The Modern Butlers’ Journal, July 2020

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

As promised, the first part of a 3-part series on the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns that have completely undermined our lives and economies has been published. It explains what has been going on and why, and by the third part, empowers the reader to do something effective to end the pain. Parts II and III will be published on 2 and 9 July. Anyone wanting their own copies of the 50-page report, with 300+ links, is welcome to contact us directly and will be sent it on 9 July, or you can look on our website on 16 July, when the report will be posted in full…

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Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

There were two mentions of butlers-of-sorts in the media this past month: 1. Butlers being provided to single room hotels with no walls or ceilings, on a Swiss mountain side. «Each room gets Modern Butler service, the project’s title for a butler that’s actually someone who lives nearby and can serve as an expert on the surrounding region. (In addition to serving you a drink in bed and bringing along some food.) «The Modern Butlers are members of the local communities and most of the room night fee is used to pay their salary.» 2. London-based Butler & Footman launching to provide an English version of America’s Hello Alfred, taking care of domestic and personal chores for busy executives

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Letters to the Editor

«Congratulations on the newsletter, very well worded intro letter and the new format looks great. Good to see you keeping at the forefront. PS

«The Butler is a profession to be respected, but, the Butler should respect another profession… that of the lawyer who should review the employment contract prior to accepting the position. As an attorney for 39 years, I can attest that the best time to discover your boss is [less-than-desirable], is before you start working for him.» WM

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 38: Dinner Service and Toasts

by Steven Ferry

Dinner service was quite similar to today, but with some key differences. The lack of electricity meant candles and lamps needed to be lit and positioned to illuminate the narrow corridors and stairways used to carry food and dishes between kitchen and dining room. If not done, accidents and breakage often resulted. What drinks were served typically? Beer, ginger beer, porter [short for porter’s beer, a heavy, dark-brown beer brewed from charred malt], soda water, and spring water, making sure the ginger beer was kept cool or it would «fly about» when opened, including onto guests. Toast was also…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 57: Frozen Blue Chi Chi

by Amer A. Vargas

While the sun heats up most of the corners of the northern hemisphere, this might be a great time to have fun creating a cocktail that’s not only fresh and tasty, as always, but also allows for slightly different variations by playing with the ingredients. On this occasion, we draw on a concoction suggested by cocktail lovers from, a publication we introduced in March last year when I wrote about the Red Carpet cocktail, honoring the Oscar Awards with a brew mixing vodka, Campari, pomegranate schnapps and juice. If you want to revisit that article, be sure to click here

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Consulting the Silver Expert: Some Random Questions and Answers

by Jeff Herman

Q: Can I use my plated meat-tray to cook chicken or beef in the oven?

A: I wouldn’t put any silver plate in the oven. Some objects may contain low-melting lead alloy parts (e.g. handles, applied rims, etc.) that may melt if the heat goes above 250 degrees. Additionally, you wouldn’t want to use an abrasive pad to remove food that was baked onto the piece. I would advise cooking only in oven-safe materials, then placing what was baked in the silver-plated piece…

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Creative Corner

featuring Kobi Gutman

Another sculpture by the butler who makes good use of his Covid-19 downtime to wow the guests he does have: Here is a bust in which he has captured in the sculptor’s clay that elusive «life» factor in the «clay» of the physical body—a wounded emotion of trepidation, perhaps, signaling through the slightly downcast body language. The mark of a true artist is the ability to bring their subject to life and encourage contributions from the audience…

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Placement and Job Vacancies: Full-time Housekeeper for Houston Area

A full-time housekeeper is being sought for the quiet household of a couple in the Houston area. The property is located on 4.5 acres inside a gated community. The home is two stories, 4,500 sq ft. Your duties include cleaning and maintaining all inside areas on a daily basis as well as the back patio and the pool area. The upstairs floor is not used frequently, mostly during holidays when family visits. 2 large dogs are part of the family and you will look after them when family members are absent. Cooking skills would be a plus….

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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.