How to Read Your Table Setting (Part One)

We recently included this 8-course place setting in our bi-weekly email to subscribers.

The basic premise is that when you have multiple courses in a meal, you start with the utensils on the outside and work your way in. There were many comments about this setting, so we decided to take you course-by-course through the menu simply by looking at the place setting.

Here goes!

Bread Plate: Your bread plate and butter knife on the left of your place setting is simply an accessory to the meal. It is not a course.


First course:

  • Pâté Appetizer

The cocktail fork is hiding over on the right, resting in the soup spoon. It could have been served on the service plate along with the pâté. This cocktail fork can also rest above the place setting with the extra utensils.

Second Course:

  • Soup

Now that the cocktail fork has been used and removed, the soup spoon stands next in line.

Third Course:

  • Fish

Even though we work from the outside in, we still keep knives together and spoons together. This course can be three large prawns, placed on a 7” plate with a cocktail sauce positioned in the middle of the plate. The fish fork and fish knife is used to cut the larger end of the prawn. After several cuts, shrimp can be picked up, dipped in cocktail sauce, and eaten with your fingers.

Fourth Course:

  • Finger Bowl

Because you actually touched the shrimp tails, a finger bowl is your next course. There are no utensils on the table for this course. The purpose of this course is to provide you with a clean napkin, just in case the napkin in your lap has cocktail sauce stains and looks pretty messy. The napkin rests on the left of the 10” plate with a small ramekin filled with warm water, and one floating rose petal.

Fifth Course:

  • Sorbet

Sorbet is served after a fish course to cleanse the pallet to prepare for the meat course.

Next week, we will review the remaining courses and the beverages you are served during this meal.

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