Today: Feb 25, 2024

How to dine to impress

Shaunna Cullen, Staff Writer:
Never purchase the most expensive item on the menu, stay away from messy foods and avoid religious or political topics at the dinner table. These are just a couple tips Danny Dawkins gave to students during “How to Dine.”
Dawkins has a culinary degree and has taught the “How to Dine” event for six years.
Dawkins broke down the basics of dining, as well as how one should handle themselves during a business interview that involves food.
“It’s not only about your qualifications, it’s how you present yourself,” said Dawkins.
“Conservative” was a word Dawkins emphasized while explaining the best way to dress for a dinner or lunch interview.
Men should wear a white or blue long-sleeved shirt with a plain undershirt, along with a silk conservative tie, and a dark two piece suit or blazer, said Dawkins.
Women, said Dawkins, should wear a white or ivory blouse with a dark jacket, nylons and conservative dress shoes.
There are three different types of dining styles, said Dawkins. American dining, which is typically one course, European or Continental dining which is more formal and at least three courses, and Russian dining which is the most formal at four or more courses, said Dawkins.
Showing up early to the restaurant for the interview is very important, said Dawkins, and make sure cells phones are off.
“I don’t mean put it on vibrate, turn it off,” he said.
During the meal, follow the host’s lead, wait for everyone’s plate to be on the table before eating, and take small bites to be able to maintain conversation, said Dawkins.
If the host picks a restaurant that is unfamiliar, said Dawkins, call ahead to get the menu or go to the restaurant and try to find a favorable dish before the interview.
For sophomore philosophy major Amanda Schneider, finding foods she likes is a bit of a challenge.
“The texture of [certain] foods doesn’t agree with my mouth,” she said.
Dawkins explained how to rest a knife or a fork to signify to the wait staff if they can take the plate away. The rest position is when the knife and the fork are placed at the top of the plate. The finished position is when the knife and fork are placed in the 5 o’clock position on the plate.
Dawkins also tackled the topic of alcohol during a business interview.
Dawkins said to drink in moderation, avoid exotic cocktails, always eat food with the drink, and only order an alcoholic beverage if the host does so first.
When ordering wine, ask the host if they have a preference for red or white wine. To know if the wine is good or not, see how much of it has soaked into the cork. If there is a lot of seepage, asking for a new bottle is acceptable, said Dawkins.
After the meal, always be sure to thank the host. Send a handwritten thank you letter, not an e-mail, said Dawkins.
Christian Carrion, a sophomore journalism major, said he could understand why having good etiquette is so important.
“I think having good etiquette during an interview luncheon gives your prospective employers a glimpse into how you interact in a professional setting, as well as what they can expect from you in terms of manners and business etiquette if they were to hire you,” said Carrion.

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