Table Manners 101: Basic Dining Etiquette

Table Manners 101: Basic Dining Etiquette


Hey guys, I’m Kyle from The Distilled Man. And up next we’re going to be talking about table manners and how to avoid embarrassing yourself when you dine out with other people. When you hear the words manners or etiquette, I know sometimes you might just think of rules you blindly have to follow for the heck of it. But actually that’s not the case. At their core manners are just being considerate and respectful to the people around you. Table manners are particularly important because, well let’s face it there’s a lot more ways to gross someone out when you’re eating with them. You know, when you’re slurping and chomping and burping and splattering… Versus when you’re just like sitting next to them on a train reading a newspaper. Because of that table manners have always been a good “tell” about someone’s overall refinement, their upbringing and their sort of sensitivity and kind of self-awareness around other people. So my thought is even if you don’t practice impeccable table manners at home, it is important to know how to behave properly for those important occasions. Today we’re going to be talking about some easy to follow guidelines that will help keep your table manners on point throughout an entire meal. Sitting down at the table. So you’re just about to sit down at the table, that a great time for you to silence your phone and put it away. You don’t want to be that guy whose phone is going off during a nice dinner. The other thing you want to do is make sure to wait for everyone to gather around the table. To about to be seated before you sit down yourself. And you may want to take a cue with the host or hostess The first thing you do when you sit down is generally put your napkin on your lap. And in really formal settings, you’d actually wait for an indication from the host or hostess to do this, but in most setting you’re probably safest just to put your napkin on your lap when you first sit down so you don’t forget. Of course that should never go in your shirt, you should keep it on your lap. But your napkin is your friend, so feel free to use it throughout the meal to blot your mouth and keep it clean. Body Language When you’re sitting down your posture should be upright. You should try to avoid slouching or leaning way back on your chair. Keeping your elbows off the table. So this is kind of a misunderstood rule. Of course, it isn’t acceptable to put your elbows on the table while your eating and in general you want to kind of keep your free hand on your lap. While you”re eating, but it is actually acceptable to put your elbows on the table in between courses when you’re not eating. And particularly after the meal if you’re just enjoying conversation with the other diners, you can put your elbows on the table, lean in and it’s totally fine. The Place Setting Oh, the place setting! Nothing gives people greater anxiety than the place setting. You sit down and there’s all these glasses and plates and implements. You don’t know what’s going on, it’s totally overwhelming. Now the first thing that you want to figure out is, where’s my bread plate and where’s my water glass. Because you don’t want to be like sipping off someone else’s glass or stealing someone else’s bread. So I like to use this trick that my friend Dave showed me that’s really handy. Just remember “b” and “d”. So, b for bread and d for drink. And that kind of always tells you what side everything is on. When it comes to understanding which glass is for what, honestly you shouldn’t have to worry about it. Because most likely when you get there to the table your water glass is probably already filled. Or it will be pretty obvious which one the glass is. And if you do have multiple wine glasses, generally that means you’re probably gonna be in a place that has servers or a sommelier and then the server sommelier is going to be the one who’s going to fill up your glass anyway. So you don’t need to really think about it. When it comes to silverware, there’s something you’ve got to understand. First of all, if the person who laid it out actually knows what they’re doing, then each utensil should be laid to the order that the dishes should be presented. You know anything that is served on a flat plate should be eaten with a fork. And anything that’s served in a bowl should be eaten with a spoon. The only thing that you really need to remember is that you start with utensils closest to you and work from your outside in. Those utensils on the top, above your plate are for dessert don’t worry about them for now. On your left side, you’re probably going to have some forks. On your right side, you’re probably going to have some knives some spoon or two. And then maybe mincer fork looking thing, that’s a seafood fork, essentially. Starting the Meal So as much as you want to tear into your food, because you’re hungry, when it first arrives in front of you. You’ve got to wait until everyone else is served and in really formal dinners you would actually wait to get a cue from the host or hostess. But usually you’re safe if everyone is served. In the western world, there are sort of two acceptable ways to hold your fork and knife. There’s the American Style and the Continental Style. With the American Style, you hold the fork with the dominant hand, kind of like a pencil. And then when it comes to cut something, you switch hands and that’s why this is sometimes called the zigzag style, also. And you use your dominant hand to cut with the knife. Cut a single bite of food and switch the fork back to your dominant hand to take a bite. And while you’re doing that if you want to set the knife down you can place it at the top of your plate. With the blade facing down towards you. With the Continental Style, you keep your fork in your non dominant hand and then you still cut with your dominant hand but you don’t switch them. According to Emily Post, either way is fine. This is actually what I do because it’s a little bit easier, you’re switching back and forth. And of course when you’re eating with your fork and not cutting, you should be keep your other hand on your lap. And remember don’t reach across the table, if something is close enough to you that you can grab it and you’re not reaching over another diner, you can feel free to reach out and get it. But otherwise you’re going to have to ask someone else to pass it to you. “Can you please pass the salt.” And on that note if someone asks you to pass the salt, you always give them the pepper as well and vice versa. Finger Foods Yes, believe it or not, it is okay actually to eat certain foods with your fingers when you’re at a formal dinner. You know obvious finger foods like corn on the cob, chicken wings or ribs, or pizza, or tacos, you can eat with your fingers but you have to use your judgement, if it does look like it’s going to be really messy maybe try to use a fork if you can. Chewing and Talking You probably already know that you’re not supposed to talk with your mouth full of food.

100 thoughts on “Table Manners 101: Basic Dining Etiquette

  1. I always thought that you put your napkin on your seat when you leave the table for whatever reason.
    Am I wrong??
    ALSO tell them about the napkin crease facing you.
    AND the desert service.

  2. So how are we supposed to finish off the soup our spoon cant reach a ymore? Just let it go to waste because some weakling gets "offended" because I drink thecrest of the soup in the bowl like drinking from a cup?

  3. Only sissies follow this table rules..
    ENJOY your food. Eat WHATEVER WAY giives you more enjoyment while eating. WHO CARES what people think. Some people that have narrow or inflamed nasal passages cant breath eadily while chewing, so they have to try to swallow quickly so they can breath in thru their mouth, unlike people with no problems breathing, they can just breath thru their nose.

    All this man made stuff is DUMB.

    I think a guy taking little girlie. bites eats like a sissy.

  4. Americans are the only ones that cut their food, places the knife down & then transfers to the fork to eat, it’s unrefined & backward!

  5. Hola es la primera vez que veo su video es muy interesante, llevo casi todas las reglas que ha mencionado, pero que pasa en un Buffett como sigue lo de la servilleta y más, gracias

  6. “Manners maketh the man” It’s extraordinary how many people don’t know what table manners are, so this helpful guide is very useful. Good manners like with most other things in life, are designed to help make our interactions with others much more pleasant and enjoyable

  7. I feel this issue is so important I wish everyone could see it! Sometime we see doctors , architects eating inappropriately and i think to myself ! Hhhmmmm maybe he’s not so good st his job since after son these years he has not learned how to eat properly ! But that’s just my silly opinion .
    I wish to add four comments.
    1. If we are served with 2 wine glasses at lunch or dinner and want to serve ourselves water , the bigger glass will always be the water glass.
    2. Our food goes to our mouth not our head towards the plate , we sit up and slightly bow our head to eat.
    3. I can speak for France on this issue . It is ok to put our napkin on our chest like a bib …although it looks silly to me it is totally acceptable and considered proper as well as placing it on our lap.
    4. In France , we do not put one hand on our lap while we eat , that was a difficult one for me to accept but I have done the research throughout the years and observed people and to my surprise it is literally considered BAD MANNERS .
    Thank you !!

  8. In india we order rice, pulses, paneer butter masala,green salad, mix veg when we go restaurant.could u make video on how to eat this item with spoon ?

  9. many people have it wrong but the first is water..starting from the BORDER of the table..next white next red and next IF there is a champagne flute. because u start with water and normally fish comes before meat..so the wine that accompanies each of those dishes is white for fish (or rose) and red with meat.. nooo way you NEVER leave the cutlery, fork left knife right…until you finish and put them perpendicular straight across the plate..you have many things wrong

  10. And finally I will kill you with that fork and knife!! That's the end of it…🙄😁 You didn't fold that napkin properly…😠

  11. I know little bit table manners and all.. not only you…I know how to use knife and fork..but never tried chopsticks…I want to try…but you should think one thing without palm and fingers you can't eat .. so think why God has given us all that…Do you know how all monkeys and chimpanzees eating..?with their hands…we all have come from them… don't forget that.. okay..

  12. Having a meal shouldn't have to be so stressful and have so many rules. As long as you don't chew with your mouth open, and don't slurp liquids there shouldn't be a problem. smh Next thing you know, there's going to be an etiquette video on how to properly and politely take a shit.

  13. Great video! Can anyone tell me what the rule is for cutting let's say a steak? Do you just cut one piece at a time and eat or do you cut three pieces put your knife down then proceed to eat? The video shows, if I understood correctly, cut as you eat, I dont know why I have this idea in my mind about the three pieces. Thanks!

  14. Formal dinning does not include finger foods.

    Leave your cell phone in your car or at home. Trust me no one is that important ! Including me.

  15. I raised my daughters with table manners from the time they could actually use an utensil. My mantra to them was: "People may not always notice good table manners, but they always notice bad manners!"

  16. Also remember that some country have different culture and what is acceptable and what is not. Make sure to ask natives on this while you visit another country

  17. You missed the napkin if folded in half with the fold toward onesself. Important to know because some napkins are rather large and one does not want to be caught looking like he is wearing a napkin skirt.

  18. I eat American style with my fork and knife but i always cut with my non dominant hand my fork never leaves my right hand. I dont know if thats improper but thats whats comfortable for me for some reason

  19. Eating with your mouth open and cutting into your plate with your knife really annoy me. I refuse to eat with certain people after I have seen how they eat.

  20. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, SEND ALL OF THESE TO, WENDY WILLIAMS AND THE CHUCK WHO EATS ALL OF THE SEAFOOD LIKE SHE DID NOT LEARN AS A CHILD, HOW TO EAT!

  21. Hinaan dendi ini bener2 merendahkan kemampuan intelektual ku.

    HEY GOBLOK !! KENAPA AKU SANTAI DI MAL GALAKSI.. LIAT MOLNYA DONG.. ITU MOL KECIL DI KOTA BEKASI..
    SEMUA ORG BERTRADISI KAYAK AKU.. KHAS ORG BEKASI.. SEADANYA.. SERAMPANGAN.. !!!
    YG WAITER JUGA ASLI BEKASII..

    LALU AKU MAKAN STEIK KAYAK DI RESTO ITALI GITUUU???

    TUNGGU DULUU..

    1. AKU SELALU MENUTUP MAKANAN KOTOR DGN TISU. TAU GAK KNP?
    AKU TDK TEGA
    PELAYAN MENGANGKAT BEKAS MAKANANKU DGN HATI TERHINA.
    BAHWA DIA TERPAKSA MENJADI MLAYANI KRN UANG.
    AKU MENGHARGAI PANDANGAN MATANYA. AGAR DIA MELIHAT BEKAS KOTORAN MAKANANKU DGN HATI TDK KESAL.

    AKU MIKIR HATINYA..

    KALO AKU TUTUP DGN TISU. MATANYA SEJUK MENGANGKAT MAKANN BEKASKU. HATINYA TDK KESAL.
    DAN DIA MERASA DIHARGAI .

    2. KNP AKU BAWA ANAK MAEN. AKU GA PUNYA WAKTU DUDUK SANTAI BACA HIZIB DGN CUEK SAMA RASYID DI RUMAH. DI MAL DIA MAEN AKU ASIK BACA.

    3. AKU NAIK MOTOR KELIATAN MISKIN.?
    EMANG KNP ?
    JARAKYA DEKAT

  22. How do you behave when you drop food or yellow curry on your white shirt and jacket which is obvious to other dinners ?

  23. Dear Sir(s): I liked this video very much. It was definitely helpful, as it reinforces the basic good manners of dining etiquette. Sometimes, it is helpful for me to have a really good guide, as is this video. There is an abundance of relevant information about good etiquette out there, that can be, at the least, a great challenge. Sometimes it can be too difficult to sift through and make sense of different viewing guides for etiquette, especially for someone who does is lacking experience of how to discriminate those debates on his or her own. I thank goodness for smart guides like Table Manners 101: Basic Dining Etiquette. Thank you.

  24. My cousin would always call me out if I was talking with my mouth full and I’d get really embarrassed… That’s how I learned to not do it

  25. I adore your humorous displays of poor manners and etiquette. You crack me up! Your facial expressions are great!

  26. I've worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants in Scotland…and I can safely say, his table manners are deplorable…maybe its American etiquette…but not here.

  27. I know people like to think all of this is silly but good manners are appreciated almost everywhere. It shows respect for yourself and for the comfort of those around you – it isn’t something they should expect but something you can offer just like “please” and “thank you”

  28. I’m from the southern US and had it hammered into me that your hand should always be in your lap at the table if you’re not using it. When I was an exchange student in Germany my host dad would always jokingly as me what I was hiding when my hand wasn’t resting on the table.

  29. As a Brit, I was brought up using what you describe as "continental" dining etiquette. We are taught this from early childhood and it is second nature to us. One thing I always have to smile about is the American insistence that, when you have finished the main course you must place your knife and fork together in the 10 o'clock, 4 o'clock position. Where on earth does this idea come from? In Britain, and in continental Europe, you signal that you have finished by placing your knife and fork in the upright 6 o'clock, 12 o'clock position, even in the poshest of restaurants. So where does this 10 o'clock, 4 o'clock business come from?

  30. I cut with my left hand, and use fork on my right bcs in my culture eating with your left hand is rude. Which always made me use the zigzag style in cutting food

  31. What to do when u don't like the food of hosts, excuse me i will be back soon, hello McDonald's, one big mac, use back door

  32. Very funny. .
    Truly, table manners are the best etiquettes one should have .Another point eating on table or with people is becoming extinct .
    These days dinner is takeaway +tv or phone or laptop.

  33. The only thing I want to stay about Continental vs. American style is that of course both are fine but certainly American style CAN come off a little too informal or even uneducated at a formal meal in Europe. I guess watching Europeans eat a burger / sandwich using Continental knife and fork style is also similarly amusing 🤣🍔😂😍

  34. Wonderful video. I'd only like to point out that, if you need to leave the table but are not finished with the current plate/course, do NOT place your napkin on the table. Napkins should be placed in the chair and returned to the lap when resuming the meal. Placing the napkin loosely to the left of the plate indicates that you are completely finished with the dining experience.

  35. Eat stomach full of food however you want in your home and then go to such formal dinners because I don't think you'll be paying heed to etiquette if you are hungry

  36. I enjoy and am fascinated by etiquette. It bothers me (although I used to do the same thing)when people complain about "snobbery" and stuffiness because I now believe, with the passage of many years, that manners are extremely important and lift us all up to a higher social level. Look at how the Japanese observe manners in their society for example. We could learn something valuable from their example.

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