Just what is that strange little knife on the end for? Why do I need two spoons? Fine dining etiquette is easy, when you have the know how, but being faced with a formally set fine dining table for the first time can be a little daunting.
That’s why this guide posted by The Huffington Post is so useful, it lays out a simple table setting with tips on how to make sure you sit down armed with the perfect fine dining etiquette. Here are the main takeaways:
The guiding rule here is that you always use silverware from the outside inward as the different courses are brought out. Generally the soup and salad utensils are outermost, with the silverware for the heavier courses (fish, poultry, and/or meat) on the inside and the dessert fork and spoon placed above the place setting. The position of your silverware can tell your server whether you are resting or finished with your meal: a crossed fork and knife means you are taking a break, while a fork and knife at the eleven o’clock position signify a completed meal.
Stemware refers to the different glasses you have on your table. This could include a water glass, red wine glass, white wine glass or champagne flute, all of which have differing shapes. If you feel inclined to raise your glass in a toast, be sure to do so with care if the glasses are crystal to keep from breaking them.
Aside from their hygienic function, napkins play a subtle role in social communication. Guests follow the host’s lead in picking up their napkin at the start of the meal and placing it in their laps. They also place the napkin to the left of their place setting when finished with the meal, again taking their cues from the host.
The graphic also holds etiquette tips on how to eat soup, how to hold the utensils correctly and how to propose a toast at the dining table correctly. Delve into the graphic for more specifics on how to avoid faux pas in fine dining settings. And to up your etiquette even more, watch this simple video guide on how to eat soup.