Copyright Corrina Tough 2011

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dinner Party tips- part 3

Many years ago I completed a course in hospitality, the course covered small scale catering and all the cooking side including the basics and to medium level complexity technique. Our course also covered front of house (restaurant) etiquette. We had an amazing teacher who was Irish by birth and had worked in some of Europe's best restaurants. He taught us a'la' carte and table d'hote and we had to be able to set up a restaurant as if it were first class. Now most of you would know some of these tips but I tell you when you set a table in this way it is really 'a beautiful thing'! As I said in part one, make sure your cloth is freshly laundered and ironed and laid so it falls evenly. My table is a rectangle  but for ovals and small squares you can also lay on the diagonal. My tutor used to insist you did a double layer for this so one would sit square and then a second cloth was laid on top diagonally. Cutlery is quite simple- for an up market look try to have matching but if that's not possible go rustic with a mismatched look and decorate accordingly. I love my very simple but heavy duty stainless steel cutlery with a plain rounded edge. Now this is where you need to work with your menu- you set to eat from the outside in so the course you serve first has its cutlery on the outside and the last course (usually desert is the closest to the plate. So- set from the inside out ending on your first course if you get my drift!!?? My tutor used to get out a ruler and measure our placement- bit pedantic for a home dinner party, the best way to do it is use the edge of your table as the line so the bottom of your forks, knives etc sit lined up with the edge of the table. The plate needs to go on first and sit central to the seat- then do your cutlery. For glassware my tutor always had  both red and white wine glasses and a water glass, but again we are not playing it too formal so one wine glass and a water glass is fine. Glasses sit above and slightly to one side of your knife(so always to the right) and just be consistent with which one you put first- wine or water.  After I set the cutlery and plates I do the candles and other decorations. I put the napkin under the fork and if you're having a bread plate it goes next to the knife but with its own knife sitting on top central to the plate. I didn't have bread at this party so it's not pictured here. See below some examples. I know you are all hanging out to eat- that will come in Part 4 xxCorrina
All Images Copy Right Corrina Tough.

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