On March 28th, my university held an annual Etiquette Banquet, which discussed the proper table etiquette for future business meetings and interviews. The theme of the banquet was How to Meet, Eat & Compete in Business, which pretty much sums up my college career. This is my first time attending this type of event and I must say I do not regret it. As a business student, I meet with a lot of people, whether it's a simple networking event or an interview for a job. And while I know how to act professionally in a office setting, I barely know anything about dining etiquette. So when I received an email from Career Development about this opportunity I made sure to sign up! 

Milana Yemelyanova

Our Career Development Department along with Campus Activities, Student Government Association, and Student Programming Board invited a host-speaker Karen Thomas, who is one of the best etiquette coaches in Connecticut. Did I mention we also got delicious food to practice our new skills? They provided us with a three course meal, which included a salad, entrée, and a dessert.

During her presentation, Karen mentioned that she is a wife, mother, and a lab lover. She is a passionate speaker and an author of several books. Once a month, she makes an appearance on Connecticut and Massachusetts TV programming as an etiquette expert and she speaks on Star 99.9 FM, offering etiquette wisdom. If that doesn't make her qualified for this job, I don't know what will. If you don't believe my word, then keep reading! 

First things first

Milana Yemelyanova

What do we do when we get to the restaurant? That's right, we sit down. So, what's the first thing you should do after getting all comfortable? That might not be obvious for some people, but you should pick up the napkin form the table, fold it, and place it on your lap before you even start ordering drinks. Fancy restaurants may even offer two different types of napkins - black and white. Even though it is up to your personal preference which napkin to choose, there's actually a reason behind it: if you're wearing a white dress/pants, you should probably go for a lighter napkin to avoid potential lint from a black napkin, and vise versa. Who would have guessed?!

I see 18 items on the table...What do I do?

The main rule when it comes to utensils is to go from the outside in, so your salad fork will be the furthest from the plate and the smallest. When you're sitting at a roundtable, it is really easy to get confused who's bread is where and which glass is yours. Karen has a great way of memorizing the proper position: BMW. 'B' stands for 'bread', which is always located to the left; 'M' stands for 'meal', it's the main plate that sits right in front of you, and 'W' stands for 'water', grab the first glass to your right and you'll never end up in the awkward situation of stealing your neighbor's drink.

#SpoonTip: Once you're done with your meal, place your knife and fork at 10:20 o'clock position. You may ask, who cares how I place my utensils? Well, this position lets your waiter know that you're done with your meal. On the other hand, if you put your utensils in a pyramid position, the waiter will get a clue that you're still working on whatever you have on your plate.

It's food time, baby!

Milana Yemelyanova

I want to start with soup etiquette because it blew my mind the most. When you eat soup, you should scoop away from yourself for it to cool down quicker and any excess liquid to drip back into the bowl, so that your clothes stay soup-stain free! Isn't it genius?! And while we are on the topic of messy, for your own sake, do not order "trouble foods": spaghetti, burgers, finger food, or anything with a lot of sauce. My personal addition to this rule is to limit garlic or onion intake; if it's an interview, you will be talking a lot, so you definitely want your breath to smell as fresh as possible.

Milana Yemelyanova

I know, you've been asking yourself this whole time, "why are forks on the left? I am right handed, how am I supposed to eat?!" There are two ways to hold your utensils correctly, depending on the culture you are eating in: American and Continental (European). In both styles, you hold your fork in your left hand and knife in your right. In European style, the fork tines always face downward, while in the American style, tines are curved downward only when you cut, and face upwards when you bring your food to your mouth. Also in American style, you cut food by holding the fork in your left hand and then transfer it to your right to take a bite. 

#SpoonTip: Once you start eating, your utensils should never touch the table. Make sure they are always resting on your plate. 


There's a huge variety of glassware for different types of drinks. Large bowl glasses for nonalcoholic beverages, medium-size bowls for sparkling or red wine, tulip-shaped bowl for champagne, etc. We discussed proper ways to hold white and red wine glasses. White wine is always served cooled, so you should always hold it by the stem. However, if you're served red wine there's a debate on how to hold it properly. Some argue that because red wine is served at a room temperature, you should hold the bottom of the bowl itself, in order for your hands to keep the drink warm. While others argue that you still have to hold in by the stem. When in doubt, just hold them stem, it's safer. The glassware for white wine is noticeably smaller; the bowl for the red wine glass is always bigger. 

#SpoonTip: Do not order alcoholic beverages if you're doing an interview. Even if your interviewer does, don't fall for it. He/she already has the job and you're still trying to get in. 

And the highlight of the evening...GIANT SPOON!

Milana Yemelyanova

You bet I was holding onto this spoon for dear life! Honestly, this giant spoon made my whole day. It made me really think about what I have accomplished with Spoon University and portrayed my growth from a tiny tablespoon to this giant creature. 

Table etiquette requires a lot of steps and rules, so no one is naturally good at it. Practice is all it takes. If you have a chance to attend at least one etiquette banquet, do not miss out on that opportunity. This will definitely impress your boss and leave a great impression on a client. Proper eating brings desirable business results.