So, you have a hot date at a fancy restaurant or a formal dinner with some high level people and you don’t know how to dress eat… 🙁
I could never let you turn down an opportunity for fine dining because according to Leroy Neiman, “eating is one of the great beauties in life”…and according to me, eating out more so…!
So here are a few tips, not in any particular order…
– Set your phone to vibrate mode and ignore it…return all missed calls when you’re done (you’ll be surprised there will only be a few, if any, because phones do that…they don’t ring when you really think they will).
– Unfold your napkin and place it on your laps.
– Start to use your cutlery from the outside set, working your way in as each course is served. Your fork should be in your left hand and your knife in your right. Hold your knife with the handle in your palm and your fork in the other hand with the prongs facing downwards.
– Elbows off the table!
– Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth. Believe me when I say your date would rather not hear you through mashed lettuce or rice or carrots or meat or bread (you get the point, yes?).
– Drinks should be to the right of your plate with your bread roll to the left. It is unacceptable to use your fingers to eat or to push food onto your fork. When eating bread rolls however, you’re allowed to use your fingers, tear the bread apart and use the knife only for buttering.
– Just in case it’s a group date and there are more than you and your date at the table, if you need something that is not within your direct reach, don’t stretch over another person’s food to get it, ask politely for it to be passed to you.
– If you’re going to be having some soup, what you want to do is hold your spoon in your right hand and tip the bowl away from you and scoop the soup in movements away from yourself.
– Don’t drop used pieces of cutlery back on to the table. Plates are usually cleared (from the right) as soon as each course is over.
– When you’re finished with your food, place your knife and fork together at 4 o’clock (imagine the face of a clock but leave out the “12”), with your fork on the left (tines facing up) and knife on the right with knife blade facing inwards. Also, don’t scrunch up your napkin, fold it neatly and leave it to the left of your plate.
– Pray that nothing gets stuck between your teeth, because this is tricky. If your teeth are like mine and have the naughty behavior of trapping food , something will get stuck. To avoid any embarrassing situations, like you opening your mouth too wide for too long and saliva dripping from your mouth while trying to get to a hard-to-reach area, or the food between your teeth flying out as you pick it. You can do one of two things – wait till you leave the table and then use a toothpick/floss or if it’s a piece of food that is really bothering and making you uncomfortable, excuse yourself and go to the restroom to deal with it. (remember to wash your hands afterwards).
– If you have to leave the table during the meal, ask for permission before you stand. And, so you don’t wonder where your food went while you were gone, leave your napkin on your seat till you return and also place your fork at 8 o’clock and your knife at 4 o’clock to show that you haven’t finished with the meal.
Here’s to a lovely meal *wine glasses clinking*