A Lesson In Business Dining Etiquette

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to go to a business etiquette luncheon hosted by the Center for Campus Involvement and led by University Unions Food Service Director Keith Soster. The luncheon included a 4-course meal for only $15, and while students dug into a delicious, fancy meal, Keith Soster went step-by-step through every course, explaining the do's and don'ts of fine dining etiquette.

What we ate:
We started off with a cream-based soup and a mixed green salad with candied pecans and bleu cheese, which was followed by chicken with mushrooms, sautéed asparagus and wild rice, and finally finished off with a lemon chiffon cake. Yum.

Some dining etiquette wisdom:

1. When there are lots of different forks and spoons, always work inward from the outer silverware, moving closer to the plate with each course.
2. When it comes to something that needs to be shared, like bread or a shared appetizer, don't attack it and take for yourself, no matter how delicious it looks and how starving you are. Pass it around and wait until it comes to you at the table.
3. The host should always take last.
4. When someone else is paying the bill, don't order the most or least expensive item on the menu...keep in the middle.
5. Try to avoid messy or difficult-to-eat foods, such as lobster or a giant sandwich.
6. Slurping your soup or spaghetti and using bread to sop-up remaining sauces on your plate are both big no-no's. I have definitely been guilty of this one on many occasions (whoops!).
7. A great trick to remember which side has your drink and which has your bread is by touching your pointer fingers to your thumbs (your hands form the shapes of a lowercase 'b' and 'd'). Bread is on the 'b' side, drink is on the 'd' side. Magical.

Photo by Julia Liss

It was really awesome that the Center for Campus Involvement put on an event like this to help students prepare for future business lunches. If anyone is interested in attending this workshop, they are planning to hold another one in the spring, though the date is TBD. Keep an eye on the Center for Campus Involvement's website for updates.

Bon appétit!

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