Case Study – Dining Skills fit for a State Banquet
I was recently contacted by a charming young lady from Qatar requesting that I ‘polish her dining skills before it was too late’. I was intrigued…
My client had arrived in the UK in 2016 to study for a few months and, as often happens, is still living here. London often has that effect on people!
Deema* had fallen in love with the city and our culture, but she was becoming increasingly concerned when dining out with her new English friends.
She knew there were differences but she could not quite see what they were, hence why she decided to contact me.
Over a three-course luncheon in one of London’s finest restaurants, I slowly coached her through every element of the meal, beginning with who should walk to the table first and where they should sit, to where to place her handbag and what to do with her hands when she was not eating.
We chose the meal together and she learned how to signal to the waiting staff discreetly and elegantly, as well as how to eat awkward food and what to do when she makes a mistake (which, by the way, we all do from time to time).
There were many surprises for her, such as how we should correctly eat bread (not by cutting and covering it all in butter), and that the host must always be the last person to finish.
She practiced handling her flatware correctly, including resting in between each bite and not holding her knife like a pen (a common mistake!).
Her biggest challenge was maintaining her posture whilst dining and I assured her that this just comes with practice, although good core strength is also a great help. Who knew that attending pilates classes can help with your dining etiquette skills!
At the end of the meal Deema confided in me that she was attending a job interview a few days, later and it was to be held over luncheon. Now I understood what she meant when she had said ‘before it is too late’!
She felt much more relaxed and confident after our coaching session, and I am pleased to to say that Deema performed so well during the interview that she was offered the position a week later.
For more information on the British Dining Etiquette course please click here.
*Names have been changed so as to protect my client’s privacy