Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette.
Today’s video is all about table manners.
We provide you with the ultimate guide to
the basic dining etiquette so you don’t embarrass
yourself and get ahead in life.
This is part 1 of an ongoing series about
etiquette so please check out the other videos
in our playlist.
Table manners are actually something your
parents taught you but are actually far more
important as an adult.
First of all, your table manners speak volumes
about your refinement and it’s often interpreted
as a sign of character.
It’s not at all about being snobby or showing
off but much rather to show respect, your
host and your dining partners will greatly
appreciate your manners.
Good table manners are Proof of your social
skills and because of that, they are often
part of an interview process for higher-end
positions or people where you have a lot of
Just the other day, I talked to an entrepreneur,
he only hires people after he had lunch, dinner,
and a drink with them because he wants to
see how they react in different situations.
Without proper manners, he won’t get the job
that’s for sure.
Table manners also help you so you don’t embarrass
yourself or otherwise draw any kind of negative
attention to you.
Last but not the least, Table manners make
other people feel comfortable in your presence
and therefore help to keep up the flow of
conversation and entertainment which is the
main part of dining together with other people.
It’s very important to keep in mind, proper
table manners aways help you and never hurt
The good thing is they can be learned and
its never too late to do so.
So what are table manners?
Basically, they are reactions and the behavior
at the dining table.
In this day and age, you encounter a lot of
informal dining Situations, but that never
means that table manners are not required
For example, a bbq should never be an excuse
to chew with your mouth open and make noises
like a pig.
After all, we’re all civilized people.
The rules do’s and don’ts we discuss in the
video today apply to every basic dining situation
out there that involves silverware.
For more in-depth situations, about very formal
dinners with multiple courses with lots of
silver and glassware stay tuned for another
Also, before you can sit down at the dining
table, Usually there’s an invitation, there’s
an rsvp, there’s a gift, and we cover all
of the before and the after in our etiquette
rules in a different video.
Let’s focus and what happens when you sit
down at the dinner table.
I suggest you turn your cell phone ringer
off when you enter someone else’s home and
put your phone in your pocket when you’re
with the guests.
Don’t leave your phone on the table because
you are much more likely to pick it up and
look at it which is impolite In the presence
of other people.
If the table is all set, you don’t just walk
in and sit down.
Wait to be seated or wait for the queue of
the host, or if they sit, you can sit as well.
Ideally, want to sit up straight but comfortably,
don’t slouch, or cross your arms, or sit as
you would on your couch while watching a football
Don’t expect to sit next to your partner and
follow the lead of the hosts.
Traditionally, couples were always mixed up
to sit with different people; oftentimes,
man, woman, man, woman, just so you would
create an interesting way to stimulate conversation.
If there’s a napkin on the plate or next to
a plate, put it on your lap right away.
If the host or hostess wants to say grace,
accept the gesture for what it is and move
At the same time, do not offer to say grace
yourself because people may not be religious
Two, let’s take a look at the place setting.
In the Western world, an informal place will
always have at least a plate, a knife, and
If dessert will be served, you’ll find either
a little fork or a spoon on the top side of
If soup is served or anything else that requires
a spoon, you will also have a spoon.
At more formal dinners, place settings can
be a lot more elaborate with several sets
of silverware and a general rule of thumb
is to always work your way from the outside
in but we’ll talk much more about that in
our formal dining guide video take a look
On the top right of the plate, you’ll likely
find a water glass which is always filled
and a wine glass which is empty to begin with.
Sometimes you also find beer glasses; if you
prefer that, if that’s what’s served with
If you see little plate with an extra knife
on a top left to your plate, that’s for bread
Again, silverware is arranged from the outside
in so you see two forks and two knives that
means you start with the outermost fork and
the outermost knife; that’s usually for the
appetizer or the starter course.
When you’re done with the course, you place
the fork and a knife at a four to five o’clock
angle that means you’re done.
If you’re not done yet, you can have it in
this position or in that position, that indicates
that you’re not finished eating yet.
Do not put the used silverware back on the
tablecloth or the table and simply put it
on the plate so it can be taken away.
Trust me, your host thought about it and they
put together the place setting and everything
has a reason.
In restaurants in the US, you often encounter
two forks on the left and one knife on the
right, in that case, use the outermost fork
on the left and the knife on the right to
eat your starter course and then request a
new knife whether it’s a steak knife or a
regular knife for your main course.
Three, now it’s time to serve the food.
Most informal dinners are family-style meaning
there are bowls or platters where food is
For formal dinners, courses are usually plated
but we talk about the intricacies of that
in our formal dining etiquette video here.
With bowls and anything at the table, the
cardinal rule is don’t reach over anybody
else and don’t touch them.
To start, pass the bowl around the table from
the left to the right when you get the bowl
you hold it and you serve yourself then you
pass it on to your neighbor on the right.
Always use the serving utensils and never
your silverware that’s on your place setting.
Of course if the host or hostess have a different
idea, go with what they do.
If you like seconds later on or if you want
salt, simply ask for it and don’t reach it
unless it’s right in front of you.
If someone asks you for either salt or pepper,
always pass both things together.
When you serve yourself, be reasonable, you
can count how many people are at the table
and everyone want something so don’t pile
it up on your plate.
You never want to take more than your fair
share and keep in mind there will likely be
Always be open-minded about the food being
served even if you think you don’t like something
the hosts likely put a lot of effort into
the meal and you should always at least try
Just put a little bit on your plate and try;
if you suffer from severe food allergies you
should tell the host before the dinner is
cooked so that they can make the proper arrangements.
Four, finally it’s time to eat.
You should only start eating when everyone
else has been served and a host or hostess
starts to take their fork and take the lead.
It is very impolite and sometimes even rude
to just dig into your plate of food while
the others are still empty-handed.
When it comes to eating with silver, they’re
basically two schools of thought.
One is the American Way, and one is the continental
With American way, you hold the fork in your
right hand and you eat that way.
If you cut off something, you transfer the
fork to your left hand and have the knife
in your right hand.
When you’re done cutting place the knife on
top of the plate or on a knife rest if it’s
available and then you transfer your fork
from the left to the right again and eat.
Because it’s back and forth, it’s also known
as the zigzag method.
On the other hand with the Continental method,
you hold the fork in the left hand and a knife
in the right hand.
That way, there’s no switching of back and
Bboth the American and the continental method
are perfectly acceptable.
Personally, I prefer the Continental version
simply because I don’t have to switch back
and forth and so I can focus more on the conversation
rather than having to pay attention to my
Even within the Continental school of thought,
there are differences in how you put the food
to your mouth.
Basically, you hold your fork, you hold it
to the left hand more like a pencil, however,
when you switch to cutting something, you
turn the fork around 180 degrees.
For example, if you cut a piece of meat, you
can leave the fork in a cutting position and
move it right to your mouth that way it’s
curved down, or you can switch it up and bring
the fork to your mouth with it facing up.
Both styles are acceptable when it comes to
Basically, everything that is served in a
bowl or a boolean cup is supposed to be eaten
with a spoon.
the key is to be comfortable with whatever
method you use it should always look effortless
feel free to practice at home until it has
really become a part of who you are so you
never have to think about it twice.
so the big question is what to do with your
elbows? as a general rule don’t put your elbows
on your table when you’re eating because it’s
considered to be impolite instead leave your
wrists on the table when you’re chewing or
if you go with the American method you can
also keep your hand on your lap now in between
courses or if you have a conversation after,
it’s totally fine to have your elbows on the
table just make sure that your body language
is engaged and not slouching.
when eating with company, pace is very important.
the goal is to have a great flowing conversation
and because of that you should neither eat
too slow nor too fast.
something that I sometimes struggle with is
speed; I eat way too fast so company really
helps me to slow down and engage in conversation
that way, I can enjoy the food and the company
at the same time a good indicator are always
the people around you or your host or hostess
so neither too fast or too slow as a general
rule cut up the pieces of food as you eat
them don’t cut up everything before and then
eat it piece by piece that’s only something
you would do for a little child not for a
grown person also take small bites and chew
them and swallow them completely before you
take the next bite.
always eat with their mouth closed and avoid
making any chewing noises. years ago I used
to eat a lot more salt than I do now and so
I always made assumptions about the food and
heavily salt it before I tried it don’t be
that guy why?
If a hiring manager sees that you salt your
food before you try it they let you believe
that you make assumptions rather than make
decisions based on fact and they’re less likely
to give you the job even in a personal setting
it can be disrespectful to just salt your
food without having tried it in the first
place of course if you’ve tried a food that
it’s underseasoned to your taste ask for salt
and pepper and it should be better.
now it’s also a great time to compliment the
host or on their table arrangements their
food may be the choice of their wine or something
that you genuinely like make sure you’re sincere
because otherwise, people will notice if someone
asks you a question while you’re still chewing,
finish chewing and then answer.
likewise, don’t ask others questions while
they’re still chewing because it may put them
in the awkward situation for yourself to chew
for 10-15 seconds that creates awkward pauses.
if bread is served with dinner it’s likely
served in a basket on a bowl and you pass
it around just like any other serving roll
from the left to the right if you get the
bowl you take a piece of bread you put it
in your plate and you pass it on or put it
back in its spot most of the time butter is
served with bread put some butter on your
plate with a butter knife that is clean never
use a knife or a silverware that has been
used depending on a country you’re in, eating
bread can also be different in the u.s. most
people will butter their entire bread then
pick it up by hand and take a bite and put
the bread back.
Germany for example that would be a faux pas
instead you would take a piece of bread break
it off by hand put a little piece of butter
from your plate onto the bread eat it and
then continue later on with breaking the bread
and butter in it and then eating it so if
you travel abroad be aware of the cultural
differences and try to be cognizant of them
and respect them if you end up with excess
food in your mouth use a napkin on your lap
to wipe it off right away make sure to always
use just one napkin and stick with it otherwiseyou
will stain your clothes if something gets
stuck in your teeth don’t just sit there use
a toothpick or try to wipe it off when other
people are there the worst thing you can do
is hold up your hand and try to get rid of
it using your finger and maybe make awkward
noises instead excuse yourself go to the rest
room make yourself look presentable maybe
use a toothpick if one is available for example
in Austria you find toothpicks even at the
finest restaurants versus in Germany toothpicks
are not something you’ll commonly encounter
on a table if you need to use a toothpick
it’s always safer not to do so in public or
at the table
so how should you excuse yourself if you must
leave because you expect an urgent call and
you have to go there a restroom simply say
excuse myself I’ll be right back please don’t
explain why you have to leave what the reason
is or that you just had four beers earlier
and that you really have to pee that’s just
not an appropriate conversation at the time
so while getting up from your chair fold your
napkin and place it to the left on your plate
or on the chair no it doesn’t have to be folded
like before just make sure it looks neat also
push your chair right back in my wife always
gets annoyed with me if I don’t put my chair
back if you ever have to leave the table make
sure to keep it short and five minutes max
otherwise it’s very rude and impolite to stay
away from longer than that
now all that being said here are some things
you should never do when eating never use
your fingers to eat food of the plate or especially
put your last bit of food onto the fork instead
use a knife I see a lot of people making that
mistake but it’s completely unnecessary because
you have all of the utensils at your disposal
likewise never lick your fingers or your fork
or your plate afterwards even though it’s
really really tasty do not use your fork to
cut something up I see it time and time again
where people are too lazy to pick up their
knife and then they just try to push down
but it’s just shows that you don’t have proper
table manners also don’t flatten your food
I distinctly remember my grandpa always kind
of smashing down everything and flattening
out on his table because he wanted his food
to cool down faster so he could eat faster
it’s just a bad look and it creates a bad
Now that we talked about eating a lot about
eating what about drinking as a rule of thumb
you should never drink unless your host has
raised a glass to a toast or started drinking
themselves typically you toast with wine or
champagne maybe with beer but definitely not
with water or pop if there’s stemmed glass
on the table you should hold them by the stem
don’t let the host or other guests dictate
of how much alcohol you drink you know your
limits and it’s okay to say no thank you or
to simply not continue drinking your glass
even though it’s still full or half full don’t
get wasted and keep your consumption moderate
you don’t want to be the odd guy out who gets
hammered when he’s invited over for dinner
because it will likely be the last invitation
for you generally you should not ask for more
wine or beer a good host will notice that
your glass is empty and offer you more if
they have more
now as I said before the main goal of having
dinner and company is to have a great conversation
and so your body language and how you converse
are very important it all starts with your
voice moderate the volume of it so you don’t
scream because that can be very unpleasant
let other people finish talking and ask interesting
questions and then listen if you behave well
and you’re very entertaining you may even
end up with a compliment if you want to learn
how to accept one a graceful way please check
out this video here.
At the end of a meal just fold your napkin
and place it next to your plate never put
it on the plate now most people will never
call out bad table manners in person however
they will reflect poorly on you and you may
not be invited back or your invitations may
be rebuffed now that you’re equipped with
this table etiquette knowledge you probably
know more than the average person out there
however that doesn’t mean that you should
chastise others about their table manners
or even worse criticize the host or tell them
what to do especially in a public setting
because it’s very embarrassing instead always
be kind be generous ask questions listen be
a good sport and smile
In today’s video I’m wearing two suit separates
the jacket of one which is a brown and blue
Prince of Wales check and a blue pair of pants
from another suit together they work quite
well I’m combining them with another pair
of brown Oxfords that are half brogues with
a hand finish patina I tie everything together
with a pair of brown and light blue socks
one from Fort Belvedere that’ll pick up the
color of the jacket and separate the shoes
from the pants my shirt is plain white with
a classic color and button barrel cuffs my
tie is made of English madder silk and the
pattern ties together my shirt as well as
the pattern of my jacket provides enough contrast
and the pattern stands out from the background
the tie is from Fort Belvedere I designed
it and you can fin it in our shop here just
like the pocket square which is likewise from
Fort Belvedere I chose a burgundy color that
picks up the blue and yellow tones of the
tie the jacket and the shoes as well as the
pants and I chose a silk wool combination
that ties together the flannel material of
the jacket with the shiny or silk texture
of the tie my right ring finger I’m wearing
a gold ring with a dark star sapphire that
changes the look in the light if you enjoyed
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