Eating is such a basic activity for humans and yet this activity does not seem so basic at all when you do it at a fine dining restaurant. There are a lot of formalities and unspoken rules when it comes to fine dining and a person who will be trying it for the first time may get confused and overwhelmed.
If you will be put trying out fine dining in Manila soon, it is best to familiarize yourself with what you need to know and remember. Below are some tips for those who might find themselves inside a posh restaurant in Ayala Center or any other fine dining restaurant soon.
- Mimic other people. The safest thing to do when in doubt is to mimic other people. Unsure of how to sit? Do not know which utensil to use? Check out other diners in the establishment and try to approximate the average or the safest choice for you.
- Work from outside in. This applies to knives and forks which can be daunting for a lot of people. Expect to see several pieces of flatware on your table and try not to be overwhelmed. The rule of thumb with flatware is to work from the outside going in. In other words, the outer most cutleries or those farthest from you are what you should use first.
- Eat small. Fine dining is not for big bites and sloppy eating; it is for eating small portions. Cut the pieces into small sizes and put down your cutlery after every bite. Servers use your cutlery as signals for when you are finished eating which by placing your knife and fork together in the center of the plate vertically. If you are not yet done, cross the tips of your knife and fork on your plate or leave it an angle if you are using only one of them.
- Dab, not wipe. The napkin should be unfolded and placed on your knees before eating; never put it at the front of your shirt or dress. When you need to clean your mouth, just dab your mouth and never wipe. When you need to go somewhere, place your napkin on your seat to signal the server that you are not yet done.
- Wait for others. In fine dining etiquette, you should not start eating unless everyone has been served their food. This can be a challenge if you are attending a big event, but during these events, you may go ahead of other guests if your host has given you the signal to start.