Dear ladies and gentlemen, you know it: the dining table is complicated. There are many rules to understand. I propose you to discover with me today the French dining table you may find in many Michelin star restaurants. Review with me, and get prepared for our dining etiquette class at the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, on 23rd March.
Here we start: do you know the rules for these 16 elements?
Don’t be scared, we will review them steps by steps.
The glasses: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5
1)The water glass. When you only have stemmed glasses the water glass is always the biggest one, and is placed on the left.
2)The red wine glass. It is smaller than the water glass but bigger than the white wine one.
3)The white wine glass. If you have two red wines or two white wines, you shall use specific glasses (a glass for Bordeaux wines and one for Burgundy wines for instance)
4)Glass for champagne. NB: this glass may be placed on the right of white wine glass.
5)This is the specificity of the French table setting: the glasses are placed on a horizontal line above the plate.
Cutlery: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11
6)Here we have the soup spoon, placed on the far-right, as it is for the first dish and we take it with the right hand. On the French style it shall be with the curved part up.
7)The fish knife and fork, the second dish would be fish here. Fork on the left, knife on the right of course.
8)The cutlery for the main course. On the French style the forks have the tines downwards.
9) 10) 11)We have the dessert cutlery. The cheese knife on top, the fork and spoon after for a softer dessert.
Side : 12, 13
12) The bread and butter plate, always on the upper left part of the dining plate. Here you can break pieces of bread and spread butter on it, with the small butter knife.
13) Salad fork and salad plate. This setting on the photo is an unusual one, the salad would often be a dish in itself served after the main dish and before the cheese/desserts.
Table elements: 14, 15 & 16
14) Of course the napkin. It can be folded elegantly, placed on the plate, or on the left of the plate for more formal dinners. Never in the glasses, it is a very “casual restaurant” style.
15)Knife rests. Just like for the chopsticks in China. But in France it is not considered as polite to place them: it would be you intend to use the table cloth again after the dinner!
16)The particularity of the French table tradition: the table cloth. Often white, from different lengths. It is a different way as in northern Europe who rather had beautiful wooden tables
I wish you understand better the French table settings now, I look forward to having you at our dining manner etiquette class on 23rd March at the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong!