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Tiana Gullotta

Have you been using a knife and fork wrong?

Have you been using a knife and fork wrong?

With the festive season rapidly approaching it would be a good time to start perfecting your table etiquette.

Surprisingly, new British research has discovered that 40 per cent of people don’t know how to correctly use a knife and fork.

Etiquette expert, Jo Bryant, specialises in table manners and shares the correct ways to hold a knife and fork, when it’s appropriate to use one utensil over another, and finding your way around an elaborate dinner setting.

“When it comes to good table manners and etiquette, it is easy to feel daunted. Whether we are trying new cuisines, curbing bad habits, remembering the basics or managing tricky situations, it can seem like there is a lot to get right,” Jo explained.

“However, the aim of good table etiquette is simply the essence of good manners: to behave with consideration, thought and respect towards fellow diners – as you would expect them to behave towards you.”

Jo revealed the correct way to hold your knife, which involves the index finger resting along the top of the handle. Forks should be held with the tines pointing downwards with your index finger on the handle. Gripping your cutlery with your hands around the centre shows very bad table manners.

Jo shared insight into when to ditch your knife explaining, “You should not cut up your food, then put down your knife and fork, or just a fork.”

The only occasion it is acceptable to eat with a fork is when eating a meal that only requires a single utensil, such as spaghetti.

“In this case, the fork should be held with the tines facing upwards, similar to a spoon,” she continued.

If you feel overwhelmed when it comes to elaborate table settings with different sets of cutlery fear no more. Jo revealed the ins and outs of how to work your way around the table.

The first rule of thumb is that cutlery is used from the outside inwards, entre cutlery is placed on the outside of the table setting while the main utensils are on the inside next to the plate.

If soup is being served as a starter, then the spoon is placed to the right and outside of the main course knife.

Dessert cutlery is usually positioned across the top of the place setting, with the bowl of the spoon pointing to the left and the tines of the fork to the right. This rule is broken in extremely formal circumstances, like a banquet with the Queen, where pudding spoons and forks are placed innermost to the knives and forks.

Side plates go to the left of the forks, usually with a butter knife and napkin.

Wine and water glasses go to the top right of the setting.