Post Written By: Jana Graber
I recently attended a Christmas dinner party with my mother at the Ritz Carlton. The event was beautiful, the dinner was amazing and the people were friendly. Unfortunately, the high points of the night were not the only things that I noticed while dining with the movers and shakers of our fair city. I also noticed the apparent lack of table manners at the event. No one at the table was trying to be intentionally rude, however, it was surprising to me that no one seemed to know what was and was not appropriate at such an event. If we were dining with the upper echelon of New York City this wouldn’t have been the case.
Don’t get me wrong, when you’re at home or with family anything goes; however, when you’re at a formal dining event you should know the basics of proper etiquette. I was fortunate enough to have taken a dining etiquette class a few years ago, for this purpose.
With the holidays soon approaching, there are a lot of company Christmas parties as well as formal sit down dinners that you may be invited to. I know everyone doesn’t have the time or finances to take a formal lesson on dining etiquette, so I want to share a few tips to get you through a formal dining event without incident.
- Always pass food i.e. bread, to the right.
- You MUST pass salt and pepper together, even if a person asks for one specifically. (pass to the right.)
- Do not share food.
- Taste food before seasoning it, especially in a fine dining establishment. In a fine dining restaurant it is an insult to the chef to ask for condiments.
- Place bread on your personal bread plate before spreading butter or eating.
- Always break bread and then spread butter, never butter a whole roll.
- Do not cut food with your fork, always use your knife, no matter how tender the meat is!
- It is considered rude to blow on your food in a formal dining setting, if your food is too hot to eat, let it cool before eating.
- Do not cut all your meat at one time, cut only one bite at a time.
- After cutting, put knife down then eat. Repeat.
- If and when you need to excuse yourself, place your napkin on the left side of your plate, refold it.
- Raise your hand if you need your server, do not snap, or call the server from across the room.
- Do not slurp soup, move soup spoon away from you when eating.
- Do not combine food items on your plate!
- When dining with several courses you start with the silver on the outside and work your way in, the dessert spoon or fork will always be above your place setting.
I hoped this helps anyone that may be going to a formal dinner setting this season! I always feel like a lady when I’m dining with proper etiquette, you should too.