Formal Dining Etiquette

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Table manners are important both in professional and social situations. The entire point of Dining Etiquette rules is to make a favourable impression. They are visible signals of our manners, as it signifies that you respect the other person’s company and don’t want to offend them by eating like a slob.

Dining Etiquette rules are to prevent you from making a faux-pas. In fact, when you know the rules of dining there is no awkwardness nor questions about how things should be done. Of course you’re dressed well but here are a few pointers to get your table act just as ready.

Remember the golden rule — ‘eat to your left, drink to your right’. Any food dish to the left is yours, and any glass to the right is yours. Secondly, to determine which utensil to use first simply follow the ‘outside in’  rule — basically, use the utensils on the outside first and work your way inward.

  1. Napkin: Goes on your lap and stays there. When leaving the table temporarily, leave your napkin, loosly folded, on your seat. At the end of your meal, gather the napkin loosly, place it to the left side of your plate or on the table.
  2. Salad Fork: Placed outermost in the arrangement of forks, directly to the left of the service plate.
  3. Fish Fork: Placed left of the service plate between the salad fork (left) and dinner fork (left).
  4. Dinner Fork: Placed to the immediate left of the service plate.
  5. Service Plate: Approximately 14” inches across, food is never served or eaten straight from the service plate since it serves as the base plate for soup, salad, and appetizers. For a casual meal, replace this with a dinner plate.
  6. Soup Bowl: Slightly tip the bowl away from you and spoon in the way that works best.
  7. Salad Plate: Larger than the bread plate, the salad plate is used for serving an individual portion of salad.
  8. Dinner/Meat Knife: Placed to the immediate right of the service plate. This is placed directly to the right side of the plate.

     9. Fish Knife: Placed to the right of the service plate between the meat knife (left) and soup spoon (right).

  1. Soup Spoon: Placed left of the service plate between the fish knife and salad knife. Sip from the side of a soup spoon and do not slurp.
  2. Salad Knife: Placed outermost in the arrangement of knives, directly to the right of the service plate.
  3. Tea Spoon: Placed behind the cup handle in a four o’ clock position, ready for use.
  4. Coffee Cup: The cup size depends on what time of the day the drink is taken, along with the strength of the brew.
  5. Bread Plate: Placed above the forks and left of the service plate.
  6. Butter Knife: Placed diagonally on the butter plate with the handle towards the guest.
  7. Dessert Fork: Placed horizontally above the service and/or dinner plate. Sometimes it is given along with the dessert and not placed in advanced.
  8. Dessert Spoon: Placed horizontally above the service and/or dinner plate. Sometimes it is given along with the dessert and not placed in advanced.
  9. Dessert Knife: Placed on the table above the service and/or dinner plate in a horizontal position, handle to the right.
  10. Champagne Flute: Placed right above the dinner knife and followed by all the other glasses on the table.
  11. Water Glass: Placed above the soup spoon between the champagne glass (left) and red wine glass (right).
  12. Red Wine Glass: Red wine glasses have a rounder, wider bowl which increases the rate of oxidation. Placed between the water glass (left) and sherry glass (right).
  13. White Wine Glass: The one with a long stem and cylindrical globe is a white wine glass. It should be held only by the stem. Placed next to the red wine glass.
  14. Sherry Glass: Used to serve aromatic, sweet alcoholic beverages
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