Table manners for your holiday party, Gentlemen only ! (video & podcast)

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Today Umbert helps his friend Georges coming from Cape Town in South Africa. 

Georges needs an update about the table manners for the holiday party.

A very fun moment for both of us, cause they will do role play.


Benefits of this coaching :

  • Best methodology to become irresistible
  • Innovative technique to unleash your charisma
  • Learn the new etiquette & manners
  • A better lifestyle


« If you do not know good manners, pray for good reflexes … », Billy Crystal, American Actor

Si vous ne connaissez pas les bonnes manières, priez pour avoir de bons réflexes…“, Billy Crystal, Acteur Américain


In this article :

1) Going to the table

2) At the table

3) Table service

4) The toast

5) How to eat some dishes


1) Going to the table

About 1 hour after the beginning of the aperitif it is time to sit down at the table.

Here is the timeline :

  1. The host gets up and offers the guests to sit down at the table. He does not hurry the guests who have the courtesy not to hang out too much.
  2. He places the guests or the guests look for the place cards. Do not change the order.
  3. The men help their neighbors to sit down behind the chair and back to the table once the woman sits.
  4. Men sit after women.

If a woman gets up during the meal, all the men get up too (optional, this for a very formal dinner).

If a new guest arrives late, the men get up, the women do not (optional, this for a very formal dinner).

If a woman arrives late at the table, the men stay up until she sits (optional, this for a very formal dinner).

Never forget that you aren’t the host who should handle the party.

Do not take any initiative (turn down the lights, install the guests, go to the kitchen) without asking permission.

2) At the table

Attention: The good education is judged now …

If you hesitate, look and imitate the other guests or the host.

Only sit down after the host.

Do not stick to the table. Stay 50 cm away.

Stand upright without leaning against the chair.

Put your hands on the table.

Do not put your belongings on the table.

It is very impolite to take medicines at the table.

Carefully unfold the towel and put it on your knees. Never put it in the collar. If it is very large, keep it folded in half on your knees.

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Take the piece that is in front of you when you are presented with a dish. Think about testing a bit of everything.

Wait for the house host to start eating.

Use cutlery in order: from the outside to the inside.

The cutlery must be held so that the fingers touch only the handle: a few centimeters above the blade of the knife or the fork. Do not gesticulate with the cutlery while talking.

Never eat with your elbows on the table. If you prick red meat with your right hand, do not put your left elbow on the table. The elbows must remain stuck to the body. Even to cut the meat.

To push the food in your plate: in France use bread, in England the knife.

Do not lean towards your plate. Raise the fork or spoon to the mouth while standing upright.

Do not bite into the bread. Delicately cut eat with your fingers if it is not already cut.

Eat without noise. If a soup is served, do not vacuum it or blow on it if it is too hot. Wait a few seconds for it to cool down.

Your mouth must be shut when eating.

Never lick your knife.

Never eat the sauce with bread. Exception: if the host prides you the sauce and invites you to taste it, then yes. In this case sauce by putting a piece of bread at the end of your fork. Never with your fingers.

If you want the salt and pepper, or whatever, ask your neighbor. You never reach out to someone.

The glasses are placed in order.

Remember to serve wine or water to your female neighbors.

Wipe your mouth gently before drinking and after drinking. Do not lift your little finger to drink.

If you do not want wine, gently touch the glass with 2 fingers, expressing your refusal.

If you need to lay your cutlery while you are eating a dish, put them on the inverted V in your plate (/ \); the handle should never touch the table, cutlery are almost entirely on the plate.

It is polite to finish your plate, it shows that you’ve really appreciate the dinner.

Do not spread your leftovers on the plate.

At the end of a dish, place the cutlery next to each other at “quarter past four” and not “quarter past nine.” The fork teeth in the air.

At the end of the meal, put your towel lightly on the left of the plate. Exception: if you stay with at someone’s, either fold it or get a towel ring.

The house host gets up first.

3) Table service

All dishes are presented on the left.

The wines are presented on the right.

The plate and cutlery are removed from the left. They are replaced (if possible at the same time) by the right.

Never serve by stacking plates or, worse, dragging leftovers.

Only the salad can be served on the same plate as the main course. The ideal is to provide another plate for this purpose that you will place on the left of the large plate.

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The service without butler:

  1. Serve first the lady sitting to the right of the master of the house.
  2. Then the one to his left.
  3. Then opposite, the one sitting to the right of the hostess.
  4. Then the one on the left.
  5. Then the 2nd in the same order, etc …
  6. The host is served last.
  7. For men, same principle from the one to the right of the hostess then left …
  8. The last served is the master of the house.

For a meal with friends: the first woman served passes to her neighbor on the right, who will serve his female neighbor, or,  if the host ask, will serve himself before.

Option: The host serves the guests who tend their plates.

4) The toast

If you are toasted, you must answer it.

  1. Raise your glass, no higher than the chin, holding it by the foot.
  2. Toast yourself by taking a sip.
  3. Finally, look the person in front of you in the eyes and make a kind head sign.
  4. A toast is never done with a glass of water, even if you do not drink alcohol.
  5. It is elegant not to address only the one who initiated the toast, but also to your neighbors on the right and left, with the glass, eyes and smile, without necessarily drinking.

5) How to eat some dishes

For the dishes bellow, you can read the article on the blog.:

  1. Soup
  2. Asparagus
  3. Artichoke
  4. Salad
  5. Caviar
  6. Oysters
  7. Mussels
  8. Lobsters
  9. Sushis
  10. Foie gras
  11. Escargots
  12. Omelet
  13. Spaghetti
  14. Fishes 
  15. Poultries
  16. Sandwiches
  17. Tacos 
  18. French fries
  19. Cheese
  20. Fruit pies
  21. Chocolate cake
  22. Orange
  23. Pear/apple
  24. Ice-cream


Umbert and Georges had so much fun playing table manners for their holiday party.

The gentlemen will impress the other guests for sure, especially the ladies.

What you must remember : tables manners seem to be very complicated, but they are not when assimilated. The best is to role play with a friend. If you you feel trapped in a dinner party, just imitate the others discreetly.

How to become irresistible ? Download now the free eBook, chapter Behave (only available this month).

Bon voyage !

Umbert De Paris

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