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.
How to hold your silverware
The main thing to remember with silverware is to start from the outside and work your way in, on both sides. Eating styles in terms of how to hold your cutlery tend to vary between Europe and the US. In Europe it is traditional to keep the fork in your left hand and the knife in your right at all times. In the US, it has become more common to set the knife down after cutting, switching the fork to your right hand to eat.
How to eat soup
When eating soup, you should use a soup spoon and scoop the soup away from you. When tilting the bowl for the last few mouthfuls, again angle the bowl away from you.
How to cut meat
Place your index finger roughly an inch down the knife and press firmly. Hold the fork in your left hand to keep the meat in place and cut each mouthful at a time.
How to propose a toast
Clinking glasses is not necessarily proper etiquette, but was done traditionally to drive away evil spirits. Be careful not to spill anything if you do go for the clink. Simply raising your glass in the direction of the person being toasted is often enough.
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