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Table Etiquette and Cultural Differences

Chef Julie Ruth Cabatuando-Suba

norms required by good breeding, social conventions, or the rules of decorum A system of principles that govern proper behavior Be trained to say Please and Thank You Table etiquette is not for formal dining only or if there are guest at home

Personal Grooming
Dress appropriately from head to toe Smelling fresh with an air of confidence and comfort Do not overdo perfumes BE PUNCTUAL

15 minutes late is ok 15 minutes early is better

Table Manners

Seating Arrangements
The host, receptionist or an usher will lead you to the dining table and seat you If there place cards look for your name Follow the protocol Keep your feet flat on the floor Do not shake your legs or thighs Pick up your nap[kin when the host has started Keep an eye on the host when in doubt what to do

Use of Table Appointments

Use of Napkins :
Napkins made out of cloth or linen Serviette made out of paper

Use the corner of your napkin to wipe your lips (lightly) Unfold the napkin on your lap Ask for another one when it has slipped down on the floor Do not shake it and tuck it to your blouse Avoid using napkins for sneezing, coughing, or wiping perspirations Leave it to the left side of your plate unfolded

Use of Flatware
Use the flatware in their order of placement from the farthest toward the service plate All used flatware should be laid down on a plate Each flatware has specific uses on the table Knife is used for cutting while fork for holding the food in position Spoon the soup on top and away from you sip the soup on the side of the spoon not the tip Hold fork and knife slightly in right angles with the forearm

Use of Glassware and Cups

Three glasses at the right of the plate on top of the knife
Water Goblet : at the tip of the dinner knife Wine glass: next to the goblet

Stemmed glass; use the thumb and the first two fingers and hold it firmly Coffee cups: use the thumb and the first finger of the right hand

When to use fingers and Finger Bowls

For Finger Foods the use of fingers are acceptable For greasy and juicy foods you should use fork Crabs and shrimp may be eaten with the help of the fingers in informal service only Break bread with your fingers for one bite When finger bowl is provided dip your fingertips from one hand at a time and

How to Eat Tricky Foods

Pasta Ribbons ( Spaghetti etc.) use spoon and fork.

Pick the fork with right and spoon with the left hand. Dig a pile of pasta with your fork and roll it on your spoon and twist. Be aware of over twisting to avoid a huge roll of pasta. Then eat

Fish with skin and bones: use fish knife anf fork
Remove the skin take the fork with the help of the knife Leave the skin on the side of the plate Used horizontally, the flat fish knife is great for taking the flesh of the fish off the bones

Hold the shell with your left hand fingers Hold the fork with your right hand Spear the meat of the shell with the fork Then dip into the sauce and eat in one bite

Types of Restaurant
Fine Dining : restaurants that offer luxurious and comfortable surroundings and good quality utensils Bistro : Simple cozy restaurant that offers specialty dishes Casual Family Style Restaurants: also called diners or theme restaurants, the menu ranges from breakfast tom dinner

Types of Menu

Ala Carte Every dish carries a price Table dhote- list a whole menu with a fixed price


Men should wait for the ladies to sit first Sit down from the right side of the chair from the left side of the body When seated place napkin on the lap Sit up straight without being rigid When not in use rest your hands by your side or lap Eat slowly with your mouth close

Sip your soup without slurping sounds. Do not blow your soup to cool it down Use flatware quietly. Do not scrape the plate, stir liquids gently When not in use rest the flatware on the saucer or service plate. Do not hold your knife in mid air while conversing Never blow your nose in public When food is stuck in your teeth do not try to remove it by rolling your tongue, do not use toothpick, be excused and go to the restroom

Help yourself to the platter of food nearest you unless it is waited service, ask Please pass the _____ and say thank you Do not drink while your mouth is full Do not push your plate in the center when done eating. Position your flatware Compliment your host or cook for a delicious recipe or meal Do not reach across the table or in front of people

When ladies leave or return to their table men should rise from their chairs For emergency situations if you cannot stay longer tell your host and leave quietly. If you are offered another drink during the social hour do not refuse, have a little and just hold it When there are many courses take a little amount only to give room for the rest Never use toothpick in public Always thank your host when leaving

Cultural Differences in Table Manners

USE OF CHOPSTICKS Many Asians prefer chopsticks but if you do not know haw to use them, it is acceptable to use flatware Do not leave the chopsticks inside the bowl use the rest pad It is acceptable to lift the bowl into your mouth and shovel the food with your chopsticks Try not to drop chopsticks on the floor it is considered bad luck Some Asians use chopsticks for finger foods

USE OF THE HANDS IN EATING In India eating is a leisurely, tactile pleasure. Eating with the hands and fingers are therefore a norm. However, once you have taken food in the communal bowl or plate, do not offer to other, not even to your spouse. It is considered unclean Some cultures use only the right hand, the left hand is considered unclean.

SLURPING and OTHER TABLE MANNERS The conventional society cautions us not to slurp soup, but in Japan and Hongkong, slurping is permitted to show to your hosts that you are enjoying your meal. Do not use napkins to wipe your face Burping is bad manners for the Western world but for the Arabs, this is a sign of satisfaction after a meal and a complement to the host

Use of Gestures and Facial Expressions

Middle Eastern people Stands close to each other when conversing though Americans would rather have a breathing space Keep eye contact. In Japan, closing the eyes and nodding is an indication that the person is listening attentively Do not show dissatisfaction by frowning or grimacing.

Filipinos, Turkish, Indians, Greeks and Iranians shake their heads back and forth to show agreement with the person speaking. Smiles may mean differently to some nationalities and one must be familiar when to smile instead of saying what you mean Vietnamese smile when displease Korean men seldom smile In India, smiling is reserved for intimate acquantances Filipinos smile to indicate appreciation and satisfaction

In Australia and many Middle Eastern countries, the thumbs up gesture is considered obscene The crooked finger motion used by some people to come closer is impolite in Serbia, Croatia, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and many Southeast Asian countries