More than one fork? What will I do?
The rule is to start from the outside and work
your way in. It is actually quite nice to have a clean fork which
each new plate of food. The number of utensils indicates how many
courses are planned. You would only put out what was needed if you
were setting this up at home.
Once silverware is picked up from
the table it never is put back on the tablecloth. Leave it on your
plate. We donít put dirty utensils on the table cloth.
If you use the wrong fork.
Donít worry. Ask your waiter to bring you another. If you drop a
utensil just leave it.
There is a rule for placing your
silverware on the plate. The inverted V position of the silverware
means that I am just resting and am not finished. Placing the
utensils on the right side of the plate signals that I am finished.
Your host/waiter will serve you from your left but will remove the
food and dishes from your right. This makes it easy for him to pick
it up using his thumb to secure your silverware. Donít worry,
however, most waiters donít know this rule.
Do not wave you napkin or raise
your hands or whistle to attract the waiters. Wait patiently and use
eye contact to get your waiters attention.
Try to keep pace with your dinner
companions. Donít get too far ahead or behind them as the host
is trying to serve each course at the same time.
Donít pretend to understand a
foreign language menu. Donít pretend to speak Frenchóask
your waiter what a dish is or for his advice as to what he recommends
Try to order the same number of
courses as your dining companions so that everyone at the table has
something to eat at the same time. If you should happen to be the
one, however, without a salad or soup etc. you should urge your
dining partners to go ahead and eat. The idea is to keep pace and
enjoy the meal together. So try not to get too far ahead or behind
them as the host is trying to serve each course at the same time.
You may have a special wine
steward. If several of you are going to have the same kind of
wine you would, of course, order a bottle. Otherwise, order by the
glass. White wine is usually preferred with fish and red wine with
most other meats. White wine and champagne glasses are held from the
stem to keep it cool. Hold a glass of red wine on the glass itself so
that the hand warms up the bouquet of the wine. It is always OK not
to drink alcoholic beveragesó so donít feel pressured to
drink for some social impressive contest.
Your bread plate is on your left.
You may have a little butter knife or spreader. You should break
bread into small pieces with your hands and butter only the portion
you are about to eat. This tradition was to insure that you
didnít butter bread you werenít going to eat.
Place a pat of butter on the side
of the bread plate and use it as needed. If you must try something
from anotherís plate, have them put it on your bread plate. It
is unsanitary and unseemly to eat off of anothers plate.
The little fork above your plate is
for your appetizer. Donít overstuff yourself on this for you
will have a lot more food coming.
Scoop away from you so that drips
will fall into the dish. Be careful here too, no slurping!
The rule for silverware is to start
outside and work your way in. In Europe, salad may not be served
until after the entree.
It is perfectly alright to talk and
enjoy yourself at mealtime, however, donít talk with your mouth
full of food. It is unappetizing to watch someoneís partly eaten
food. Smile, swallow, and then talk.
You should take small bites and
that way, if you eat something you donít like, you donít
have a big piece in your mouth. This is also good idea to make
conversation easier. It is awkward if you just stuffed your mouth
full and have to wait a full minute before you can respond. Digestion
is better if you chew your food anyway. If you cannot swallow a bite
for some reason, use your napkin and be discreet. If you must cough
or sneeze, face away from your company and cover your mouth. If you
need to do something more, excuse yourself and go the restroom.
Always leave your napkin on the seat and push your seat forward. Do
not place your napkin on the table. People donít like to have to
look at your dirty napkin on their table while they are eating.
Most foods will be eaten with a
fork and knifeóeven chicken. Some things such as artichokes are
expected to be eaten with fingers.
Your waiter will bring you a
dessert menu or review all dessert options after he has cleared the
table. You may wish to have coffee or hot herb tea.
Only after all food has been
finished should you bring your napkin up on the table. No need to
re-fold itójust pull it up through your thumb hold and place it
to the left of your plate.
Now, especially since youíve
finished the meal, it is perfectly acceptable to put your elbows on
the table while talking.
Your waiters tip is his primary
income. You should tip 15% of the total before taxes, 20% for
outstanding service is perfectly acceptable. Even if service is less
then perfect, you should still leave at least 10% tip óunless it
was a nightmareóin which case, you should talk with the
management or maÓtre d' .
It is not out of line to send
complements to the chief or to even ask for the chef to come to the
table if possible. Chefs love to be praised for their food, even
though in most big restaurants he or she is a manager and not a cook.
If coats and hats are checks a $1
tip for each is expected.
Valet service should also receive
at least a $1 tip.
If you forget some rule just
remember to be considerate of your tablemates. Kindness toward others
and your own common sense will get you through the meal.