The Modern Butlers’ Journal, January 2020

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

In a world characterized increasingly by discourteous and divisive behaviour toward others based on unwavering ideas about how bad they are, it is probably a good idea to sit and look at these «evil people» until one has found twenty things that one has in common with them. One thing I have found in the rather many decades I have been bouncing around this planet, is that nobody is quite as bad as we may think they are, or they are painted by others. Let this be the tone for the year 2020!…

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Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

Lovely article and video about an English butler in America.

A bizarre ad for a dog-carer in the West End of London, with a job description that is actually that of a butler who also has to look after the dogs—a new wrinkle on how to hire a butler at about a third of the going rate.

Needless to say, this month had the requisite announcement about a robot butler…

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Letters to the Editor

«I thought of one more question, sorry to keep bugging you. Part of why I’m writing this is because a TV show Pennyworth is soon to premiere and it’s about Alfred’s days as an MI6 agent. You said that all of your prior work helped prepare you for the butler profession—I’m curious how being an intelligence analyst helped.»

Ed: Good question. I am neither vouching for MI6 nor its ability to analyze situations correctly—their use of logic and investigative technology is very…

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 32: Luncheon

by Steven Ferry

Luncheon posed some challenges that we still meet today, and some that we do not—such as the management of trays: Butlers were advised to refrain from putting too much on the trays before closing the hinged sides, in case a side burst open and items fell off. Then there was the difficulty of carrying trays laden with food and plates, etc. when climbing stairs so narrow that one might scratch the walls. Apparently, one should be careful not to place anything on these stairs, as fatalities had been recorded of unsuspecting…

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The Butlers Speak: Working with or Being the Housekeeper

by Steven Ferry

It seems assisting housekeepers when needed is a standard part of the modern butler’s duties—in line with the downsizing of household staffs a century ago that left the butler rolling up his sleeves and doing work previously covered by housekeepers and others. This trend was re-enforced by the new tools and equipment beginning to appear in households, such as dishwashers (1888) and vacuum cleaners (1905). And so today, what is it that butlers do particularly for the housekeeper in the spirit of teamwork? Cover weekends…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 51: Grapefruit Paloma

by Amer A. Vargas

As the holiday season comes to an end with the beginning of the new year, and indeed a new decade, we return to daily routines and most likely have a bag full of good intentions and resolutions – one of which can probably be found on the mind of more than one person: “This year I’m going to lose some weight!” In case you are one of those, you probably want to take a look at your intake, as well as at your active undertakings. Whilst I leave the second to you, here I propose a low-cal cocktail to keep you enjoying and amusing your palate, while…

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Consulting the Silver Expert: Keep Silver Out of the Dishwasher!

by Jeff Herman

There are four major reasons for keeping prized sterling and silver-plate out of the «chamber of doom:» (1) Any factory-applied patina (the blackening in recessed areas) will eventually be removed; (2) The detergent’s aggressive chemicals, combined with the washer’s high temperature will eventually turn the silver grey or white and create a dull, non-reflective surface; (3) Most older, and some repaired, hollow-handled knives are filled with pitch. This cement will expand with heat, possibly forcing open a thin solder seam, or exploding the knife blade out…

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

We say hello to the New Year with feedback from the new Nobu Hotel Los Cabos in Mexico, including some kind words from that property’s General Manager. To all of you, congratulations and best wishes for a successful 2020!

«First of all, congratulations for the great job you have done!»

I really thank you for coming to train our butler team and I am sure

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Recent Hospitality Graduates

To start the year on an optimistic note, we welcome on this occasion a group of butlers from the new Nobu Hotel Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. They stand ready to excel in 2020 and  beyond!…


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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.