“I once had an enquiry for a chauffeur for which part of the job spec was to play tennis with the boss every morning. This wasn’t just about sitting in a car, reading a newspaper and waiting for the boss to reappear. It required someone who could interact and form a meaningful working relationship, whilst understanding the obvious boundaries. We successfully placed someone in that job.”
Jerome Thomas, who comes from Lorraine in the east of France, has been with Randolphs for four years, expertly running the desk which recruits house managers, butlers, chauffeurs, chefs and occasionally gardeners for high-profile international households. The positions are mainly based in London and the home counties, but placements are made further afield in the UK and also in the US, Australia, Africa and Kuwait.
Here’s how Jerome describes his job:
“I feel very lucky to be working on the most prestigious roles at Randolphs, placing the very best candidates in extraordinary and exciting job opportunities.
“A huge amount of work goes into the process, which usually starts when I am contacted by a PA or house manager. Clients come to Randolphs for our 15-year experience, our insight, and also because they know we’ll only send them candidates with the right experience and personality – we don’t put forward average ones.
“Job descriptions vary widely and sometimes, when there’s not a great deal of information, I have to use my experience to understand what’s required. We’ll then advertise the job on our website, we look for people on LinkedIn, and we contact candidates we have on the books. When we have created a pool of possible candidates, all with at least three years of relevant experience, we then carry out preliminary interviews, request references and finally send a shortlist of CVs to the family or the PA.
“Candidates will then be called in for an interview with the PA, the house manager, the director of the family office or even sometimes the principal: the PAs know their employers and what they expect; but also the candidate has to click with the family. This process can take anything from a couple of weeks to months, but is usually completed in four to five weeks.
“Some of our clients are regular: when you prove yourself they stay with you because they’re satisfied with your performance and service. Recruiting at this level is challenging because of the high expectations of the clients, so I’m always happy when we meet those expectations; for example I recently placed a senior role – a chief of staff – who would be working between Monaco, St Moritz and New York, responsible for structuring the operation of all the households, including the yachts and jets.
“I’m equally satisfied when I help to get someone really good into a great job.”
If you would like to be considered as a candidate for one of our positions, or if you are potentially a client, please do get in touch with Jerome or any of the team at Randolphs on +44 (0)20 3617 9120 or email email@example.com.
We are delighted to announce the opening of a dedicated Russian desk to service our many Russian clients based in London and overseas. The desk will be headed up by Victoria Life, a Russian from St Petersburg, whose relevant experience and ability to speak the language will facilitate a far smoother experience for Russians looking to recruit private household staff, including butlers, chefs, chauffeurs, housekeepers, executive assistants, governesses or childcare.
Victoria, who gained a degree in business law in St Petersburg, spent seven years as a company lawyer in Russia, before relocating, first to the Philippines, where she worked in human resources in Manila, and then to London, with her English husband. Since 2012 she has specialised in recruitment.
A fine communicator with a natural talent for recruitment, Victoria finds herself in an ideal new role. Of her particular market, she says: “In Moscow, and also in France where a lot of Russians live, people often ask for native English-speaking governesses and also traditional English butlers. It’s a demanding market; but also an expanding one. We have many Russian-speaking clients in London and also the south of France, and the number is growing. So these are the clients I shall be looking after, regardless of where they are based.”
Victoria and the Randolphs Russian desk can be contacted on +44 (0)20 3617 9120 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the reasons we love returning to Royal Ascot year after year – we provide butlers and other high-calibre staff to serve VIPs at the racecourse, including within the Royal Enclosure – is that you get to feel part of a tradition that is long-established, historic and typically British.
Here’s an image of our founder, Steven Randolph, with Rene and Eddie, two of the Greencoats who form part of the pageantry, acting as stewards and presenting a guard of honour as The Queen leaves the racecourse at the end of each day.
Racing began at Ascot on August 11, 1711, when Queen Anne (1702-1714) dedicated the heathland at East Cote to racing. It is said while she was at Windsor Castle she imported a large quantity of green velour from France with which to have her curtains made, and there was enough left over to make uniforms for her Yeoman Prickers – or possibly the other way around.
The Yeoman Prickers’ duty in Queen Anne’s day was to clear the course of pedestrians once the monarch and her party had taken their places in the viewing stands. Today, of course, the Greencoats are no longer armed with pikes… but they still attend to The Queen and the royal family, steward the public and act as ambassadors. Most are ex-servicemen, and clearly they are an important part of Royal Ascot’s unique heritage, a tradition that is likely to go on as long as there is racing at Ascot.
To find out about having a Randolphs butler, chef or other service staff at your event, please get in touch with email@example.com
Randolphs has a specialist team of recruitment consultants who source and place domestic service staff, including butlers, chefs, house managers, housekeepers, cooks, maids, nannies and PAs. Pauline Mercier, from Burgundy in France, works on the phenomenally busy desk which recruits housekeepers and ladies’ maids. We asked her for some of the secrets of her success…
What are the main things you do in your working day?
I spend a lot of time meeting candidates and working on the database, which has about 8,000 names on it. We’re processing between 10 and 100 applications every day, depending on where we have posted a job. We invite them in to meet them personally, as it’s the most important thing to do, to meet in person. You find out so much more about their character than from reading a CV.
What’s the significance of the candidate database?
Sometimes we meet candidates who are not right for a job, but you know they might be good for something in the future. Also it can turn out that the candidate is looking for something a bit different – so often they’re happy to wait. The other week I was asked to find a horse groom – and I actually had an ex-jockey on the database who may take that job. Having the database means we always say ‘Yes’ when given a brief to fill a position – and then we work hard to come up with someone! And we’re here to fulfil the needs of candidates as much as those of clients.
How much contact do you have with the clients?
Steven has an excellent book of contacts – many of whom are very well-known people. I gradually meet them, especially if the client is actually the PA or house manager in charge of the recruitment for the family, house or office. It’s good to see the house. For example, I saw one recently which had nine floors, so I knew I had to find someone fit! Also you can then understand the working environment your candidate will be going into, such as whether they will be working on their own or as part of a team of six, or if the client is travelling a lot. If you have gone into the house you can explain the job much better to candidates and also describe the person who will be interviewing them. One house I saw was decorated in Coco Chanel style, so I sent along a French lady. If I hadn’t visited the house I wouldn’t have thought to send a French candidate – she got the job as head housekeeper.
Where do you advertise your vacancies?
We mainly advertise jobs on our own website and there are a few other job portals which are quite effective. We have to advertise more online and direct to our database if a job is further afield, for example in Edinburgh or Switzerland.
Describe your most challenging placement to date?
One of our clients hired a new house manager who wanted to change the whole team. I went to visit the property and meet the client, a very nice ‘self-made’ man from Spain. We had a long chat about what he wanted for the new team. In the space of six weeks we found five ladies who were not only a good fit for the boss in terms of personality, but are also enjoying working together.
How much do you keep in touch after a successful placement?
I email the candidates for the next two to three weeks, and after that I leave them alone – but I try to be in contact once every two months to make sure they are still OK and to be prepared if they’re not. Equally they might be able to put you in touch with more opportunities through their new household. Having a nice relationship with the candidates is important for me – most candidates contact several agencies and we want to be sure we are friendly with the best ones – so yes, we go for drinks and keep in touch. Sometimes candidates end up becoming clients – if they’re made house manager and given the position of recruiting staff themselves.
What do you especially like about working at Randolphs?
They give you an excellent platform to succeed, including a database, good network of contacts and a nice working environment and support. It’s going well – I place on average two permanent housekeepers per week plus temps and holiday cover.
If you’d like to be considered as a candidate for one of our positions, or if you are potentially a client, please do get in touch with Pauline or any of the team at Randolphs, on +44 (0)20 3617 9120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there’s one thing we get really excited about here at Randolphs, it’s discovering a great new talent. On our events side, we are asked to provide anything from a private chef for a month-long family ski trip, to dinner for an intimate party of 12, to a full canapé party for 150 people or more. So imagine how delighted we were to find Georgie, who, with unflappable ease and total competence, can coolly adapt her skills to any of these situations.
Georgie Wadsworth is a young chef who grew up in Kent, trained at the Food of Course Cookery School, near Castle Cary in Somerset, and has already travelled extensively – travels which have greatly influenced her perspective on cooking. Her specialities are ‘non-traditional canapés’ and healthy tasting menus: these are bang on-trend, as we find an increasing number of clients moving away from three-course dinners and towards having a variety of smaller tasting plates – very often sharing rather than sitting down to a plated meal. Georgie brings together all her favourite influences from Asia, India, the Middle East, Peru and Mexico to create these imaginative tasting menus and to give her canapés a very international flavour.
We discovered Georgie through her student brother, who had worked part-time for Randolphs. At the time, she had already moved from restaurants into cooking for private clients, including sit-down dinners for up to 100 people. We soon had her working with our principal chef, Lee, cooking for some of our most sophisticated clients.
We caught up with her just as she was preparing a private dinner for 10 people, organised by a client of ours, and featuring a tasting menu of small platters: corn fritters with tuna tartare, ceviche (codfish cured in lime) with a yuzu and truffle oil dressing, a salsa made with shallots, tomato and avocado, and lamb cutlets with spiced pea purée. “In London there’s been a bit of a swing away from Japanese food towards Peruvian – and also mixing Asian and Peruvian, which is what I love doing.”
Georgie loves eating out, tasting and experimenting with new flavours. Not surprisingly, her favourite London restaurants are those which fuse cultural traditions – Coya, Zuma, Sushisamba and La Bodega Negra – and she delves into the dim sum restaurants in Chinatown, too, finding unexpected genius behind unprepossessing façades.
One day, she hopes to own her own restaurant, deli, wine shop and cook school – and we know she will – but until then we think our clients will love meeting her to plan the menus for their parties. She is also a whiz at concocting food that fits a theme.
Do get in touch with us at Randolphs if you would like to organise a dinner party around one of Georgie’s eclectic tasting menus – she is happy to talk to guests about the food, the inspiration and the flavours and help make the event a truly memorable experience.
Georgie’s Corn Fritters with Yuzu and Truffle Tuna
Serves two as a starter
for the fritters:
2 heads of sweetcorn, kernels removed
2 spring onions, chopped finely
1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely
1 egg white
1tblsp self-raising flour
½ bunch coriander, chopped
for the tuna topping:
200g sushi grade tuna
1tblsp yuzu juice (available in major supermarkets)
1 tblsp truffle oil
salt & pepper
Combine the sweetcorn, chilli, spring onion, coriander, whole egg and flour together in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the egg white until stiff and then fold gently into the sweetcorn mixture. Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry a large tblsp of the sweetcorn mix for each fritter. Chop the tuna into 1cm x 1 cm cubes. Mix the yuzu, truffle oil and salt and pepper together. Mix in the tuna at the last minute and place on top of the sweetcorn fritters. Garnish with coriander.
Georgie’s canapes include the following:
Vietnamese pork ball wrapped in mint with a ponzu dipping sauce
Mini chicken chipotle tacos, guacamole, shredded carrot with nigella seeds
Chilli, lime and coriander prawns served with wasabi mayonnaise
Tomato, feta, tarragon and mint salad croustade
Pan-fried spiced marinated paneer, mint chutney
Panko, coriander and lime crusted cod, coconut and peanut dipping sauce
Chargrilled teriyaki beef skewers
Duck, spring onion, cucumber and pepper rice paper rolls
Seared tuna, miso mayonnaise
Sweet potato falafel, garlic sauce
…and a typical tasting menu looks like this:
A TASTE OF MEXICO
Sea bass and langoustine ceviche
Pan fried scallops, chipotle chutney, avocado ceviche
Spiced potato cakes, sweet potato and beetroot relish, kale chips
Mini tuna tacos, avocado, lime, coriander
Mini chicken fajitas, chipotle butternut squash puree, sour cream, guacamole
Corn and tomato salsa
Passionfruit and lime cheesecake
Randolphs was reviewed in the December issue of online luxury lifestyle magazine Sloan (www.sloanemagazine.com).
Downton Abbey may be a dramatic representation of a bygone era, but for some the lifestyle lives on – albeit without quite such starchy uniforms. Exactly a hundred years ago, the First World War changed the world for ever; yet in 2014 the demand for the traditional butler-and-chef combination is as healthy as ever, and many households are supplementing them with housekeepers, nannies and personal assistants to help organise multiple residences, children, offices and schedules.
Fortunately, traditional butlering is not a dying art. Performing domestic tasks properly, meticulously, immaculately, discreetly, reliably, unquestioningly even, is a skill that has been handed from one generation to the next and, thanks to companies like Randolphs, continues to be uniquely well executed and greatly valued. Whether they’re serving a champagne lunch at the races, afternoon tea at home in Mayfair or canapés on the terrace of your Lake Como villa, no one looks after you quite like a Randolphs butler.
Randolphs’ butlers take their cue from founder Steven Randolph who established the business 15 years ago – and what Steven doesn’t know about top-calibre butlering you could write on the pearl button of a white glove. Having attended international royals, ambassadors, dignitaries and VIPs, in locations all over the world, Steven works at the very top of his profession… not that he would ever name names. Discretion, trust and loyalty are essentials in this business; name-dropping is the quickest way to find yourself out in an alley with only the bins for company.
Randolphs is, in essence, an extension of Steven’s belief in a strong service ethic. The company recruits the full spectrum of service staff, and also runs training days to help sharpen up their skills. They are often called upon to provide a butler-chef-housekeeper team for a globetrotting client’s second or third home, be it a luxury log cabin in Gstaad, a villa in Mustique or a sporting estate in Aberdeenshire. Part-time or full-time posts can be filled. As Steven says, “Nothing is impossible.”
Nor does Randolphs stop at private, domestic service staff. Where there’s a butler there’s often a party, and Steven soon found that he was being approached by some of London’s top catering and events businesses to provide service staff for dinners and dances, both private and corporate. Lady Elizabeth Anson, founder of the world-renowned Party Planners, has said that, quite simply, there is no one she trusts more. After Royal Ascot, she paid tribute to the Randolphs staff who manned The Queen’s official guest tent, describing the service as “impeccable; friendly, willing and agile.”
From time to time, clients for whom Randolphs have sourced first class domestic staff come back to Steven to organise their parties too. A no-expense-spared theme party in a country mansion is Randolphs’ idea of a dream come true, because of the creative element involved in addition to the catering and service. “We can really go to town with some fun ideas,” says marketing director Kelly Groucott, “and clients are really happy for us to suggest some crazy stuff because they know that they can trust us on the day. In a world where technology, electronics and problem-solving play such a big part in our everyday lives, it’s nice for hosts to be able to entertain face to face, relax in the company of other people and know that we’ve taken care of absolutely everything.”
Randolphs can be contacted on tel: +44 (0) 20 3617 9120 or email email@example.com.
Although it seems far too early to be decking the halls, we are already inking in Christmas and New Year events of all shapes and sizes, and also working on some of our clients’ domestic staffing requirements, which tend to increase around holiday time.
It’s worth remembering that we can organise short-term teams of butlers, chefs and housekeepers for your ski chalet, beach villa or country retreat. On the party front, we offer anything from a single butler to a full team of waiting and bar staff for a large dinner dance – whether your event is a private party or an office do. And, here’s an ingenious idea for a Christmas present for the person who has everything: a pop-up butler for a day, or even just the afternoon, to serve the perfect traditional afternoon tea.