For most people giving a dinner party for the first time, the task of laying the table with cutlery and glasses can be a daunting venture; but it is not as difficult as it seems.
In todays modern iPhone, iPad, tablet holding world; whether you use table cloths or mats does not really matter. What does matter is that your choice is clean, smooth and spotless; and the cutlery and glasses clean and sparkling. IMPORTANT, do not forget to check that the salt and pepper containers are freshly filled. Don’t fall for the “salt trap” of the hole being blocked.
The starting dish can depend greatly from country to country, but there is a tendency for soup to be the first dish, especially during the winter periods. HOWEVER, if you are serving pate, a pate knife would take the place of the soup spoon.
The soup spoon (Art.240) is placed to the far right (not at the top), the fish knife (Art.140) to the left of the soup spoon, and the menu knife (Art.X10 – main course) is placed to the left of that; always with the blade pointing inwards.
The corresponding forks are placed in the same order on the left of the place cover.
If an entrée fork is used, it is placed between the fish and menu fork.
The spoon and fork for the dessert are placed at the top, the spoon above the fork.
If fruit and cheese are being served, the fruit knife (Art.X50) and fork (Art.X70) are brought to the table at the same time as presenting the fruit and cheese.
The small plate for bread or rolls are placed on the left, while the wine glass and water glass are placed on the right. IMPORTANT Always remember that the water glass is the biggest of the two glasses.
The napkin, if folded can be placed at the centre of place cover; otherwise if a napkin ring is used, on the far right.
Never stack the plates for use for each course. This is often used in Italy and is wrong. It is lazy and allows the plates to get cold.
Do your best to keep the plates, for the hot courses, warm (not burning hot).
As stated above, place settings change from country to country.
For example, if you are serving “Italian”, you might consider laying as follows:
1st Course would probably be a selection of salami and would require using the “fruit” knife and fork.
2nd Course being the unforgettable Pasta, which would require menu fork and spoon (the Italians use just the fork).
For the Main Course and onwards follow the pattern stated above.
It really does not matter about the Cuisine that you are presenting as there is one simple rule to remember.
THE FIRST COURSE CUTLERY IS ALWAYS ON THE EXTREME FAR LEFT AND RIGHT OF THE PLACE COVER.
PLACE THE NEXT COURSE CUTLERY INSIDE THE PREVIOUS, AND CONTINUE INWARDS UNTIL THE MAIN COURSE.