The Modern Butlers’ Journal, March 2019

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

This month, I’d like to share the words of a friend of more years than I’d care to say publicly, and a business colleague who owns a PR and marketing agency ( that is most socially inclined, as well as very effective. Her words resonate in our field, too, and reinforce the focus of the Institute since its founding: «Today, thanks to questionable algorithms, split-sourced DNA testing, dating surveys, smart homes, smart phones and smart devices, we are told how to think…

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Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

Our favorite turncoat is now the go-to person anytime the mainstream media wants some tittle tattle (idle talk, gossip) on royal goings-on. No point in forwarding the self-absorbed and -aggrandizing tripe expressed, but our profession continues to be poorly and regularly misrepresented by this ex-butler. Our best strategy is to simply set people straight wherever they believe or consider anything this person says or does to be normal for a butler…

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Professional Standards of Performance, Applications #14: Simple Elegance

by Prof. Richard Ratliff

Scenario: A young couple is planning a wedding in a few months. It is to be a very nice affair, bringing in more than two-hundred guests from several parts of the country, all expecting a grand occasion. The wedding is to be conducted in the groom’s home town, and the bride’s family are to travel some 1,500 miles for the ceremony and celebration.The mothers of the groom and bride, respectively, have agreed that the groom’s mother should plan and make the arrangements for both the…

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 22: Hats and Their Care

by Steven Ferry

Hats were a big fashion and status statement and requirement for men two centuries ago—not so much today. But if your employer needs a hat cared for, such as a top hat for formal wear, then these tips from the past may help. But I would also suggest the provider or manufacturer be consulted for more up-to-date solutions—or that one first practice the below on an old, discarded hat: 1.Wipe off any liquid with a cloth or silk handkerchief; 2. Brush the hat with a soft brush after…

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The Butlers Speak: Landscaping Duties

by Steven Ferry

This month’s topic examines the duties butlers and household/estate managers have regarding landscaping. In all cases, the duties were to oversee the work of the landscapers on behalf of the employer, relaying his or her wishes and seeing that they were complied with—not just regarding vegetation, but also the maintenance of construction such as rock walls, pavers, and fences. One household manager provided a detailed account of their duties…

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Staff Training: Popper – «P» for Prepare

by Frank Mitchell

Your participants will judge the quality and usefulness of the training on your presentation skills. The foundation of a well-organized, smooth training session is good preparation. Where the unprepared trainer finds impatience and objection, the well-prepared trainer enjoys support and acceptance, even when things go wrong. Preparation includes fully understanding what you are training (subject), why you are training it (objectives) and how you want it done…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 42: Red Carpets

by Amer A. Vargas

Since the Oscar Awards are still fresh on our minds, this month’s cocktail is my personal choice of a cocktail that I first tried quite a long time ago. This particular recipe is provided by our friends from, and as they say, this drink is worthy of an Oscar itself! As I mentioned above, the Red Carpet is a personal choice of mine and those who like bitter-sweet flavors are in luck, as it makes good use of the following ingredients…

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Consulting the Silver Expert: Which Silver Polish to Use

by Jeff Herman

Following last month’s article, I provide a list on my website of the many products on the market today for polishing silver. Some are excellent and extremely mild, some are slightly more abrasive. Then there are those that are so abrasive, they act more like sand paper! And let’s not forget the dips that may appear to be harmless, but actually strip away precious metal and patina. Take a look at my Silver Polish Abrasion Ratings page to discover if you’re caring…

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

The following is a response from the General Manager of Hurawalhi and Kudadoo Private Island in the Maldives after a training performed in recent months by the International Institute of Modern Butlers: «Thanks to all your help, we had a very successful opening and everything went very smoothly with many guests commenting that they couldn’t believe we had just opened, based on the experience they received…

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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.