Christopher Carter Sanderson Culinary Tips for Butlers Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, December 2021, Culinary Tips for Butlers

IIMBCulinary Tips for Butlers

by Christopher Carter Sanderson

As breakfast is the purview of the butler, I retain an interest in it beyond general cookery as I am sure we all do. By this time, for instance, I am sure that all of my sister and brother butlers have been instructed by Sir Ian McKellen’s excellent short instructional video on the perfect scrambled egg.

And I may be late to the party on this tip, but I have recently found that gently warming the cream cheese before serving it, either on the side or on a bagel directly, has an extraordinary impact on the flavor.

Since I have been bringing cheeses of various kinds to room temperature to serve for decades, I suppose I should not be surprised. I never had applied this dictum to cream cheese. Now that I have, I find the effect on the flavor, subtle though it is, makes a big difference. There is also the added benefit to the palate of the residual warmth being transmitted to the smoked fish, if that is being served on top of the cream cheese.

My technique is to place the requisite amount of cream cheese into a ramekin and then microwave it at a high setting very briefly. 10 seconds seems to do the trick for most microwave ovens. The texture of the cream cheese is also affected, making it easy to spread evenly or to mix in order to distribute the warmth before service.

With the usual fresh dill and/or capers, the effect of warming the cream cheese when served with smoked fish can bring the whole together in a way that the refrigerated ingredients just can’t when served cold.

Bagels and cream cheese are a very American dish, I know. Since I have seen them served in breakfasts and very lux breakfast buffets as far afield as Dubai, the UK, and California, I thought that a note concerning their service might be of use.

All my best wishes now and throughout the holiday season.

Mr. Sanderson is a butler and longterm member of our Institute and profession.

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.