Monday, July 27, 2009

We're in the News!

Recently, the Academy seems to be receiving a great deal of media coverage, which has me wondering why. Don't get me wrong, I am most definitely not complaining. And, I may be a little biased, but I actually agree that the Academy is wonderful good news story.

As I think about it, the media seems to be responding to an uptick in interest from the general public in training for alternative professions. In today's economy we are all having to go back to school to some degree, whether it be economists trying to understand what went wrong or the person who just lost a job in the automotive sector who is considering a career change into private service as a House Manager.

When job markets are tight, as they continue to be both in Canada and the US, schooling represents an opportunity to re-tool for a different career. This, at least, seems to be the case with many of the recent Academy applicants.

Our most recent coverage is a feature in today's edition of the Toronto Star written by Ben Rayner. Follow the link to find the article:

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Spring/Summer '09 Graduating Class

This was a happy weekend for us at the Charles MacPherson Academy. On Saturday students wrote their final exams, on Sunday they graduated from the program and as of today they are beginning their private service careers with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in their new field.

I always have mixed feelings on graduation day at the end of the 8-week program. On the one hand I'm happy and proud of the students and I'm genuinely excited for them as they enter the workforce. On the other hand, I'm always a little sad to see everyone leave. I guess I'm suffering from the empty nest syndrome.

To continue with the nest metaphor, I was very happy to see an alumnus "return to the nest" for the graduating ceremony. I always tell students that they should feel that the Academy is their home away from home. It was truly gratifying to know that those words were taken seriously by our top graduate from the previous session.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to Steam a Ballgown with Bonnie Aprile

I am so happy to have former house manager, Bonnie Aprile teaching at the Academy. She has been a welcome addition to our team of instructors. Ms. Aprile's specialty is in housekeeping as well as wardrobe management.

In this clip, Ms. Aprile teaches student Brian Betsworth how to properly steam a ballgown. I'm sorry about the sound quality. Hopefully everyone will be able to hear the instructions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Household as Theatre with John Robertson

In this second installment of my conversation with Mr. Robertson, the household as theatre is discussed. I've always thought it's a very instructive analogy for those either already working in or for those thinking of entering private service. I hope you enjoy the video.

Remember to send in your questions for the "Ask Charles" segments of The Butler Speaks. I'll do my best to answer them all!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Chat with John Robertson, Butler and Expert in Protocol and Etiquette

John Robertson is a good friend as well as an instructor at the Charles MacPherson Academy. He is also a professional house manager and recognized trainer in the private service industry. From California to Dubai, he has taught service and butler skills in five- and seven-star hotels and exclusive clubs, in private homes and aboard private yachts.

John received his formal protocol and etiquette training and certification from The Protocol School of Washington and his formal butler training at the Ivor Spencer International School for Butler Administrators in London. He attended the University of Toronto, Concordia University and Harvard. More recently, Cornell University determined his cumulative education and experience, the equivalent of a bachelor of arts degree in hospitality management.

In this first of two videos, Charles chats with Mr. Robertson about how he became a butler as well as an expert in protocol and etiquette.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sabering Champagne with Marcel

Marcel Bregstein, Sommelier and Clubhouse Manager at the prestigious Toronto Hunt Club, demonstrates to the students the traditional art of opening a bottle of champagne using a sabre.

Remember, don’t try this at home. It’s better to leave it to the “sabre-rattling” professionals!

Finally, we cannot report whether or not the students enjoyed a glass of champagne after Mr. Bregstein’s demonstration.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Tour of the Charles MacPherson Academy

Today the students are out of class to receive their certification for first aid. Because the classroom is empty, I thought I would take advantage and take some photographs so that everyone could see our Academy for Butlers and Household Managers.

My objective when we were designing the space was to provide a laboratory setting where each student receives a hands-on learning experience using all the tools and products of a fine home. The room is designed so that it can be altered into all kinds of teaching forums - from a traditional classroom setting to a laundry room, and from a butler's pantry to a fully stocked wardrobe.

The key to the room's success is its flexibility so that the learning experience of each student can be maximized. I hope these photographs help to convey that flexibility. I also hope you enjoy the tour!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Inaugural Fireside Chat with Charles - Part 2

In Part 2 of the fireside chat, Charles explains the process for storing cashmere sweaters.