Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to Iron a Shirt

Check the care label for the proper ironing instructions and temperature setting. For best results cotton and linen shirts should be lightly dampened with water before ironing.

Step #1: Spread the collar out on the ironing board with the right side facing down. Iron the back of the collar first and then the front. Use the tip of the iron, pressing from the collar points and work towards the middle.

Step #2: Iron the yoke, starting with the shoulder areas first and then do the back yoke.

Step #3: Use the spray bottle with water to keep the shirt damp. Iron the cuffs by pressing inside of cuff first, then the outside.

Step #4: Lay the sleeve flat on the ironing board with the cuff opening up and begin ironing from the shoulder seam down to the the cuff. Turn the sleeve over to iron the other side. Repeat the process with the other sleeve.
Step #5: Iron the body of the shirt starting from one front panel, then do the back and finally the remaining front panel.

Step #6: Use the tip of the iron to press the area around buttons. NEVER iron over the buttons.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our Annual Media Luncheon

This past week we hosted our 2nd annual media luncheon and I'm happy to report that it was a huge success! We were very honored to have Tristan Reese Jones as a guest speaker. As a former footman to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Mr. Jones was able to share interesting information without ever compromising his finely-tuned discretion. Mr. Jones was presented with an honorary diploma from the Charles MacPherson Academy for Butlers and Household Managers in recognition of his professionalism and his commitment to private service.

We also did something fun this year. Instead of usual plate service, lunch was served in Tiffins and consisted of 4 courses - vichyssoise, a delicious shanghai salad, a Banh Mi (a Vietnamese submarine served on crunchy baguette) and a decadent chocolate brownie!!! I think everyone had a good time with their Tiffins and really enjoyed the creative food courtesy of the very talented Chef Matthew Binkley. Thank-you Matt!
I hope you enjoy some of the photographs of the event.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Butler Bingo

Monday, May 10, 2010

Say Cheese!

The other day the students greeted me in the hallway, blind-folded me and escorted me into the classroom. I didn't know what to expect and, at first, I was a little disconcerted. I wasn't sure if I was off to my execution or if I was going to have to pin the tail on a donkey. As it turns out, the preceding day in class we had discussed various types of cheeses and the different ways they can be served. With that lesson in mind, the students thought it would be a nice surprise to go off to the famous St. Lawrence market over their lunch and return to class and display all the cheeses and fruit that they had selected. The labels were removed before service. I was honestly touched that they would have gone to such an effort. It really was a wonderful surprise.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Ms. Kinshella

Being away from home can be difficult for students, particularly on special occasions like birthdays. I hope all of you will join us as we wish student Ms. Kinshella a very happy birthday with many happy returns.

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Walking Tour of Mumbai

When I'm traveling on business I always try to take a little time out to enjoy the sights. In Mumbai there certainly is a lot to see. I hope you enjoy this video of my walking tour. I had a lot of fun making it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Preparing for 2010 FIFA World Cup

I was recently invited by the Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa in Johannesburg, South Africa to train their team of butlers in anticipation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I had such a wonderful time in Johannesburg with this group of Butlers. This was my first trip to South Africa. Unfortunately, however, I did not have very much time to explore the city, but I look forward to spending more time exploring on my next visit.

This Butler team was really great and we even had a wonderful lady from the Housekeeping Department join us so that she could better understand what the Butlers do and translate their importance to the rest of the Housekeeping team.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Tiffin


I have just returned from an incredible trip to India where I was in both Hyderabad and Mumbai (formerly Bombay). While in Mumbai, I had the pleasure of purchasing a "tiffin", which is a small metal carrying vessel used to transport lunch. It might seem silly, but I was so excited, I had to take some pictures, which are below. I also took pictures of the little shop where I bought my tiffin and finally the wonderful store owner who sold it to me.

In India, tiffins are picked up and delivered by dabbawalas who travel long and complex distances to get the tiffins to their lucky owners.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Butlers to the rescue!

The students recently took their first aid and CPR so that they can receive their certification. Its a great skill to have when working in a home. Hopefully they will never have to use it, but if they do, they will be prepared!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Attention to Detail at The Wheatleigh- Part 1

I find it funny that it's so often the smallest details that catch my eye. It also dawns on me that readers are going to start to think I spend a lot of time in hotel bathrooms. Let's face it though that in a hotel room after the bed, the bathroom is arguably the most important component of the suite. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this first part of a series on attention to detail at The Wheatleigh.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What makes a great hotel bathroom?

I'm often asked what goes into making a great hotel bathroom. On a recent trip to Las Vegas I encountered a bathroom that answers the question perfectly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Smoking Good Class

At the Academy we like to stress that the learning experience be hands-on. In the cigar class for example this means that students learn how cigars are made, what varieties are available, how they are stored and, as you can see in the picture below, the hands-on experience even extends to how they are smoked!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Comments & Questions

Now readers of The Butler Speaks can post their comments and ask questions without having to sign up for a Google account. Remember, we love lots of questions and promise to answer as many of your questions as possible... So ask away!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Flower Power

Bert Browne of Earthwork is a good friend, florist extraordinaire and instructor at the Academy. He recently instructed the students in flower arranging and plant care. The idea behind the one-day flower arranging class is to give the students sufficient knowledge to equip them to perform basic flower arranging for their employers. As with the other classes in the 8-week Butler and Household Manager program, the emphasis is on the development of a good practical skill set... It doesn't hurt to be able to work with beautiful things either.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fruit Loopy

I was recently at a luxury hotel in Las Vegas and wanted to share with everyone the fresh fruit basket I found in my suite upon arrival. Boy let me tell you that is a lot of fresh fruit for one person, but it certainly was beautiful.

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's all in the detail

When I'm traveling for business, I'm typically being hired for my critical eye. Invariably though, I always find things that catch my eye because they are done well. Here is an example.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Butlers and Bow Ties

We're in full session at the Academy and here are a few photos of butlers learning to tie the perfect bow tie!