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 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”

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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 🤣🍔😂😍

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Uhm….no….do not pick up the corn on the cob with your fingers at a formal setting. If there’s China on the table, it is formal. That is equivalent to eating lobster with your fingers. Instead, fork one end securely, tilt it and use the knife to remove the kernels in a downward slice and into a neat pool. Then add salt and butter.

  12. No! When leaving the table the napkin should be folded and put on your seat!! So you are incorrect. The napkin is not put on the side!

  13. It's good to know these rules because I eat according to the place. If I am in a Italian restaurant I will follow the European way. If I am in a Indian restaurant, I will follow how Indians eat. If I am at home. everything is allowed.

  14. The american style of working with knife and fork, all this switching back and forth, is absulutely ridiculous

  15. the most complicated thing to eat at a formal dinner is spaghetti or pasta. it's so embarrassing when a spaghetti won't fully go in your mouth and just hangs from there and you have to put it in with your hands ughh the embarrassment 😂

  16. Verbal etiquette: don’t use verb-nouns. ‘Tell’ is a verb. There is no such thing as ‘a tell’. It is yank. It is creeping over the Pond and infesting our language like their bloody ladybirds that ate our native UK species. Please stop ENGLISH grammar disappearing into the US mangle. Thank you. 4:48 nobody does that unnecessarily complex chop job on their food so only yanks need bother with that. Other nations will wonder what you’re doing.

  17. Hahahahahha….dude your video was hilarious..the way you acted , all the anxiety, slouching you showed…hahaha… I thoroughly enjoyed your video..well done

  18. The way you were trying to reach the food on the other side of table …hahahhhahahhahhahhaha… You can try your hands in comedy..hahaha

  19. Thank you very much sir in this busy world today all are miss using the table manners even our parents have forgotten the teaching and value of the culture they used to tell while there upbringing. More than us now they are using talks and phone in between dinning.

  20. OK….Dude……This is the American dining etiquette because I don't know who on earth will serve corn, chicken wings or any finger foods at a formal dinner. By the way, if it is a formal dinner, guess what: THE CONTINENTAL ETIQUETTE is the one people should observe also most formal dinner is serve A LA RUSSE not A LA FRANCAISE which means, a la Russe each course comes separately while a la Francaise all the courses are on the table except for the dessert……STOP WITH YOUR YANKEE BULLSHIT/TRUMP WHITE TRASH HILLBILLIES PARVENUS.

  21. I never check my phone while dining out in a restaurant, however I do check out random women's ass. ..is that under ETIQUETTE?

  22. Dear Lord, the American style of switching over the cutlery is hilarious. Never hold the irons as a pen or pencil, finger on the back spine, stopping at the hilt. Most importantly, remember to be interesting at formal dinners, nothing worse than a boring guest or host. lol.

  23. Isn’t hiding one hand down while eating with the other one just looks like you scratching your self all the time I always thought that you should keep the other wrist on top visible while eating with the other one or holding a knife or fork in it

  24. Can we talk about ppl sitting at the table on their phones? It drives me crazy to see kids playing with technology tablets instead of parents teaching kids these manners and/or engaging in conversation.

  25. In France and other places it is rude to keep your hand in your lap, one keeps their hand in view of others. (paranoia?) Also, in many places laying the fork tines down from 12 to 6 o'clock with the knife next to it is an indicator to the wait staff that you are done with your plate (helps to get rid of plates of food you don't care for.) Lastly, I would add that if you are in a restaurant and want the staff to come over, close your menu! They will not come and interrupt you while you are still deciding. Bon appetite!

  26. Table manners are imperative. I went on a date once, I was told I was too proper because I used my fork and knife to cut my chicken… I even get glances when I’m on my lunch break… thank you for this video. I learned the seafood fork only has three prongs, salad and rice forks has four prongs. Let’s not forget to carve the meat, starting from the back of the knife and work your way to the front.

  27. The American table manners are kind of funny. In Europe we would never change fork and knife when cutting. This changing or zig zag means to us Europeans that you are not able to use both things at a time. The same thing goes for having your free hand in your lap. You should show your hands.

  28. Sensible people don't care about perfect table manners. I just watched this video to laugh at the jerk. "American style" my ass.

  29. we dont use knife too much on dinner, we often use spoon and fork. but sometimes it's more discreet to eat with just the spoon. n they all thought am weird to cut the meat with the spoon. hihi

  30. I just want to say that you are a very refined gentleman. This video-format had everything: from humor, to insight and even more tips as I watched. Some of these table manners were already somewhat familiar to me (grew up in a Muslim household) but there was so much more to learn, I noticed. Thank you for providing this helpful video. It’s not shameful to want to learn these kind of things, as it makes one look aware of themselves and on improving.

  31. The three most important things in a restaurant:
    1. immediately take your napkin. Why? Because you’re a regular in fine dining restaurants and you know that they’re bring the amuse geule or bread right in the beginning with the Apèritif. Do that& the staff knows you’re a pro.
    2. break your bread, don’t cut it. Then put the butter on the little piece or dip it in olive oil.
    Don’t ever never eat the bread with cutlery, but with your hands. Why?
    It’s a tradition from Jesus last supper. No joke. Remember? The only one on Da Vincis Last Supper painting with a knife is Judas.
    That’s why bread knifes aren’t sharpened.
    3. Dear Americans, yes there’s a reason why wine glasses have a stem. Use it!
    You can always eat with your hands or share plates. But do it with style.
    Follow these rules& you’re fine.
    Unless you’re invited into Buckingham Palace.
    Greetings from a Maître d‘ Hotel in a ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ restaurant.

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