Category Archives: Dining Etiquette

How to Hold Your Red Wine Glass

Wine glass

Wine is still as popular as ever and personally one of my favourite social beverages. However, knowing how to hold the wine glass properly has recently become a bit confusing. It used to be a rule that a red wine glass was held by the bowl of the glass. This was done because red wine is meant to be served at room temperature and the warmth of your hand would bring out the best in the wine. Lately though, we are seeing a shift to holding the glass by the stem.

So why is this? I have actually heard two reasons for this:

  1. Wine was invented before homes had central heating. Then, room temperature was much cooler than it is today. So because of this, today, when we hold the glass by the bowl, we were actually warming the wine too much, taking away from wine rather than bringing out its best.
  2. The second reason that I have heard, is that when we hold the wine glass by the bowl we leave our finger prints. The glass no longer looks pretty or clean.

So how should we hold our red wine glass? I tell my clients to hold the red wine glass by the stem unless the wine has been served too cold. This will make you appear modern and educated about wine. However, when drinking white wine always hold the glass by the stem.

Choosing a Restaurant – Who’s Choice?

When you invite a client for a business meeting at a restaurant your role becomes the host. As the host it is your job to lead the way and make the decisions, even if you are from out of town. Although it is polite to ask the guest if they have a preference on where to dine, never ask the guest to choose the restaurant. This may put him in an awkward position

9 Steps to Breaking Bread with Ease and Grace

If you have ever been unsure of which bread plate is yours; or whether you are supposed to butter the whole slice of bread. You are not alone. As an etiquette expert many of my clients and friends ask about the etiquette of eating bread and rolls. Here are the steps to take next time you are faced with the challenge of breaking bread.

  1. Your bread plate is the one to the left of your place setting.
  2. Don’t reach; Ask the person closest to the bread basket to pass it to you.
  3. Take the bread or roll and place it on your bread plate.
  4. Ask the person closest to the butter dish to pass it to you.
  5. Using the butter serving utensil (if there is one) or your butter knife (if there is no serving utensil), place some butter on your bread plate.
  6. Rip off a small piece of bread / roll, the appropriate size for one or two bites.
  7. Butter that piece of bread / roll holding it on the plate while spreading the butter.
  8. Eat it with your mouth closed and enjoy!
  9. Repeat…

Use this etiquette for Holiday Dining and Everyday Dining…Happy Holidays!

Cutlery Etiquette How to Make a Great Impression

I have travelled quite a bit over the past few years and one of the things I have noticed is that many restaurants have moved away from traditional place settings at the dining table. Although I suspect that this is part of their branding efforts to be seen as upbeat and unique, it can also be confusing and occasionally embarrassing for their patrons. This makes it more important than ever to familiarize yourself with various types of cutlery and know how to use them.
If the table is set traditionally, utensils are used starting from outside the place setting, and working in. If it isn’t use the appropriate utensil.
When holding a knife the fork is always held in the left hand. When in the left hand, the fork is held with the tines facing down. The knife is held in the right hand with the index finger on top. When eating American style after cutting the food, the knife is placed on the upper right corner of the plate and the fork is transferred to the right hand with the tines facing up for eating.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Only begin eating when everyone has been served.  The host picks up his or her cutlery first.
  • Once a piece of cutlery is picked up, it is never put back on the table.  It lies on the plate with the handle resting on the rim.
  • When taking butter, use the butter knife or serving utensil to place it on your bread plate. Then use your butter knife (spreader) to butter your bread.
  • Leave spoons on the service plate or saucer. An exception is made if the soup plate or soup cup has no service plate.

If you want to take a break, but don’t want your plate taken away, signal this by placing the fork and knife at right angles on the plate, tines facing down.

  • When dining American Style, hands go in the lap. Wrists, arms and elbows stay off the table.
  • When eating European Style, keep hands and wrists above the table at all times.

With either style the elbows stay off the table until the meal has ended.

When the meal is finished, place your fork and knife on the plate diagonally like the 10:20 clock position. The knife sits above the fork with the blade facing toward it. Napkin goes to the left of the plate… never on it. In some regions it is the custom to place the fork and knife vertically in the centre of the plate instead of the 10:20 position.