Lookin' Good at 58

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Changing of the Cutlery

A pet peeve of a waiter is how people do not know what fork or knife to use when eating. Depending on how you are setting your table it always feels like you are constantly replacing a fork or knife that was meant for something else throughout the meal.

For example, let's say where I work we have the small fork on the outside left and the big fork on the inside. On the left of the small fork you have the bread plate with the butter knife. On the right side we just have the one fork usually meant for the main course. If they order soup we just bring the spoon out at the same time.

Now the butter knife is usually not even used because a lot of people just grab the big knife on the right and go for the butter. Or a hot appetizer comes out that really does not need the knife but is meant for the small fork. Most people just go for the big fork right away leaving the small fork for the big entree that follows.

Heaven forbid if you put the steak knife down right away or else they would be using that to butter their bread.

I know the main idea is to change the cutlery once they have ordered and take away any unwanted silver but I tend to do all that before their main course comes out because for sure the utensils they will use will have to be replaced anyway. You wouldn't want the guest to be using a fork or knife smothered in some appetizer served previously to be used for their main course.

A lot of the cutlery we polish every night I am sure at least 20% of it should never have been used. Yes I know I need to take it away at the beginning of the meal. But most of the people now share appetizers so I would have to change the cutlery anyway afterwards. Or they would be asking for extra utensils so they can have their own to share the appetizers. Then the side plates get smothered with stuff other than the bread they are meant for. So you have to bring out extra side plates so they can use them for the starters when they share or bread afterwards.

I am surprised by how many eat out and share everything. It is like a sit down buffet sometimes at the table. Just put the food in the middle and the people pick away at it.

Back in the early days and especially on the ship when it was mandatory to change all the cutlery before the first plate came out it seemed a lot more people knew how to eat and use the right utensil. Fish cutlery, steak knives, and soup spoons, everyone knew what was what. On the ship we had 3 forks on the left, knife, soup spoon then another knife on the outside right.
Outside fork and outside knife - Appetizer
Soup spoon - Soup
Second fork - Salad  ( you do not need a knife for a salad ) If you do you add it.
Main course - you should only have one fork and one knife left.

Oh yes then there is the dessert cutlery on top which I neglected to mention but that is for another time.

If you do not know what to use think of this simple rule.

Start with the outside utensil and work your way in.

Hope this helps!

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