The Modern Butlers’ Journal, June 2019

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

A newspaper article this month refers to the inevitable robot butler, and raises concerns, finally, in the hospitality industry.

As the editor points out: «Seattle is proud of itself as being a leader in raising the minimum wage.  So far, hundreds of restaurants have closed and thousands of workers have lost their jobs. Now, thanks to robots and automation…

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Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

Little in the news again regarding butlers this month, other than the usual person mouthing off about the English royals and one mention of a «BBQ butler» (a mesh grill) and something that has so many adjectives appended to it that it is hard to work out what it is—other than a garden tool of some sort (Yard Butler Heavy Duty Durable Steel Long Handled Bulb Garden Yard Planter Tool) and which has zero relation to butlers in fact…

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Letters to the Editor

«I wanted to say how important your work is in private service. The Butler Experience is a labor of love, I’m sure. What you have accomplished by giving butlers standardized training is so fantastic, and I wish you continued success.»

Ed: Many thanks for your kind words. A labor of love to be sure, but also a...

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Professional Standards of Performance, Applications #16: Controlling the Dominos

by Prof. Richard Ratliff

Scenario:  The lady of the house is planning a formal dinner at the family’s small mountain estate, with a grand view of the valley below and the bloom of spring on the surrounding meadows. With just days to go, she directs myriad details in a perfectly timed sequence to be completed the day guests arrive. The butler is given some of the more critical tasks and is available for reassurance and special help

Suddenly, “Clyde” (a treasured old pickup truck) breaks down, making the day’s…

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 25: Food & Beverage

by Steven Ferry

The next section of the book deals with F&B—Food and Beverage—starting with the need for a Butler’s Pantry to store crystal, glass, and china. The main issue being that dirty tasks, such as beating dust out of clothes or polishing shoes, should not be done in the pantry but elsewhere (a mud room or wet pantry, for example).

The butler was expected to wash the china in boiling water in one wooden bowl and the glasses in hot water in another, and to use separate cloths to dry them…

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The Butlers Speak: Estate Moves

by Steven Ferry

Of those surveyed, 60% had never been asked to organize an estate move. As one said, «I have yet to experience the pleasure of an estate move—I can only imagine!»

As for those who have had the pleasure, here is their take:

«Unfortunately, I have been involved with estate moves more times than I care to…

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Staff Training: Popper – «P» for Practice

by Frank Mitchell

Now that you have completed your demonstrations, reset everything to zero so that the participants can practice the task from the very start. Set the scene by telling them where and when they might be doing the task, so that they can practice with the right mindset. “Imagine we are having twelve guests for dinner at 8:00 pm this evening. The Head Butler has asked you to set the table according to this menu. It is now…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 44: Tequila Sunrise

by Amer A. Vargas

One of the most successful sitcoms in recent years, The Big Bang Theory, says goodbye to TV screen audiences this season. And as anyone who enjoyed this TV series knows, all of the characters in the show maintain a healthy relationship with wine, liqueurs and cocktails.

A few years ago, we already talked about the miraculous «Grasshopper» cocktail that allowed Raj Koothrappali to start talking with the ladies. Do you remember…

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Consulting the Silver Expert: Cleaning and Polishing Silver, Part 1 of 2

by Jeff Herman

When properly maintained, silver will yield generations of enjoyment. The following cleaning instructions have been tried and proven in my silver restoration & conservation studio. They are suited for gold as well as silver. Silver-plated and gold-plated items should be treated very gingerly, as cleaning them too vigorous can remove the plating and expose the base metal.

As what we are cleaning is tarnish, let’s examine what causes these metals to tarnish…

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

This month, we include feedback from students of our VP of Operations in Asia, Mr. Budi Prihardjanto, who recently trained at the St Regis in Kuala Lumpur:

«Most useful: always be sincere in what we do, think or intentions; he teach(es) me that all people can feel when we are genuine to help, this helps me a lot to be better person with a positive mentality. Trainer is funny, knowledgeable, and an all-rounded person. He was straight to the point, easy to understand

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Recent Hospitality Graduates

In this month’s edition, we welcome new graduates from the St Regis Kuala Lumpur where the VP of Operations for Asia, Mr. Budi Prihardjanto, trained a large group of butlers. Now they are ready for the excitement of using what they learned on their job!…

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Creative Corner

featuring Kobi Gutman

It has been a year since Mr. Gutman shared the artwork he creates for the guests at his hotel. He has not been idle meanwhile: Here we have a creative way of presenting a watermelon that was tailored to the guest interests. As well as an expressive clay statue.

If art is the quality of communication, and that is as good a definition as any, then these communications certainly qualify, adding value to the guest experience…

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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.