Dining etiquette: Which fork do I use? Understanding tableware


Wasn’t it in James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character received from dining 101, whilst sitting in the fine dining restaurant completely mesmerized by the number of cutlery and tableware?

“Just start from the outside and work your way in,” Molly Brown, played by actress Kathy Bates, suggested casually.

According to Etiquette Scholar, dining affairs are definitely not something that you can pass on casually.

The difference between and “informal” and “formal” meal is as follows:

At an informal meal, the table setting is not cluttered and all the flatware is laid on the table at one time. At the host’s option the dessert utensils may be brought to the table on the dessert plate.

The following is a standard table setting for a three-course meal.


For a formal meal, the general rule for a any table setting is to include no more than three utensils on either side of the dinner plate at a time. The exception is the oyster (or seafood) fork, which may be placed to the right of the last spoon even when it is the fifth utensil to the right of the plate.




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