The Modern Butlers’ Journal, May 2019

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

We are pleased to announce the launch of The Butler Experience, based in Mauritius, which has its own academy for training service professionals in the needed soft skills to provide superior service, and then hospitality butler training, and then private service butler training. These three courses are done in sequence, and are followed by training in the multiple disciplines needed to service the expectations and needs of today’s high-end, international clients…

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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.

There was one mention of a «cashmere butler,» which is a new one. The article explaining the term is rather interesting and can be found…

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Letters to the Editor

«The other night I watched a TV report on the Royal Mansour, one of the world’s best hotels. The in-house butler-service trainer explained that the conversational distance between the guest and an employee has to be at least 1.60 m. Can you confirm the latter?» JE. Ed: The butler trainer is spouting another one of these unfortunate datums that tries to substitute a rule for intelligent and perceptive action: A Texan might not find 1.6 meters enough…

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Professional Standards of Performance, Applications #15: Promotion of the Profession

by Prof. Richard Ratliff

Scenario: I recently visited a friend and his wife, who are living in an upscale retirement facility near a large city in the Western United States. The facility is beautifully designed; immaculate; with luxury apartments, professionally landscaped grounds, guest quarters, a large private dining room for luncheons and dinner parties, and ample parking space, including garage service. It houses a movie theater, a quiet, well-equipped library, a chapel, an exercise room and personal trainer, and is well-located for various activities such as…

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 24: The Valet’s Position

by Steven Ferry

Several pages on managing the gentleman’s dressing room contain unsurprising information, meaning that the valet’s position has not changed so much over the centuries. One peculiarity is that the butler/valet is advised always to note whether an item of clothing being sent to the laundry is old or new, and to check the laundry when returned from the laundress, particularly when traveling in hotels abroad—as sometimes old items were substituted for new ones…

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The Butlers Speak: PA Functions

by Steven Ferry

Thanks to those who responded to this month’ survey: As always, your answers are «slap on the button and leading by a lenght in the final furlong,» to quote Bernie Wooster…and appreciated! This month’s exploration was into the world of the Personal Assistant—a position in its own right but which is sometimes assigned to the Butler or Household/Estates Manager to cover. How often is the butler/HM tasked with PA functions was the key question, and per the…

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Staff Training: Popper – «P» for Present

by Frank Mitchell

Telling is not teaching. Demonstrate the task. Remember the two standards from Chapter 8? This requires two demonstrations. I start by demonstrating the quality standard, taking my time and explaining what I am doing and why. “This is how neatly you must do it to pass your test. Note what I am doing with the corners – if you do not align them, the fold will not work.» Next, demonstrate the speed necessary to achieve competence. This is not how…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 43: Red Snapper

by Amer A. Vargas

On this occasion, we introduce you to a refreshing cocktail in celebration of the better weather that May often brings – this one will bring Spring to your palate, too. You are probably familiar with the classic Bloody Mary? Well in this case, we are swapping the vodka for gin, but keeping the rest of the ingredients and leaving the presentation untouched, to help us create the Red Snapper. In case you don’t know how to make it, these are the ingredients you…

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Consulting the Silver Expert: Basic Silver-Care Advice, Part 2 of 2

by Jeff Herman

11. To remove tarnish in tight spaces, use a Q-tip or wrap a wooden popsicle stick or skewer with a cotton make-up pad or cotton ball; 12. Cleaning silver in a dishwasher is not advised, as the heat and harsh detergents will eventually whiten the silver, causing it to require professional refinishing. In addition, dishwashers can cause blades to explode out of hollow-handled knives; 13. Silver flatware used on a daily basis will require little or no polishing. Handwash with a non-lemon-scented phosphate-free detergent…

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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, Budi Prihardjanto, who trained at Fushifaru in the Maldives, and from Chairman Ferry’s students at The Butler Experience in Mauritius: «Budi is the best trainer I have ever had, with a lot of positivity and motivation, and an enthusiasm that goes beyond expectations, explaining every detail. He changed the way I think professionally and in my personal life—a totally positive outlook and new mindset.” KK

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Recent Hospitality Graduates

In this month’s edition, we welcome new graduates from Fushifaru Maldives as well as from The Butler Experience in Grand Baie, Mauritius. To all of you, our best wishes in your exciting new profession!

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Placement and Job Vacancies

Scottsdale, AZ family seeks a full-time butler and under-butler, 110K and 50K p.a. respectively with full benefits. Butler needs 5-10 years experience; the under-butler can be new to the profession. If interested and you have a US work permit, contact us and we’ll send more information

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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.