Bloomberg Businessweek wrote about a new butler school created by Christopher Ely in conjunction with FCI founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton – yeah now we have yet another housekeeping school to train more up and coming private service staff.
One of the biggest complaints is that our management in private homes will NOT train their staff. They want top of the market, latest, greatest housekeepers to know what they are doing – oh and they want youthful and energetic. Hummm, that doesn’t just spring up from nowhere and who the heck is born into private service these days?
Ages ago the lady of the house used to train her staff, what happened? No time? No time for even the butler and head housekeeper (old term for the head of the female staff) to train – OMG. People, people, people. Well it looks like we can’t change anyone but we can send out to training schools. Yeah!! FHP
Max Abelson reports on the subject:
Christopher Ely is prone to philosophizing about his life’s work. “You should be invisible, to a certain point,” he explains carefully, wearing a navy blue pinstriped suit and well-polished shoes. “You exist, of course, but you don’t.” Ely, of course, is describing the secrets of the manservant trade. As one of New York’s most famous butlers, he’s enjoyed a storied career that began as a footman at Buckingham Palace and led to a job as the butler and estate manager for philanthropist and power widow Brooke Astor. Ely, 48, does not use the term “manservant.” The word, he says, “has such connotation to it.”
This is one of the many tips Ely is preparing to pass on to the next generation of butlers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, governesses, housemen, personal assistants, laundresses, and chefs. This week he and Manhattan’s French Culinary Institute inaugurate the Estate Management Studies program. Tired of hearing people tell him, “We couldn’t get good staff,” Ely says, he set out to reinvigorate the entire domestic-service industry with a curriculum that combines its ancient hallmarks—efficiency, decorum, and discretion—with what the institute calls the “contemporary skills necessary to manage modern-day residences.”
Ely and FCI founder and Chief Executive Officer Dorothy Cann Hamilton have already developed courses on laundry, household cleaning, and the “practice of being a private chef”—25 hours and $1,750 each—in addition to a $1,995, 30-hour “culinary essentials” tutorial. Ely believes he can enlighten and “elevate” his students through his intimate knowledge of linen steaming, towel folding, seafood canapé preparation, and the all-important butlering tenet: invisibility. “It’s not like a waiter in a restaurant that’s bothering you every two seconds,” he says firmly. In all, the FCI is planning a 12-course curriculum.