I attended a Lunch Etiquette 101 hosted by Cynthia Pace to learn the ABCs of table manners. I also wanted to familiarize myself with the dos and don’ts of dining and improve my social skills. During a beautiful two-hour five-course lunch, Cynthia covered a lot of ground. Around 30 other diners and I learned the basics of fine dining etiquette applicable to 5 separate lunch courses.
-how to place your napkin
-how to approach and sit in your chair
-navigating place settings and using utensils for five courses
-rules for eating bread and buttering it
-appropriate behavior at the table
-dealing with unwanted food
-how to pass food
-how to (or not to) share food
-basics on giving a toast
-much, much more
It’s amazing how much she packed into two hours. Most of us learned a lot, and we all left feeling more sophisticated and cultured. The two-hour class was friendly, fun, relaxed, and interactive. There were questions, hands-on practice, a PowerPoint presentation, and applicable music. The event really was flawless, and she made it so much fun!! Who would have thought this was possible with such boring subject matter?
I think I speak for everyone when I say that I was very very impressed. The event was fun and relaxed, while being informative with lots of etiquette takeaways. Today’s etiquette is still complicated, but it's more modern and relaxed than it used to be. Making people around you feel at ease and respecting the personal space of people around you is the key. I liked the practice with the group interaction. We all chatted as we practiced with our dining table mates.
She even passed out fancy cookies with one of her quotes on it: “A bad mood is no excuse for bad manners." They looked too good to eat, but someone had to do it. They tasted as delicious as they looked.
She left us with her top five etiquette tips:
1. Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you take your first sip of anything; that signals the beginning of your meal. Place your napkin on your chair if you’re leaving the table and planning to return. When you're finished your meal, place your napkin neatly to the side of your plate or bowl; this signals that you’re finished your meal.
2. Never reach across the table for something. Ask someone politely to pass it to you.
3. Avoid using utensils and cutlery as instruments to point at things or people. And once a utensil is used, it should never touch the table again.
4. Keep your mouth closed when chewing. Avoid making noises like slurping, clinking your glass or cup, or talking with your mouth full.
5. Do not blow on your soup or food, and don’t play with your food. Allow foods and liquids to cool down first. Leave food where it is, unless you plan to eat it.
If you’d like to level up professionally, clean up your image, present a more polished version of yourself socially, or are into self-improvement, but seek out fun while learning, contact Cynthia Pace. We had so many unexpected laughs while learning a lot. Many teachers could take something from her approach. Of course her inner and outer beauty doesn’t hurt nor does her kindness.
It was a superb and informative learning experience! Apparently, it can take years to learn all the etiquette, and it's impossible to learn everything during a two-hour lunch. Cynthia also teaches in one-on-one private lessons, small private group events, and intimate dinner parties. As well as etiquette for children, youth, professionals, and varying levels of high formal etiquette
You can contact Cynthia at her website. She's also on Facebook, Instagram and AboutMe.