Dining the appropriate Way
By Gunner Glam
Before going on a date or business luncheon, Studio Brow is about making people look sharp and feel fresh.
There are tips according to New Mexico State University’s career services which could help make the dining experience for any occasion go smoothly. Studio Brow would like to share them with you.
With a significant other or employer, try to find common grounds of interest for conversation (sports, travel) that are not controversial.
1. Do not neglect anyone sitting near you.
2. As the employer will be paying for the meal, order from the mid-priced offerings on the menu.
3. Eat lightly and avoid messy food. You will be doing more talking than eating and you don’t want to be wearing your lunch.
4. Be cautious about ordering alcohol, as it is important to remain alert during the whole meal. It is recommended that no alcohol be consumed at lunch and no more than one glass of wine in the evening and then only if others are drinking. It is always acceptable to substitute mineral water for wine.
5. Always pass the salt and pepper together, even if only one is asked for. In general, if items are not being passed to a specific person, pass food from left to right.
6. Don’t talk when you have food in your mouth, and don’t wave or point with a utensil.
7. Understand the table setting. Your bread plate is to the left of your dinner plate and your water glass to the right. Use your utensils from the outside in.
8. Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down. If you leave for a few moments during the meal, place your napkin on your chair. When you leave at the end of the meal, leave your napkin to the left of your dinner plate.
9. Never butter a whole piece of bread. Take some butter and place it on your plate. Use the butter knife if one is available. Break a bite-sized piece off of your bread and hold it on the corner of the bread plate while you butter.
10. Eat soup taking the spoon away from you, then toward you and sip from the side. When you have finished soup, always place the spoon in the saucer under the soup bowl.
11. Cutting: fork in left hand, knife in right hand, cut one piece at a time, lay knife across top of plate with blade toward you and move fork to right hand. When you have completed a meal, place your knife and fork across the plate in a 9 to 3 o’clock fashion.
The dinner or luncheon will usually take place in a fairly nice restaurant that offers a quiet atmosphere. Plan to arrive twenty minutes early to allow a “freshening-up” visit to the restroom. A crooked tie, a belt that is not centered, mussed hair, or an open fly is disastrous.
Don’t be surprised to find conversation oriented toward politics, movies or other general issues unrelated to the job. The person is interested in knowing about you as a human being.
It may be tempting to get overly familiar after you share a few laughs and start hitting it off. Don’t let your guard down.
Order a light entrée that is easy to eat. You should be the center of attention, not the plateful of steamed Maryland crabs. Never order alcoholic beverages. Forget the glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail at the bar. Order a glass of Perrier water, soft drink, soda with at twist of lemon, iced tea or coffee.
Use excellent manners. Candidates who do not dine often in fine restaurants should review a basic etiquette book. Tucking a dinner napkin down one’s pants is just not acceptable.
Even if you are invited to smoke – don’t! Do not smoke under any circumstances. Maintain a professional image. If you are a non-smoker, don’t make a fuss if the other person lights up. Accommodate his or her habit.
Your social graces and general demeanor at the table can tell as much about you as your answer to a question.
For instance, over-ordering food or drink can signal poor self-discipline. At the very least, it will call into question your judgement and maturity.
Alcohol: Soon after being seated, you will be offered a drink – if not by your host, then by the waiter. The most important reason is that alcohol fuzzes your mind, and research proves that stress increases the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
If you order something to drink, try to stick with something nonalcoholic, such as club soda or simply a glass of water. If pressed, order a white-wine spritzer, a sherry, or a light beer – it depends on the environment and what your host is drinking.
If you do drink, never have more than one. If there is a bottle of wine on the table, and the waiter offers you another glass, simply place a hand over the top of your glass. It is a polite way of signifying no.
You may be offered alcohol at the end of the meal. The rule still holds true – turn it down.
Other helpful hints:
– Never speak with food in your mouth.
– To be on the safe side, eat the same thing, (or close to it,) as the other person. Of course, while this rule makes sense in theory, the fact is that you probably will be asked to order first, so ordering the same thing can be problematic.
– Solve the problem before you order by complimenting the restaurant during your small talk and then, when the menus arrive, asking, “What do you think you will have today?” or “Have you eaten here before?” If so, “What would you recommend?”
– Do not change your order once it is made and never send the food back.
– Be polite to your waiters, even when they spill soup in your lap.
– Do not order expensive food. Naturally, in our heart of hearts, we all like to eat well, especially on someone else’s tab. But don’t be tempted. When you come right down to it, you are there to talk and be seen at your best, not to eat.
– Eat what you know. Stay away from awkward, mess or exotic foods. Ignore finger foods, such as lobster or spare ribs.
In fact, you should avoid eating with your fingers altogether, unless you are in a sandwich shop, in which case you should make a point of avoiding the leaky, over-stuffed menu items.
Checks and Goodbyes
Never pick up the check, however long it is left by your plate. When ready, your host will pick it up, because that is the simple protocol of the occasion.
By the same token, you should never offer to share payment or leave the tip.
When parting company, always thank the host for his or her hospitality and the wonderful meal.
Handling those awkward moments…
You bite into an olive and discover a pit. Your last bite of fish had a bone in it. You didn’t realize just how fatty the meat was.
Now, you’re not sure you can swallow what’s in your mouth.
No noise and no faces allowed – but you don’t have to swallow the inedible.
If you need to remove something from your mouth, shift into reverse. Carefully, and with your hand close to your mouth, drop the olive pit into the palm of your hand and put the pit on your plate.
Remove the fish bone using two fingers like a pair of tweezers. Set the bone on the edge of your plate.
If you think the sight of your chewed meat is going to make your fellow diners gag, bring your napkin to your lips and remove the meat.
Fingers , spoon or fork?
What is the right way to eat French fries or Pizza? Here is a primer on when to use fingers, spoons and forks:
- Berries, if served with the stem
- Caviar on toast
- Cheese on crackers
- Corn on the cob
- Crisp bacon
- French fries (informal situations only)
- Hors d’oeuvres
- Hot dogs
- Onion rings
- Pizza Tacos
- Berries with sauces
- Ice cream
- Berries without stems
- French fries (formal situations)
- Ice cream served on cake or pie
- Large chicken pieces
-Hope everyone enjoyed Valentine’s Day!-
-Check back for more coming soon from Studio Brow-