top of page


I have received a lot of emails with questions about table etiquette. This makes me very happy, because it demonstrates your interest on this matter. I encourage you to keep sending, I will answer you with the greatest pleasure. 

Then, I selected some to clarify, in this post.


1) How to remove unwanted food from your mouth?  


Food is removed from the mouth in the manner in which it is put into the mouth. Food put into the mouth with a utensil is removed with a utensil. When fingers are used to eat food, the pit or bone is removed with fingers.


2) How to leave the table to go to the restroom?


Simply say "excuse me, please; I'll be right back”. Leaving without a word is rude.


3) How to cut the food?


Cut your food into only one or two bite-sized pieces at a time. Never cut the entire piece of meat, for example.


4) How to hold a wineglass?


White wine glasses are held by the stem, not the bowl. Red wine glasses may be held by the bowl. By the way, I’m preparing a special post about wine etiquette. ;)


5) What to do when there is something caught in your teeth? 


When food is caught between the teeth that is annoying or uncomfortable, wait to remove it privately. Politely leave the table and go to the restroom.


6) How to proceed when sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose?


When sneezing or coughing at the table is unavoidable, always cover your nose or mouth with a napkin and proceed as quietly as possible. Except in an emergency, don't use a napkin to blow your nose. Politely, leave the table and use a handkerchief instead.


7) How to eat finger food?


When finger food is taken from a tray, place it on a plate. Don't lick your fingers; use a napkin.

When in doubt about whether to use fingers or a utensil to eat a particular food, watch those about you and proceed accordingly. If you're still in doubt, use a utensil, usually a fork.


8) How to proceed in a restaurant buffet?


When you are dining at a restaurant buffet, never go back to the buffet for a refill with a dirty plate. Leave it for the waitperson to pick up and start afresh with a clean plate.


9) What is Sorbet?


Sorbet. At some formal dinners, sorbet will be served after the first course or after the entrée. This is not dessert. It is a palate cleanser. Eat it before eating the next course.


10) What to do when you come across a soiled utensils?


If you are in a private residence, rather than embarrass the hostess by wiping a soiled utensil clean, suffer in silence. But in a restaurant, if a soiled utensil is laid on the table, ask the waiter for a clean one.

bottom of page