encuentra la ciudad de Playa del Carmen, más grande y con más variedad turística para el visitante, comúnmente americano y canadiense, que disfruta tanto del gentío como de la arquitectura típica de la zona.

Deja detrás el instructor a un grupo preparado para un futuro más que prometedor y a más de un/a mayordomo que en poco tiempo recibirá el reconocimiento del Sello de Oro en su Certificado.

Graduación

Grandes cosas aguardan a aquellos que están preparados y trabajan con su mejor actitud de servicio… ¡Buena suerte!

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El fantástico sonido del agua en el Sur-oeste de Turquía

Una semana intensa y fructífera en Belek, cerca de Antalya, en el Sur-oeste de Turquía. El Susesi Luxury Resort y Spa se encuentra entre los complejos hoteleros más prominentes de su región y este año se ha establecido como objetivo ser nominado el Mejor Hotel de su zona. A pesar de no ser hito fácil tiene muchos números para conseguirlo: unas fantásticas instalaciones, multitud de puntos de restauración de diferentes gastronomías y, lo más importante, un personal cuyo único interés es complacer a los visitantes. Este último punto se ve reforzado, además, por el último training que el International Institute of Modern Butlers ha desarrollado para formar a los mayordomos que servirán a los clientes de las Villas y las Suites.

Todos los asistentes al curso demostraron sus sobradas habilidades para desenvolverse con soltura ante sus VIPs particulares, haciendo uso de todas sus habilidades comunicativas, de observación, anticipación y atención al detalle. El instructor se marcha del hotel con la firme convicción de que en pocos meses tendrá que re-editar algún certificado incluyendo un Golden Seal (Sello de Oro), en reconocimiento al gran trabajo desarrollado por alguno de los asistentes al curso.

El nombre del hotel está formado por las dos palabras turcas “Su” y “Sesi” que significan “agua” y “ruido de.” De esta manera, el nombre evoca de forma implícita los fantásticos servicios de Spa que ofrece y el placer a través del agua en forma de fuentes, piscinas y playa de que pueden disfrutar todos los clientes.

Y mientras se escriben estas líneas, ¡la temporada alta ha comenzado! El hotel va a gozar de una ocupación casi total durante muchos meses. Así, los mayordomos van a tener multitud de oportunidades para demostrar tanto lo que han aprendido recientemente como la amabilidad y cuidado por los demás que les son innatos.

Mis agradecimientos a todo el personal que colaboró a la organización y el buen desarrollo de la formación, y al cuidado del instructor durante toda la estancia, incluyendo al fotógrafo Eric que se ocupó de inmortalizar los mejores momentos de la entrega de certificados con su pericia y su savoir-faire.

Mayordomos del Susesi, os deseo lo mejor.

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Sofitel Santa Clara y Cartagena

Las sesiones de formación en Cartagena volaron más rápido que el tiempo. Estar en un lugar tan maravilloso siempre deja al  visitante convencido de que el tiempo pasa demasiado rápido.

La duración de la formación fue corta, pero el tiempo se aprovechó a fondo. Creo las sonrisas de los asistentes, todos los cuales recibieron sus bien merecidos certificados el sábado 12 de mayo, hablan por el conjunto del curso: todos y cada uno dedicaron todos sus esfuerzos y atención al instructor y a los temas impartidos. Como resultado, su progreso fue excepcional y el “producto final” fue un gran equipo dispuesto a superar las expectativas de los clientes. Gracias a todos, no sólo por vuestra entrega y dedicación, sino también por todos los regalos!

El primero, la extraordinaria amabilidad del personal. Segundo, el hotel: un antiguo convento de las monjas Clarisas, comenzado a construir  en 1617 y finalmente inaugurado en 1621. De ahí el nombre del hotel de lujo restaurante, el “dieciséis-veintiuno”, una parada obligatoria para cualquier visitante que visite Cartagena. Aquí, el sumiller Oscar Santos presenta, todos los miércoles, tres vinos diferentes de su inmensa bodega. Está invitado todo aquel que esté interesado en el tema y el que asiste se marcha con un poco más de conocimiento y la agradable sensación de la simpatía y el acogimiento sincero. Un placer para todo aficionado al vino.

Y es que el vino y la excelente comida se entrelazan en el encantador ambiente del restaurante, acariciado por la música seleccionada, una temperatura agradable, el amable servicio y la fantástica decoración. No dejen de echar un vistazo a la pared del fondo del restaurante, donde la humedad local (a un constante 90% durante mi estancia) provoca la aparición de un musgo decorativo que crea un efecto fosforescente en las paredes de color oro. En definitiva, una experiencia que nadie debe perderse.

¿Otro regalo? Las simpáticas visitas de Mateo, el tucán del hotel, cuyas ganas de ser fotografiado variaban de día a día. Clarita, la amiga de Mateo, es tan bonita como él, pero menos accesible… ¡al menos para el que escribe!

El día antes de mi marcha, el personal del hotel organizó para mi un tour alrededor de su hermosa ciudad.

Situada en el norte de Colombia, Cartagena es especialmente famosa por su puerto, uno de los más importantes de América desde la fundación de la ciudad por el comandante madrileño Pedro de Heredia en 1533. En aquellos primeros días, el puerto y la ciudad eran de inmenso interés tanto para británicos como para franceses, por lo que los administradores se vieron obligados a mejorar de forma progresiva sus defensas, para proteger los intereses comerciales y a su población. Para escudarse de los invasores, Cartagena fue ampliando sus murallas y las fue dotando de frentes inclinados para minimizar los daños si recibían el impacto de balas de cañón. Asimismo, la fortaleza de San Felipe de Barajas incluye pasadizos ocultos de tipo laberíntico para ayudar a las tropas locales a vencer al enemigo si éste conseguía entrar en los cuarteles.

El hermoso convento de Popa se encuentra en el punto más alto de la ciudad de Cartagena y recibió su nombre debido a su similitud con la parte trasera un navío, tal y como se ve en la llegada a la ciudad desde el mar. Los religiosos Agustinos fundaron el convento en el siglo XVII. En la actualidad alberga el único retablo de Santa Clara que originalmente se mantuvo en el convento de Santa Clara, transformado hoy en el Sofitel Santa Clara.

Y aún hay mucho más para disfrutar en Cartagena, con calles compuestas de casas de uno a tres pisos de altura dependiendo del barrio en el que se encuentra uno y cuya altura señalaba el poder de los propietarios. Lo que es común a todas las construcciones son los colores brillantes en las paredes exteriores, la hermosa arquitectura que se remonta a los tiempos coloniales y el verde natural de los árboles y arbustos autóctonos que las acompañan.

Una experiencia realmente inolvidable.