Understanding The 3 Key Table Settings In Restaurants
Most Western restaurants table settings require six basic utensils, which are the plate, knife, fork, napkin, spoon and glass. However, the manner in which these utensils are presented is important, especially in upscale restaurants and high society functions, and below is a guide for three types of settings, which are casual, basic and formal.
The casual setting is one you’ll want to use when hosting a private dinner party with friends. It is informal, so it only requires touch of elegance. After being cleaned in a portable sink, the dinner plate should be centrally located, on top of a placement mat. On top of the plate should be a second, smaller plate (which can be used for salad) or a bowl if you’re serving soup. On the dinner plate’s left side should be the fork, which must be placed above a napkin which has been folded, and to the dinner plate’s right should be the knife and spoon. To the upper right corner of the dinner plate should be a glass for water, wine or other beverages.
The basic setting is what most of us learned as a child, especially for dinner. It is similar to the casual setting in that the dinner plate will be centrally located, above a placement mat, and a fork would be put on the left while the spoon and knife would be placed to the right. The glass (or cup) would be placed above the plate on the right side. The difference is that the napkin would be positioned on the plate itself, or could be folded and left beneath the fork. This is the basic setting that most small restaurants use where the dinnerware and cutlery is readily made available.
The formal setting is preferred in five star restaurants or invitation only functions involving heads of state, royalty and famous personalities. If this setting is used in a private residence, it will usually be done during holidays or special occasions, and fine china might be used for serving the meal. As expected, it is more complex than the other arrangements and has fewer options. All the bowls and plates may be put out at the same time and on top of one another, and will be removed during the meal. In restaurants, the dishes will usually be removed or added while the guests dine.
If salad is being served first, the salad plate must be placed above the dinner plate, and can be set aside once the next course is ready or in some cases it is put on the tablecloth and taken away once the main meal is brought in. A special place mat called the charger (that is optional) may be positioned over the tablecloth to act as an anchor, and to serve as a form of decoration. The dinner and salad fork will be placed on the setting’s left. On the right side will be the spoon and dinner knife, and above will be the glass.
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