Whether it’s a hot date, a corporate dinner or your wedding anniversary, you might find yourself seated at the table of a fine dining restaurant, contemplating one of life’s most perplexing questions, “Why is there so much cutlery around my plate?”
Don’t let the fear of not knowing the answer to that question keep you from missing the meal of a lifetime.
Armed with a few simple silverware etiquette rules, you’ll never have to allow your knife and fork to confuse you again.
Here’s a guide to understanding cutlery etiquette and silverware etiquette by Sleek Gossip:
The table should be set as follows: dinner plates in the center of the table setting. To the left of this, are the forks, with perhaps the exception of the fish fork, which may be placed to the right. To the right of the plate are the knives, followed by the spoons. Just above the dinner plate will be the coffee spoon (sometimes only brought at the same time as the coffee), bowl facing left, the dessert fork, tines facing right and the dessert spoon, bowl facing left. To the upper left of the dinner plate is the bread plate and to the upper right are your wine and water glasses. The bread plate and glasses should be returned to their original locations after each use. A good way to remember where to return your glasses or butter knife is to remember this mantra, “liquids to the right and solids to the left.”
Try not to be overwhelmed by the vast amount of utensils placed in front of you. There are two simple ways to navigate the silverware. The first is to start on the outside and work your way in. The dining implements are conveniently set up in accordance with each course. The second is to discreetly observe how others around you are dining.
The first utensil you’ll be utilizing will most likely be your soup spoon, the first spoon on the far right. That’s because soup is generally the first course. Make sure not to leave your spoon in the empty soup bowl when you’re finished. Instead, place it on the small plate under the bowl.
There are two acceptable methods for eating one’s food. The North American method, which requires you to hold your fork in the right hand, switching to the left when cutting meat so you are holding your knife in the right hand. (Unless you’re left handed, in which case this is reversed.) After cutting a morsel or two of food, the fork is returned to the right hand for eating, while the knife is returned to your plate. There’s also the Continental or European method, which requires you to hold your fork in your left hand at all times, while holding your knife in the right. For this method you don’t have to put your utensils down while chewing. Either method is perfectly acceptable for fine dining.
The final course is the dessert. The dessert fork and spoon are located directly above the dinner plate. If they are absent, your Server will bring the utensils when serving dessert.
One should never put dirty utensils on the tablecloth. Once used, the utensils should remain on the plate. If finished with your meal, lay your utensils neatly on your plate in a way that they won’t fall off when taken away by the bus staff, preferably, placed diagonally across the center of the dish.
Remember, fine dining does not have to be intimidating. For detailed rules of proper silverware etiquette coupled with must-know dining etiquette tips to impress your date, land that business deal or wow your better half get this Executive Dining Etiquette CD today!