The Modern Butlers’ Journal, May 2020

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

As butlers, we care about people: Certainly about our employers, but also the staff we rely on to keep the estate running, the vendors, and by extension, their families, the police who keep order, the shopkeepers, etc. In the same vein, we might well care about all humans and other life forms that survive on this narrow band around the world, because the better we all do, the better we all do. So it is that I have to wonder about the best efforts to help us through this apparent pandemic. Are we really on the right track?…

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Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

With 90% of the media focused on government responses to the virus, collapsing economies, and the invisible dangers presented by the virus, there was no room for matters butler. In fact, the only two mentions were of products given butler names: A “Butler Globe Light” and a “Yard Butler”—the latter is a wall-hanging support for a garden hose and should not be confused with the Yard Butler that holds large plastic bags open so one can put fallen leaves into them. Ah well, that is the drawback for being recognized as the quintessential service providers…

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Letters to the Editor

“I am surprised to find two things that need correcting in the latest edition of your always excellent newsletter: Ivor Spencer was made an MBE by the Queen, not knighted. Had he he been knighted, he would be known as Sir Ivor, not Sir Spencer as you wrote. I do hope you are keeping active, fit and well during these ‘horror movie’ times. Warmest regards,” RE

Ed: Thanks for pointing out these errors. I see we have a common misconception in the profession that Mr. Spencer was knighted as an MBE and therefore

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The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 36: Dinner Service

by Steven Ferry

The sideboard and side table were not just functional mis-en-place tools but also an opportunity to create a beautiful presentation that showed off the various tableware of the household, such as the “glasses and small waiters [8″ tray], the cruet-stand [for holding condiment containers], sugar-basin, and the cut-glass water jug, which is to go on with the dessert, and a few silver spoons.”

Two words of caution: a) If there were not enough glasses, “never attempt to make three or four persons drink out of one glass, as that is a filthy trick.” b) Place…

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The Butlers Speak: What is the Proper Exchange, Salary, etc. for a Butler/Estate Manager

by Steven Ferry

This month we examine a topic that impacts every butler and estate manager—their remuneration package. As some people in the profession and the media have lowballed the exchange given to butlers and estate managers from time to time, which is not helpful when negotiating a salary, especially with an employer not used to having butlers or estate managers, we thought we’d ask what the general experience has been. Salary amounts have been converted to USD for the sake of consistency and refer to net…

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Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 55: Strawberry Sake Cocktail

by Amer A. Vargas

Even though traveling is currently limited worldwide, this month our cocktail column takes us to Japan to find the origin of this month’s cocktail choice: the Strawberry Sake cocktail.

This exquisite concoction combines the sweetness of strawberries, the acidity of yuzu juice and the exclusive fruitiness of a nice sake. These are the ingredients that you need for two servings…

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Consulting the Silver Expert: Some Random Questions and Answers

by Jeff Herman

Q: Where can I find glass liners made for my open salt container (cruet)?

A: Pairpoint Glassworks will hand-blow liners in any color for open salts, ice buckets, casseroles, etc. They do excellent work and prices are very reasonable.

Q: Why can’t I remove a stain from my silver salver after serving a roast?…

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Creative Corner

featuring Kobi Gutman

More magic created by the butler for guests. In the butler’s own words:

“Here are a few little things I made for guests in the last couple of days—fun for me, to be sure, but it is amazing how these little creations, which take very little time once you have mastered the techniques, routinely bring smiles to the guests and others.

“A lady guest staying in one of the suites left for a day and so I went on…

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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.