The Modern Butlers’ Journal, June 2020

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

The Institute is happy to participate in International Butlers’ Day as a way of forwarding the profession’s image the world over and of allowing us all the opportunity to celebrate the profession and occasion in different ways. Ms. Josephine Ive of Magnum’s Academy in Australia came up with the idea. #internationalbutlersday

On a different subject, as much as we are probably all fed up with hearing about this pandemic, it is something that is still very much front and center in…

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Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

There was little in the media about butlers this past month, other than a couple of butlers talking about their ex-employers and guests….

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Letters to the Editor

“I very much agree with all you have written. It will be very interesting to hear & read from all—including governments, pharmaceutical, & tech companies, what will be said & hopefully learned with hindsight from this sorry state of affairs.” RS. Ed: Agreed—we definitely need to learn the right lessons from this experience.

“A very timely and informative article and true in my estimation!”

“Regarding your editorial in the Modern Butler’s Journal dated May 1, I thought you were 100% correct.  A mentor once told me to be doubly aware of the difference…

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 37: The Sideboard

by Steven Ferry

The side-table had its own particular function, where the plates, food, and sharper silverware are placed, … the items to be used first being placed at the front. Mis-en-place included having d’Oyleys [Doilies], and dessert knives, forks and spoons placed on the dessert plates, rather than having the silverware placed already on the table, as is done by butlers these days. Various options are given that might not apply today, but the following basic words of advice apply just as much then as now: “Whether you have a few or many at any time to dinner, make it a matter of thought how you…

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The Butlers Speak: Vacations and Time Off/Schedule

by Steven Ferry

Vacation and holidays granted by employers vary from generous to positively mediaeval.

“Currently I receive 5 weeks of paid vacation and 8 paid holidays.”

“I have had 6 employers in a 40-year career, so vacation and holidays have varied, in part because Federal laws have been changing. I am supposed to have three weeks off this coming year (starting my seventh year), but still cannot get my second week off (in practice). I have been made to take my vacation days for week two, one day at a time…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 56: Whiskey Sour (and Variations)

by Amer A. Vargas

Welcome again to the fascinating and diverse world of cocktails.

On this occasion, we devote our article to a century-and-a-half old cocktail that is never out of fashion. A few months back we published the Thyme Will Tell recipe, a variation of the original Whiskey Sour we are revisiting today.

Interestingly enough, the Whiskey Sour was first mixed during the second half of the nineteenth century and published in El Comercio de Iquique, a Peruvian…

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Consulting the Silver Expert: Some Random Questions and Answers

by Jeff Herman

Q: Can I use powdered chalk and water to polish silver?

A: The short answer is that it’s not recommended. Modern-day chalk is made with either calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate. There are different grades of both of these materials. Only laboratory-grade calcium carbonate is recommended; anything else is much too abrasive for your silver. Normally, the calcium carbonate is combined with denatured alcohol and worked into a slurry. The slurry is then applied with a moist cellulose sponge…

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Creative Corner

featuring Kobi Gutman

Whether you are in private service or in hospitality, or any other field where you look after others, family members included, there is every reason to acquire skills that bring a smile to the faces of others.

Mr. Gutman recognized that in the tradition of turndown gifts, there was room for some creativity to add to the turndown experience of his hotel guests, and so he started simple by carving fruits—which we have shown in earlier MBJ editions—that were themed according to guest interests. These were a great hit, so he researched and practiced and improved, branching out into making molds that…

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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.