The Modern Butlers’ Journal, April 2019

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

As one cyclone after another brushes past Mauritius in the Southern Indian Ocean, the winds pick up on the rooftop restaurant, but the sun still shines on the azure waters. A handy metaphor for life today, perhaps. I did not realize that the Dodo bird came from Mauritius, and that Dutch settlers, in part, wiped them out because they were easy to catch, fearless of humans, and made great food supplies for their long journeys across the various oceans…

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Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

A very quiet month for our profession in the media.

Just one T-shirt that was sighted that read:

«Butler only because ‘full-time super-skilled hero’ is not a job title.»…

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Letters to the Editor

«An interesting article [about butlers who reveal employer information], however my concern was raised having myself dabbled in some (slightly regretful) features and interviews in British newspapers. What advice do you have for those of us who, in our younger years, made some questionable choices in order to forward our careers? I now have a growing business supporting HNW clients – and enjoy my work immensely.» BW

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Professional Standards of Performance, Applications #14: Anticipation

by Prof. Richard Ratliff

Scenario: An invited guest brings an unexpected guest to a formal dinner party. The unexpected guest is unknown to both the host and the butler. Guests, all of whom otherwise know each other, are gathering for cocktails in the library prior to the meal. All dinner settings have been placed; the food has been prepared and is ready to be served. The butler’s problem: Help the host (1) seamlessly cope with the unexpected guest at the last minute; (2) welcome and…

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 22: Gloves

by Steven Ferry

Gloves are another fashion statement that is not so common today—being used mainly for practical reasons. Two centuries ago, gloves were made of doe or buckskin and were cleaned in soap and water. They were then pressed together to remove excess moisture and then stretched on wooden hands or pulled into their proper shape. They were never wrung dry, as that would pull them out of shape and shrink them…

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The Butlers Speak: Farm and Ranch

by Steven Ferry

When the survey was sent to participating butlers, it was with the expectation that only one would respond, as few butlers and estate managers have the opportunity to work on a property that includes a farm or ranch that also requires their attention. Our thanks to Ms. Diane Shaheen for answering the call to share her hard-won knowledge on how to succeed in such an environment, which she provides a wonderful taste of in her responses. In her words…

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Staff Training: Popper – «O» for Opening

by Frank Mitchell

After welcoming the student(s), explain why they are in training. Is it a new standard? Remember, adults learn best when they understand what is in it for them. Open by explaining the importance of the training and then segue directly into the benefits for them: “Today we will drill fire emergency procedures. This is very important for the safety of our youngest family members. Successful completion of this training will make you a very useful team member…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 42: Calafate Sour

by Amer A. Vargas

Having recently traveled around both the Argentinian and the Chilean Patagonias whilst delivering service, this fortunate butler had the opportunity to taste a very interesting local cocktail at The Singular Hotel in Puerto Natales. It’s called the Calafate Sour, and it’s a variation of the Pisco Sour that includes juice of the calafate, a fruit endemic to the southern parts of South America, particularly Ushuaia in Argentina and Punta Arenas in Chile…

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Consulting the Silver Expert: Basic Silver-Care Advice, Part 1 of 2

by Jeff Herman

To avoid damaging your silver, clean it only when you are not rushed. I’ve restored many a candelabrum arm that was broken off in haste. Also, be aware that if you’re wearing a ring, it may well leave a scratch when it comes into contact with the piece you’re working on; If you are looking for someone to clean your silver, choose an individual with experience. Ask what methods and polishes they use. If you require assistance, please feel free to contact me…

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In Their Words: How Those Trained by the Institute’s Trainers Feel about Their Experience

The VP Asian Operations recently completed a short training in Amilla Fushi in the Maldives. Here is feedback from some of the trainees. «The trainer is a friendly person who presented to us with perfect and real-life examples on such as how to handle tricky situations with guests, and those who are rude or angry.” AZ;  “The way the trainer explains is amazing, we can understand very easily.» HZ;  “This is one of the best trainings I have done…

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Recent Hospitality Graduates

In this month’s edition, we welcome new graduates from the Maldives. Welcome Khateebs and Khateebas from Amilla Fushi!


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Placement and Job Vacancies

Paris: If you speak French and would like to work as a butler in a boutique hotel/collection of private suites in the golden triangle in Paris, feel free to contact the institute for further information


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A New Butler App

It’s not often that we get the opportunity to introduce a new butler app, so we are delighted to be able to do so this month. Julius Smith, a butler from the United Kingdom, has served royalty and others of note for over two decades, and has developed  a small, complementary app that allows downloaders to experience receiving a wake-up call from a real butler. As Julius explains it, “Everyone should be treated like royalty. I developed the My Butler

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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. Contact us for all your training needs via email at or via telephone: USA 1-813- 354-2734. We invite you to also visit our website for more information.

Please email the editor of The Modern Butler’s Journal at with any article ideas, concerns, comments, or suggestions.


Por Amer A. Vargas

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

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

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