Mind your manners by Mandy L.

25 09 2008

Ever since I can remember, my grandmother has made numerous accounts of how a child should be able to adapt to good manners and table etiquette, so as to carry forth into adulthood. As much as my cousins and I had been driven crazy by her perseverance, it is these microscopic lessons, that now become pivotal in executing a sense of class. An attractive napkin fold, a traditional utensil setting, or even the do’s and dont’s of bodily functions and habits at the dinner table.

In school, culinary students learn various cooking techniques and appealing presentations. They know that typically people eat with their eyes first. It is up to them to set the tone for a true dining experience. But I’ve noticed that perhaps with all this focused concentration, somehow personal habits are cast aside before we sit down to eat. And for that matter, one may construct a dish that is colorful and voluminous, but would you have it served on a surface of disarray? I would think that bad manners and table settings,is a default in what the cook worked so hard to make memorable in the beholder of the eye and palate.

Although my concern may come across somewhat snobbish, it isn’t my intention. I simply believe that most outside opinions can be drawn by how one carries themselves in front of others, not just your craftmanship. I consider myself to be visually stimulated by most of the five senses one inherits at birth. It is crucial to me, as I’m sure to others, that dining out should be pleasurable not forgettable.

I think everyone would benefit from this, and more over, a bit of culture. Recently I had the undesired privilege of witnessing some modern day archeology of the nasal passage and ear canal at a local cafe. The evidence had been discarded by wiping it upon the tablecloth and napkin, followed by a masking of irrefutable burping. This was an appetite suppressant to say the least. Maybe habits are formed by the way one is raised, or good manners were implimented but the person is careless and lazy, and simply doesn’t give a hoot.

Whether you were raised in a barn, or the Four Seasons hotel, you should carry some core lessons with you to succeed as a respectable chef.

Anyone who has spent time with me in the kitchen, knows how detail oriented I can be. It seems like the older I get the more I strive to gain success in the way my outcome will be in this industry. I truly would like to see my peers have the same as well. Maybe when you are younger the little things seem to be trivial, but actually it is that in which only improves personal and professional ethics.

It is said that cleanliness is next to godliness. But to dine amongst grace and elegance is perfection.

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