This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
There is no school wherein a young man can learn thoroughly the masterful duties of the hotel steward but the live hotel itself. There are three departments in which the business may be learned. From waiter to headwaiter and then steward may do very well. From storekeeper to steward is better. From head cook to steward is best, and is in the natural course of promotion.
A superior class of young men have come into the hotel cooks' ranks of late years. They are no longer the corner loafers and drunken castaways, the ignorant, profane and obscene outcasts, who secure the good places in the hotels. Many of the cooks, who write to hotel papers, now write good business hands and can indite a good letter, they give evidence of having received a good common school education in most cases, in some instances they exhibit much more than that. These are adapted to become stewards. They have been attracted to the hotel cook's occupation by the liberal scale of wages offered for efficient men in that line, and they find, on trial, that the hotel cook is not a servant, but a master mechanic who has a chance of next becoming a superintendent or steward. Some among these are total abstainers from strong drink, or else have control over themselves to resist excess. They are readers, and quick to detect ridiculous blunders in a bill of fare. Some of them cherish that principle of free citizenship which makes them scorn to sell their vote for a bribe, and the same principle will prevent their selling their independence to any trader for a bribe.
They know the best article in market when they see it, and they want it wherever it can be found, and they wear nobody's collar and buy nobody's stale merchandise. These are the coming stewards. There is no other training so good to make stewards as the cook's training. A man who can govern the kitchen can govern all the rest of the interior, and the man who as head cook has had experience of all kinds of provisions and has practiced writing the bill of fare, is a steward almost already. Such men should be promoted to the position of the sort of steward that has been described in the foregoing pages; not promoted to the lower rate of compensation which stewards now generally are receiving, but promoted to still higher salaries than the chefs are getting, with all the honor, authority and responsibility of stewardship superadded.