Etiquette expert Julie Lamberg-Burnet (pictured) gave a comprehensive list of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of table etiquette
An etiquette expert has listed the big mistakes dinner guests make – and you’re guilty of at least one of them.
The “shrink-worthy” habits that tend to creep in could be a lack of awareness of the various aspects of finesse required in eating and eating.
Etiquette expert Julie Lamberg-Burnet, founder and CEO of the Sydney School of Protocol, says learning the “art of dining will give you confidence and ease to entertain and dine” in both social and business settings.
She provided a comprehensive list of the “do’s and don’ts” of table etiquette – from how to use a napkin properly to pacing yourself at dinner and how to properly eat bread.
“While you may think no one notices how we present ourselves around the dinner table, we are noticed,” Ms Lamberg-Burnet told FEMAIL.
“Unfortunately, if you are not aware of proper etiquette for modern business and social dining, it reflects your image and your personal brand.
“It indicates a lack of sophistication for building relationships and is often painfully distracting when dining in the presence of family, friends, colleagues and business associates.”
Mrs. Lamberg-Burnet gave a comprehensive list of the “do’s and don’ts” of table etiquette – from how to properly use a napkin to properly feed yourself at dinner and how to properly eat bread ( stock image)
Know how to use the napkin
At the start of the dinner party, pick up the napkin cues when it’s time to sit down.
“If you’re hosting a meal, first remove your napkin from the table as soon as everyone is seated to indicate that the meal is about to begin,” she said.
“As a guest you look at the host and only then do you remove the napkin from the table – never put it on your lap in the collar of your shirt between buttons and place the pleat next to your waist.”
Ms Lamberg-Burnet added that napkins ‘are not for dabbing your lips, eyebrow wipes or handkerchiefs or tissues’, but to ensure that food does not come into contact with your clothes.
She also warned never to fold your napkin neatly at the end of the meal.
Instead, she recommends picking up the napkin loosely from the center and placing it to the left of the table or where the plate was cleared — but not on your plate.
Avoid “talking to your cutlery”
Make sure you don’t “talk to the cutlery” in hand while sitting at the diner or cafe table and pay attention to how you hold a knife and fork.
“If you want to talk, chew your food, drink, or wipe your face with the napkin, use the rest position by placing the knife and fork crossed on the plate, with the fork over the knife, with the teeth down targeted’, said Mrs Lamberg-Burnet.
Know how to eat bread ‘right’
It may not be obvious at first, but Ms. Lamberg-Burnet emphasized the “right” way to cut and eat bread at a dinner party.
She advised breaking up bakery rolls and buns and never cutting them with a knife.
“Hold the bread over your plate and break it into bite-sized pieces one at a time, buttering each piece — avoid this mid-air action,” she said.
‘Avoid sawing or cutting bread and spreading it thickly with butter.
“Don’t put your used knife back in the regular butter dish.”
Most creepy habits at the dinner table:
1. Don’t start eating before your host
2. Avoid “talking to your cutlery” – finish chewing, put knife and fork crossed on the plate with the fork over the knife, then speak
3. Know how to use the napkin or napkin – don’t fold your napkin neatly at the end of the meal
Pick up loosely in the center of the napkin and place on the left side of the table or where the plate is cleared
4. Never cut bakery rolls and bread with a knife – break across the plate
5. Don’t eat too fast
6. Do not put phones, sunglasses, keys or personal belongings on the table
What to do if…
Ms Lamberg-Burnet also pointed out what to do in a number of situations, such as if you drop the cutlery on the floor or if you discover an object in the food.
If cutlery falls on the floor, guests should avoid drawing ‘unwanted’ attention by bending over or getting out of your chair to fetch.
Instead, ask the waiter if the cutlery falls on the floor – don’t pick it up yourself.
Likewise, if something is discovered during the meal, report it discreetly to restaurant staff rather than disturbing other diners.
Guests should also refrain from using toothpicks, dental floss or lipstick at the table – as happens far too often.
“Toothpicks are still used in some cultures, but we recommend that you best excuse yourself if you want to remove something from your teeth,” Ms. Lamberg-Burnet.