Rosemary Shrager

HOW GOOD ARE YOUR MANNERS? OUR CELEBRITY CHEF ROSEMARY SHRAGER TAKES US TO TASK TH IS MONTH…

I was asked to talk about etiquette at the Ideal Homes Exhibition, so I thought I’d do a double whammy – talk to you and do my notes at the same time…

Q: WHAT IS THE CORRECT SEATING ETIQUETTE?

Your host may have a seating plan. You should allow him or her to direct you to your seat. As a host you should suggest seating arrangements.
In a restaurant the guest of honour should sit in the best seat at the table – usually that is the chair back to the wall. Once the guest of honour’s seat is determined, the host should sit to their left. The other people are then offered seats around the table.

Q: WHAT IS THE CORRECT NAPKIN ETIQUETTE?

At all informal meets, place the napkin on your lap immediately upon sitting. During formal occasions, before unfolding the napkin wait for the host to remove their napkin from the table and unfold in their lap.
If you want to be excused, leave your napkin on the chair seat, then when you have finished your meal fold your napkin and put on the side.

Q: HOW DO YOU LAY A PLACE AT THE TABLE?

Decide which knife, fork or spoon you want, then by using your utensils from the outside first, you work each course in.
Your side plate must always be on the left, and your butter knife is always on the outer right. Never put your knife on the side plate.

Q:  HOW DO YOU EAT THE FOOD WITH UTENSILS CORRECTLY?

This is a very important part of good manners. At a formal dinner, once sitting at the table, do not start to eat until your host or hostess starts eating, or they ask you to start. At a more casual table wait until everybody has been served before starting to eat. This is polite even though it is casual.

Q: HOW DO YOU HOLD YOUR UTENSILS?

1)Hold your fork in your left hand, the prongs downwards.
2) Hold your knife in your right hand, a couple of centimeters above the plate. Cut side down.
3) Hold your index finger, extend along the top of the handle onto the blade.
4) Cut holding the knife then use your fork to lift the food to your mouth.
5) If your knife is not needed it is left on the table.
6) If eating spaghetti, never cut it, either twist it around a fork only, or twist in a spoon.
7) Never hold your knife and fork up, and always put your knife and fork down in a upside down V shape in between each mouthful, so you can have a conversation and let your food go down. Then, when you have finished bring your knife and fork together straight and vertically in the middle of your plate.

Q: WHEN DO YOU ASK FOR SALT AND PEPPER?

Taste the food first before putting salt and pepper on. If you are in a good restaurant you will not need any because it should be fine.
When you pass the salt, pass the pepper as well. Never use your fingers in the salt at a table, use the tip of a clean knife if there is no small spoon.

Q: HOW DO YOU EAT THE BREAD?

If there is a basket of bread on the table just take one and put on to your side plate. Take some butter and put on to the side plate, you can put some salt onto your side plate if wanted.
Holding the bread in your fi ngers split it in half , now break one of the halves into two, now break off a mouthful, take your butter knife and put a little butter onto the small bitesize piece, so butter each bitesize piece you take. It is a no no to spread the butter onto the whole piece at any time.