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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, January 2021


Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

It is with a sad heart that we report the passing of Dr. Maniku, who’s vision, people- and administrative-skills were largely responsible for making available the beauty of the Maldives to millions of people seeking a respite from the stresses and strains of their everyday lives to experience one of the paradises we are so fortunate to have in this world.From the pioneering Baros resort where guests and staff roughed it as they started to define tourism in the country almost five decades ago, Dr. Maniku and his family built numerous excellent resorts and even an airline…

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Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

Just three mentions of butlers in the media this month. 1.The investigative South African TV program Carte Blanche aired an expose on the South African Butler Academy; this is a hot topic in the butler world, as evidenced by responses to the video as well as the number of people writing to the editor, expressing relief that action was finally being taken to rein in the excesses of this organization that they had witnessed themselves; 2.Bloomberg has an interesting article on the rise of robots in response to the fear generated concerning social distancing to avoid the spread of the….

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Letters to the Editor

«Thank you for always advocating for the highest quality of education when it comes to being a butler. It has been a pleasure reading your informative and quality newsletter since 2011. The literature has always been useful to me in private domestic service, utilizing every tidbit to the best of my abilities. I was saddened and shocked after reading this article [about SABA]—you are a man of great integrity, thank you for being conscientious in this matter. Truthfully, my standard of service accelerated once I began to intertwine all of the helpful advice that your experts and you so unselfishly included…

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 44: English Afternoon Tea

by Steven Ferry

The refined tea experience of today was born out of what can only be described as a more-rudimentary experience two centuries ago, where the butler was admonished to do his best to remedy the major complaint, that by the time the tea reached the guests, it was no longer hot. They obviously had not worked out the logistics and techniques for presenting hot tea, even though, at the time the book was written, tea had been served in the wealthier households for over a century. The butler was also admonished to carry a cloth on his person to wipe any spills, and to provide…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 63: Tea & Cider Punch

by Amer A. Vargas

Happy New Year, dear readers! Now that the cold months of winter have definitely arrived in the Northern hemisphere, this month we will devote our cocktail article to a warming brew to help kickstart the new year with our engines already running and well heated. This recipe, suggested by Kate Merker and Taylor Murray in the January 2020 issue of Countryliving.com, mixes the sweetness of reduced apple cider with the  warming attributes of the alcohol in bourbon added to hot tea — it’s designed to revive frost-nipped fingers, toes and noses after a day out in the cold. Preparation is very…

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My Butler Julius: Working in a Formal or Informal Event

by My Butler Julius

Recently I had a very interesting conversation with my eldest daughter, who is training to become a nanny at Norland College in Bath [England]. She is in her final year and the time has come to find a placement with a family, She has been offered the choice of working for a formal or an informal family. Giving her my opinion, I stated I always prefer a formal family. Throughout my career, I have always tended to work in a formal environment. You may call me old school, but it works when an employer and an employee know their roles. I know the modern trend is for families to…

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Paying Attention to Details

by Steven Ferry

Because one image can speak a thousand words, click on «read more» to find out how good (or not so good) attention to detail can be, and be left speechless…

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Consulting the Silver Expert: A Big «Thank You!»

by Jeff Herman

We would like to thank Mr. Herman for his years of contributions to the MBJ, sharing his know-how and skills in all matters silver. The subject is large but not infinite, and so it is time to acknowledge that all possible angles and subjects have by now been covered. Unless anyone has any questions still unanswered about how to maintain silver or anything else related to the subject, then it is time to say «Goodbye, and thank you, Mr. Herman.» May you continue to bring clarity and expert service to your customers and those butlers and others who want their silver to continue to give joy for…

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Care of Leather Goods, Part 2: Quality Leather Properly Cared for Give a Lifetime or more of Pleasure

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

As we covered in an MBJ article 10 years ago, the oldest leather shoe on record was unearthed in a large cave in Armenia and dates back 5,500 years. While we cannot guarantee that the care we recommend and discuss for leather will be quite as successful, we can say that keeping leather immersed in sheep dung will do the trick if you have set your sights on thousands of years of use. For more modest and practical results, the Chairman’s leather shoes are 46 years old, same uppers, third generation sole, and still going strong as a result of proper care. Even though they…

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Scholarship Opportunity

Sixteen years ago, I was in extended conversation with Cornell University to provide adjunct training, or even a Cornell-based butler-specific course, for high-end butler administrators and estate managers as it was obvious butler training up to that point left the majority of graduates floundering and clients underserved. The idea was ahead of its time, so it is heartening to see Mr. Jim Grise pushing through the same basic notion. For as he says, «The future of domestic service management is an educated workforce, with both technical and academic standards. This is an inconvenient…….

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Special Notice: Media Exposes SABA

The famous South African investigative program, Carte Blanche, interviewed past South African Butler Academy students, including those taking part in the previous legal action between Mr. Cross and the well-known blogger/guest house owner, Ms. Chris von Ulmenstein, who won the high court case against SABA (Case No.: 23686/2016) in 2017. The programme aired on Sunday, December 27, 2020 and can be seen on YouTube. The number of views within 24-hours shows the topic is hot in our relatively small community, with new people deciding to join the legal actions against SABA as a result of seeing the TV programme; further information and responses…….

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In Their Words: How Those Trained by the Institute’s Trainers Feel about Their Experience-Online Training, Private Service Graduate

All my life I have had a secret fascination with the life, role, art, and skills of the traditionally trained British Butler—the refinement of character, sense of morals and ethics, integrity and decency, and a good grasp of taste and personal refinement. I wanted to integrate everything about being a butler into my personal and professional life, to use the valuable skills and knowledge on an everyday basis and to grow as a person. I could not afford to go to a bricks and mortar school in another country, so I decided to look at one of Mr. Ferry’s books that had been in my library for 15 years and then do an internet…….

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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 enquiries@modernbutlers.com or via telephone: USA 1-813- 354-2734. We invite you to also visit our website www.modernbutlers.com for more information.

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