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Dine Like a Diplomat–Eat like a Bird


Last Monday night, we went to the University of Toronto Faculty Club to study table manner and other relative social etiquette. When I got there, the entrance of the Faculty Club jumped into my eyes immediately. It just likes an old castle with greens crawling its wall. Stepping several stairs to the entrance, a vintage pendant lamp was over our heads. Opening the door, a well-dressed gentleman was already waiting there and ushered us to the second floor for our class. Suddenly I felt that I was attending a upper-class dinner.


outlook of the Faculty Club

As an Asian, I have long been confused about how to use the knives, spoons, folks, glasses and napkin gracefully. Thank goodness, I have the chance to learn how to eat and behave myself with good manners. Our instructor Leanne is a very elegant lady dressed in blue suit with a very gentle voice. Listening to her speech made me feel that she was whispering into our ears. This class was a very practical one, we had to follow Leanne’s instruction to go through the whole course of our dinner, practicing how to eat elegantly and communicate appropriately.

Importance of dining etiquette

People will judge you by your table manner, which reflecting your education level or personal cultivation, and the way you treat things in other areas of life. Poor behavior will give others a bad first impression, and you will even lose your job opportunities if you behave wrongly during a dinner.

How to dine properly


Yummy food! If you have not finished, put like this.

  • Do not choose any hard food on the menu, it’s difficult for you to keep etiquette.
  • Remember BMW, the rule to put your food from left to right—bread, meal, water.
  • Do not hold the bread and bite. Break them into bite-size, butter a bite at a time.
  • Do not make noise with your tableware during eating and try to eat everything in a small bite.
  • Keep pace with people at your table, neither too fast nor too slow.
  • Wait until the host starts the dinner, as well as others of your table are well served.
  • Do not fetch food across the table, ask others to pass what you need.
  • If you just leave for a while and come back later, leave your napkin on the chair spine rather than on the table.
  • If you want a rest and have not finished your meal, put the folk over the knife with an angle on your plate.
  • If you finished, just put them together with 12 o’clock direction.

Dining communication

  • Do not call or raise your hand to get the waiter’s attention, use eye contact.
  • Keep your nice attitude to everyone, no matter they are waiters or receptionists.
  • No phones on the table to show respect of the people you dine with.
  • Let the people of your table know when you leave.
  • When somebody gives you his business card, read it carefully.

Oh……..too many things to remember! But frankly speaking, how people can enjoy food as well dine elegantly, I really doubt it. However, now I know the etiquette and will not lose my face for my future dinner with a diplomat.

DLD 2013-11

Group photo after dinner
Photo credit:Chris Bacchus