Georgian College students seat, eat and learn
February 15, 2013

Where do I place my napkin? Which fork is for my salad and which one should I use for the main dish? These are the types of questions Georgian students are tackling as they hone their fine dining etiquette skills in a course at the Barrie Campus titled Professional Business Practices.

The students are mastering the art of both setting up a dining table and eating in a formal setting. As part of the experience, they’re videotaping themselves so they can reflect on how to improve.

table setting

This video snapshot captures students practising their formal dining skills.

“It’s one of those assignments that is as equally fun as it is a learning opportunity,” says instructor Cynthia Riley. “By playing back their practice sessions, students can see for themselves what they need to work on and where they excel.”

Here are a few fine dining etiquette tips Riley says everyone should know:

  1. As soon as you sit down at the table, take the napkin and unfold it. Place the napkin on your lap. It should remain on your lap for the entire meal.
  2. Wait until everyone at your table has received their meal before you start eating.
  3. Eat to your left and drink to your right. The bread and butter dish on the left is yours. The water and wine glasses are on your right are yours as well.
  4. Start using cutlery from the outside in. Once your cutlery has been used, it must not touch the table again. Place all cutlery on the side of your plate.
  5. To signal that you’re finished, place your fork (tines up) and knife diagonally on your plate. Keep the handles at the five o’clock position.

For more dining etiquette tips, email

Posted Feb. 15, 2013