One of the most popular training sessions that I offer is Corporate Dining Etiquette. It’s great fun, fabulously entertaining and incredibly important information to anyone interested in excelling in the business world. As adults we tend to think that what we learned as children still applies. In some instances it does, but not always. As we grow in our profession so must our skills. I routinely hear after each training “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know, I didn’t know!”
You can tell a great deal about a person by the way they conduct themselves at the dining table.
Last night I had the pleasure of presenting our 8th Annual Dining Etiquette session at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Incredibly bright students with equally talented staff attend this function each year. It occurred to me that a quick primer in American vs. European (Continental) styles of dining would be beneficial for today’s blog. Following is a quick overview of how you signal to a server that you are either resting or finished with your meal. These simple tips will set you apart in a positive way and allow you to feel more self-confident during your next business or social meal.
How to Signal You Have Finished Your Meal vs Resting
American Style vs. European Style of Dining
In the American Style of dining, the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right when cutting food. To cut food, make a gliding motion with the knife positioned behind the fork. Change the fork from your left hand to your right to bring the food to your mouth, fork prongs facing upwards. Between bites, follow the diagram below for “Resting” and “Finished” positions.
In the European Style of dining, the fork is held in the left hand and the knife is held in the right hand when cutting food. As with American, cut the food using a gliding motion. Bring the food to your mouth with your left hand, keeping your left elbow close to your side, while bringing your wrist and hand toward your mouth. Keep the prongs of the fork down as you move the fork and food toward and into your mouth. The knife continues to be held in the right hand, with the wrist resting against the edge of the table. Between bites, follow the diagram below for “Resting” and “Finished” positions.