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Australian Butler Blog

Antique silver flatware finds new lease of life

// posted by Pamela Spruce on Saturday, February 11, 2012

Feb 11

My father collects antique silver, well, antique everything.  I was privileged to grow up in a house where we dined and still dine using antique silver flatware.  And yes, it does all go in the dishwasher but dishwashers and dishwashing detergents have evolved significantly in the last 20 years.  Dishwashers with a cutlery tray where each utensil can be separated from its neighbour are far superior to the old style one one-in-all-in cutlery baskets.  However, whether to clean or not to clean using the dishwasher is a long discussion for another post and ultimately a decision for the principal.

In the effort to obliterate stainless steel from the dining table, or even any utensils pre-1850, this fish slice, made in London in 1837, is now the perfect serving utensil for any pavlovas made by visiting Antipodeans.

Every butler should know how to polish and store silver and indeed be able to identify some of the more esoteric flatware which might be lurking in the silver cupboard just waiting for a new lease on life.  So I challenge you to broaden your knowledge and identify the items pictured right and guess how they might possible be put to effect use today!

March Residential Butler Training Course

// posted by Pamela Spruce on Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jan 31

Preparations are well underway for the next Residential Butler Training Course to be held in the country town of Avenel just over an hour north of Melbourne.  Avenel is located in the Strathbogie Ranges, an area of great natural beauty surrounded by vineyards and boutique wineries.  

"Harvest Home" provides both the venue for the training and accommodation for the participants.  Built in the 1870s, this magnificent historic building has many original features all of which will come under the eagle eye of the future butlers as they dust, polish and vacuum to the highest standards!  And that is just part of the housekeeping practical.  Full details of the course can be found by clicking on the website tab The Training / Residential Butler Training.

Course dates are Monday 05 March to Friday 30 March 2012.  The course is intense, challenging, thorough but fun!  Learn the skills of a contemporary butler and the tools to work as an effective team member as you study alongside your fellow students in individual and group activities.  Living, cooking and learning together, professional friendships will be forged that last a lifetime.

If you are interested in enrolling, you need to be quick. Please call or email with any queries or just to find out what the course is all about.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained and there is no such thing as a 'silly question'.

Australian Butler School trains at The Star, Sydney

// posted by Pamela Spruce on Monday, January 16, 2012

Jan 16

Les Watson and Georgie Owens recently completed a busy two week training course for the six Senior Executive Butlers at the Star in Pyrmont.  The program was designed to validate current working practices, identify areas for improvements, build new SOPs and provide the group with the tools to pass training knowledge and skills to their individual teams.

Congratulations to the six graduates who participated enthusiastically throughout the course whilst still managing their own demanding schedules.  The Senior Executive team has a huge task of them with the opening of further luxury suites and gaming salons and we wish them every success in reaching their goal “to provide the best customer service in the world”.

The importance of correct attire

// posted by Pamela Spruce on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sep 27

We are very often asked by students “what does a butler wear”?

According to Emily Post*, “in the morning the butler would wear an ordinary suit—black or very dark blue—with a dark, inconspicuous tie.  For luncheon or earlier, if he is on duty at the door, he wears black trousers, with grey stripes, a double-breasted, high-cut, black waistcoat, and black swallowtail coat without satin on the reverse, a white stiff-bosomed shirt with standing collar, and a black four-in-hand tie.  In the evening, at 6.00 pm, he would put on a slightly different version of evening dress (either black tie or white tie) to his employer.”

This constant changing of clothing would certainly not be considered productive, nor achievable, in today’s busy world.

So what does the contemporary Australian butler wear?

This is of course the decision of the employer. 

For men, generally a well cut, dark, conservative suit is acceptable, with white or other pale coloured, plain shirt and elegant but conservative tie.  Shoes should be closed lace up style, black, highly polished, well heeled, comfortable and silent.

For women, a well cut, dark coloured business suit with white or other pale coloured, plain shirt, is preferable.  Shoes should be dark, low heeled, comfortable and silent.  Versions of traditional male butler apparel adapted for women do not generally achieve the sophistication required. 

Vests worn with shirts can be a smart alternative to a jacket for less formal wear.  Accessories should be limited and understated. It is not often that the butler is still required to wear white gloves during service.  He may, however, carry gloves with him and certainly always a service cloth.

Some households prefer their butler to appear in less formal attire.  This is especially the case, for example, at the employers’ beach house or if the employer sees Australia as a place where less formal dress regulations apply and therefore both he and the butler have the opportunity to dress in a more relaxed fashion.

Appropriate dress for this situation may include polo shirt and chinos (or even shorts in summer) with a change to more formal attire if the family is entertaining.

*Emily Post, American doyenne of etiquette and manners for many decades, following publication of her 1922 best seller, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home

Australian Butlers – World Domination?

// posted by Pamela Spruce on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sep 27

Australia and Australians are widely recognised for punching above their weight and the Australian Butler School is no exception with graduates working in luxury private residences, aboard super yachts and in embassies and royal palaces around the world.

The School welcomes students of all nationalities who meet the application criteria and will ensure that the time they spend in Australia is rewarding for both their professional and personal lives.

The Statement of Attainment awarded to successful participants can be a passport to the universe as evidenced by this photograph recently sent to us by a past graduate.

Australian Butler School – Training in Sri Lanka

// posted by Pamela Spruce on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sep 27

The Australian Butler School was recently asked to design and deliver a four week training program at the luxury Fortress Resort and Spa in Galle, Sri Lanka. 

Fifteen students graduated and should be congratulated for their dedication.   Not only did they attend class but performed their usual duties throughout the course due to the constant, unexpectedly high occupancy.

The graduates all showed great enthusiasm, attention to detail and worked together as a team to ensure all participants benefitted equally from the training. 

The Australian Butler School thanks Management and Staff for their exceptional hospitality throughout their stay.

Australian Butlers –Ready for anything?

// posted by Pamela Spruce on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sep 27

The typical image that springs to mind as soon as the word ‘butler’ is mentioned is the archtypical English manservant of the 19th century – white haired, slightly stooped, dripping nose, attired in a shabby black tailcoat and white gloves proffering a drink on a silver salver or heaving open a solid oak front door. Not so his modern Australian equivalent who may indeed be a ‘her’.   Whilst some may quip that “Australian Butler” is an oxymoron, the truth is that Australian butlers are much sought after internationally for their no-nonsense, can-do, common sense approach. 

“Other duties as required” means digging out the cracked water pipe, delivering a lamb, cleaning the dog’s teeth … and Aussie butlers take up the challenge, no complaints!