Think you know all there is to know about fine dining? You might be surprised.
Sure, you can keep your elbows off the table and fold your napkin in your lap, but there’s much more to fine dining than simply maintaining Table Manners 101.
Whether you’re having a romantic date or an important business dinner, your etiquette sets the tone and, at times, is closely observed.
Here are eleven tips to make sure you’re dining the right way.
1) Remember the Fundamentals
In martial arts, you can’t learn the intricate techniques of a neck choke without first mastering a basic punch. In guitar playing, you can’t play a solo riff before correctly strumming a simple C-chord.
Similarly, you can’t exude that je ne sais quoi without first knowing the etiquette of normal, casual dining.
Before you can properly savor all the flavors of your exquisite meal, whether you’re at a Michelin-starred restaurant or at a business meeting with a catering service like Gathar, make sure that you’ve taken care of the essentials.
Do you chew with your mouth closed? Are you using the right utensil for each dish? Are your elbows off the table?
Brush up on those table manners before looking into impressing others with slightly more obscure mannerisms. That way, you’ll be sure to cover your initial bases without having to worry about making any embarrassing gaffes.
2) Silence Your Phone
No one likes to hear a jarring ringtone in the middle of a meal. If you’re heading out for a formal dinner, be sure to silence your phones before sitting down at the table.
And if you’re expecting an important call, it’s best to let your dining companions know in advance. That way, they won’t be offended if you need to step away from the table for a moment.
3) Don’t Announce Your Bathroom Break
When you got to go, you got to go. But that doesn’t mean you need to make an announcement before excusing yourself from the table.
If you’re in the middle of a meal and you feel the need to use the restroom, simply excuse yourself quietly and politely. No need to go into too much detail about what you’re about to do.
4) Pace Yourself
When indulging in a multi-course meal, it’s important to pace yourself. Not only will this prevent you from overeating, but it will also allow you to enjoy each dish to the fullest.
You’re not in a speed-eating contest, so take your time and savor every bite.
5) Don’t “Clink” Wine Glasses
When toasting with wine glasses, avoid clinking the rims together. According to old Naval folklore, the sound is said to bring bad luck. But besides that, the sound of glass-on-glass may be quite obnoxious to your fellow diners.
So, next time you’re toasting with a friend or business associate, make sure to avoid that clinking noise. A simple raising of the glasses or a friendly phrase like “cheers” should suffice.
6) Slice The Complimentary Bread
Chances are, you’re going to be given a basket of bread or rolls before your meal. It’s considered more polite and refined to slice your bread instead of biting it straight off the basket.
7) Wait For The Host To Eat
If you’re the guest of the occasion, it’s good etiquette to wait for the host or hostess to start eating before digging in yourself. The reason for this is that they may have some pre-meal announcements to make, or a prayer to say.
So, instead of chowing down while they’re speaking, try your best to control yourself and wait for them to start eating before you begin.
8) Don’t Wave Your Hands to The Waitstaff
If you need to get the waiter’s attention, avoid frantically waving your arms around. Instead, calmly raise your hand and make eye contact.
Once you have their attention, politely ask them for what you need.
9) Avoid Double Dipping
When eating nachos or foods with a variety of sauces, it’s considered bad manners to double-dip in the communal bowl.
It’s unsanitary since you’re essentially transferring saliva from one person to another. If you’re obsessed over a certain sauce, take a new chip or finger food instead of dipping the old one back in.
10) Join Your Cutlery
When you’re finished with your meal, it’s considered proper etiquette to join your knife and fork together on your plate, preferably vertically. This signals to the waiter that you’re finished and they can clear your dish.
This applies to all meals in the multi-course meal, from the appetizer and main course to the dessert. So, if you’re still working on a dish, make sure your cutlery is not joined together to not give any false signals.
11) Respect Begets Respect
Last but not the least, remember to show respect to everyone in the restaurant. This includes not just your fellow diners but also the waitstaff.
Doing this not only makes for a more pleasant dining experience, but it also shows that you’re truly an individual who’s worth your salt!