Vincy Workplace
June 4, 2004

The Formal Dinner

Dining Etiquette Part 2

To be a savvy, polished, business professional you must know how to appear comfortable in any given situation and that includes a formal dinner.
With fast food establishments becoming popular, young professionals hardly have the opportunity to practise this necessary skill that can hinder or help their careers. The rules and implements used in formal dining settings can be intimidating to the most confident business person. {{more}}To alleviate such discomfort, a little practice and familiarity with formal dining rules will put you on the right path.


Sit and place your napkin in your lap with the fold facing towards you. Your napkin is not a mop to clean sweat from your brow, clean your eyes or nose. Your napkin should be used to gently dab your mouth. Place your napkin on your chair if you leave the table at anytime during the meal. At the end of the meal place your napkin to the left of your setting, do
not refold it.


Use your soup spoon for soups, it is larger, rounder and deeper than the
other spoons. Never put the entire spoon in your mouth, sip from the side, do not slurp. To reduce spillage, spoon the soup away from you, then lift and consume

Time to eat

Do not begin eating until your host has indicated to do so. Always work from the outside in. The utensils on the outside will be the ones you use first. Forks on your left, knives on the right. If there is a small fork on your right next to the knives that is your fish fork. Dessert and tea/coffee settings are at the top of your dinner plate. There will probably be a few glasses. Your glasses will be in the upper right hand corner of your setting. Pay attention and avoid the embarrassing mistake of using your neighbour’s utensils.
Fresh baked bread is always delicious but it can be tricky to eat. Your bread plate is always to the left of your dinner plate. Use the communal butter knife and scoop enough butter for your entire roll onto your bread plate. Break off one bite size piece of bread at a time with your hand (do not cut with a knife) and butter only that piece with your knife and eat.
Never put the entire roll in your mouth and never butter multiple pieces of bread.

Part 3 coming next week