Manners such as no speaking with food in the mouth, or placing the napkin on your lap are things that most people are aware of. But being confused with the multiple forks, spoons and knives set on your table is a common dilemma. So, do you end up toying with food and waiting for your co-diners to start eating to save yourself the embarrassment at a fine dining event? Table manners and dinning etiquettes are important at fine dining events. But learning them may take some time and experience. Here’s a crash course to avoid feeling out of place at a formal dinner.
Cutlery on Your Table
The dinner plate is the largest one on the table, followed by a medium-sized salad plate and a small bread plate. The wine glass will be placed on the right side above the dinner plate.
The left side will typically have an alternative starter fork (salad fork, for example), fish fork, meat or entrée fork and a dessert fork (might also be above the setting).
Whereas the right side of the table will have a round soup spoon, bread knife, fish knife, Meat or entrée knife and a dessert spoon.
The dinner knife is the largest knife and is kept on the right side closest to the plate. The bread Knife is the small knife, which is kept across bread plate.
The dinner fork is typically the largest fork kept to the left side closest to the plate, whereas the salad fork is the small fork which is kept on the outer left side.
Eat to your left, drink to your right
Sheena Agarwaal, Principal Consultant, Urbanista Image Consulting LLP says, "Food is served on the left, except for beverages, and empty plates are removed from the right. Dry foods, not served with a serving piece are finger foods (such as celery, carrot sticks, olives, crackers and most hors d'oeuvres)"
Work your way in starting from the farthest
"The silverware to be used first will be placed on the outside," says Sheena Agarwaal
Vinita Alvares Fernandes, etiquette and speech consultant adds, "No matter how many forks, spoons and knives, the basic rule of thumb is to work your way 'out to in'."
Understand the table setting
Your bread plate is to the left of your dinner plate and your water glass to the right. Use your utensils from the outside in. Forks are kept on the left and knife and spoons on the right.
"The very first thing you should do is, unfold the dinner napkin in half and place it across your lap," says Vinita AF.
"If you leave for a few moments during the meal, place your napkin on your chair. When you leave at the end of the meal, leave your napkin to the left of your dinner plate," adds Agarwaal.
Service is always over your left shoulder and pick up over the right. "To indicate you are finished, your cutlery should be placed together on your plate, either in the north south direction or diagonally," concludes Vinita.
"Soup is taken with the soup spoon and crackers are eaten with your fingers. Eat soup taking the spoon away from you, then towards you and sip from the side. When you have finished the soup, always place the spoon in the saucer under the soup bowl," says Agarwaal.
Use a bowl-shaped or oval spoon. Do not lift the bowl from the table and never make the slurping noise. Get your soup filled spoon to your mouth and sip from it through the edges.
"Soup is always eaten, tilt the plate away from oneself, to catch the last few bites, without the need to scrape the bottom," adds Vinita.
Fork in left hand, knife in right hand, cut one piece at a time, lay the knife across the top of the plate with the blade towards you and move the fork to the right hand. When you have completed a meal, place your knife and fork across the plate in the 5:20 pm position.
Before picking up the glass to drink anything always put down all other cutlery in hand. "Large-stemmed glasses are held with the thumb and the first two fingers at the base of the bowl. Small stemmed glasses are held by the stems," says Agarwaal.
Rest the cutlery on the edge of your plate and not back in the lineup as before. When finished eating, lay the knife and fork close together with the fork on the left, tines up, knife on the right with cutting edge facing the fork.