Fine dining etiquette
Fine dining etiquette or more simply known as table manners is a set of unwritten rules which may vary from culture to culture, region to region, and/or family to family, generally these rules may not be very strict. Apart from some exceptions, these rules include the etiquette of eating, and the proper use of eating utensils. Fine dining etiquette also teaches a person how to behave and interact with the guests. It is common in some places for the host to be the first person who begins with eating the food, after which the guests follow. Or the meal is to begin with however the host instructs it to.
Typically, if a person applies seasoning or some other modifier to his or her food before tasting, it is considered to be disrespectful towards the cook, it signifies that the person does not trust the ability of a cook to prepare a meal. Many religious families commence their meals by saying a prayer or by saying grace. Sometimes before starting a meal, the guests may compliment the food on the table, which is directed towards the host, this is considered good dining etiquette. If a person starts his or her meal before the rest of the guests it is considered very impolite on his behalf, and is regarded as bad dining etiquette. Licking fingers and chewing rather slowly, is also regarded as bad dining etiquette. It is very important to chew the food with one’s mouth closed and not to talk when there’s food in a person’s mouth.
The fine dining etiquette spans over a lot of rules. Also, if a person eats while making a lot of noise and/or makes noise while handling the utensils or dishes, that is also regarded as poor table manners. A mobile phone ring shouldn’t be entertained, unless very urgent. In that case the guest is required to ask for the host’s permission to be excused and then he or she should go about taking the call. Placing your wallet or keys on the table on a fine dining occasion is also considered a bad practice. Table manners widely differ from location to location, and the culture of a region also has a significant effect on the fine dining etiquette of an area.
Sometimes a thing which is considered normal in one place may be considered taboo in the other, for example using chopsticks to eat a meal in China is normal and somewhat mandatory, however if a person uses a set of chopsticks to eat a meal in North America, he or she may be regarded as foolish.
Fine dining restaurants
There are various types of dining places, these classifications are made keeping in mind the factors of pricing, menu, cuisine, and preparation methods. Some places might only cater to specialty items such as Mexican cuisine, Chinese cuisine, and Continental cuisine, etc. Basically, a restaurant refers to a place where people come, sit down and eat their meals are usually served by waiters. But along the course of time restaurants have transformed into what they are now. Types of restaurants range from more formal family style restaurants to fast food joints, to a family diner. Fast food or take away restaurants can also be referred to as a subtype of restaurants now cater to different types of people. There are more fancy places for the richer people, and some economical places as well for the not so rich. But, one thing is for certain that there are a variety of restaurants that cater to every standard of people from upper to lower and middle, there is an option for every type of people.
Fine dining restaurants, however –cater to a higher level crowd as compared to its counter parts. Fine dining restaurants follow a certain decorum which cannot be found elsewhere. These restaurants offer proper meal courses, which feature appetizers, a main course, and a dessert. Sometimes even some extra courses depending on the occasion. The staff of fine dining restaurants are usually more highly trained and better dressed in formal clothing. The food served in these restaurants is very appealing, pleasures both the taste buds and the eyes. Food is made with high quality ingredients and materials.
Typically, fine dining restaurants don’t have many branches or locations, like fast food chains. These types of restaurants maintain high quality and provide the customers with a great dining experience. The restaurants require their customers and guests to follow a certain set of rules, which feature exhibiting proper table manners, or proper dining etiquette, and a dress code –which is often times formal attire. Fine dining restaurants usually serve high profile and well-mannered crowd. The menus offered in fine dining locations differ greatly from one place to another.
Rules for fine dining
Fine dining etiquette is key for anybody who’s going to be dining at a fine dining restaurant. It goes without saying that the guests and the host, both are intended to follow a certain set of rules, decorum of dining at a high end place. The decorum consists of some very basic rules such as following a particular dress code, proper use of utensils, good behavior and exhibiting good manners. Some other similar rules for fine dining are listed below
Wait for the waiter
It is rather commonplace to see people yelling or waving at the waiter to get his attention –however this is considered very inappropriate if done when fine dining. Making eye contact with the waiter and raising your hand will be sufficient enough for him to come over and entertain your needs. Also one word replies and speaking while looking at the menu or completely ignoring the waiter is deemed to be extremely ill-mannered.
It’s morally correct to be on time, given that on most occasions, if a person has been invited to a fine dining restaurant –chances are that reservations have been made beforehand. Every person should value time regardless of any situation. Being punctual reflects good manners on the person’s behalf. The host and the guests should reach at the same time or with short delays after each other.
Generally, it is the host who takes the seat first –followed by the other guests. Seating arrangements are usually predefined by the help of name cards. But, if the arrangement isn’t mentioned a person should usually wait for the host, to advise him or her where to be seated. The seating arrangements are usually gender based, and guests are seated by the level of their importance. Men and women commonly sit in front of each other.
Dress codes are preset most times, different restaurants follow different dress codes. It is considered very important to dress accordingly to the occasion. The dress code for fine dining is mostly formal. But, there are some exceptions for special occasions. If a person isn’t sure about what the dress code is, it is best to go with formal attire.
A fine dining occasion shouldn’t be awkward so rather than sitting in silence, it is advised to talk on mild and light topics as conversation helps lighten up the atmosphere. It is best to avoid sensitive topics like politics, religion, and, personal lives of people. There shouldn’t be any arguments between the guests, the dinner should be enjoyed. Even if a person is around strangers, engaging in conversation helps eliminate tension. And if a person isn’t good at maintaining conversations, it is best to be a good listener in that case.
Basic dining etiquette
Exhibiting good manners is very essential in a fine dining occasion, following basic table manners such as keeping elbows of the table, keeping eye contact when saying cheers, keeping a person’s belongings of the table, not to blow on the food if it’s hot, using eating utensils properly, and basic good behavior is of utmost importance. Also, the servers should be talked to politely and never mistreated.
Napkins should be used how they’re intended to be used. Once seated a person should unfold a napkin and place it on his laps, the napkin should only be used to dab the mouth –never to wipe it. When excusing himself from the table a person is to put the napkin right beside his plate, not on the seat. And when a person is done with eating the napkin should be tidily placed as it is on the left side of the plate.
Knifes & forks
Cutlery is by far the most important part of a meal and should be treated as such. Generally the forks are placed on the left, whereas the knives are placed on the right side of the plate. If a person isn’t done eating and has to leave the table for whatever reason, it is advised to place the knife and fork crossed upon each other. And if a person is done eating he should place the knife and fork vertically or horizontally inside the plate, with the blade of the knife pointing inward.