Tips & Trends
*Corporate – December 21, 2010
Dining Decorum: Four Seasons Experts Share Insight into Meal-Time Customs Around the World. To slurp or not to slurp?
Dining in another country? Don’t sit down at the table just yet. Different cultures embrace specific table manners, making the norm in one nation a faux pas in another. Becoming familiar with these distinct etiquette rules before brunching in New York or slurping ramen noodles in Tokyo is a cinch: just venture down to a Four Seasons hotel or resort lobby.
The company’s concierges and waitstaff are always ready to serve as decorum diplomats by providing insight into their home cities’ local customs. See below for some of their top tips for being a knowledgeable and gracious dining companion almost anywhere in the world.
Amman: “Upon arrival
at a restaurant, be sure to acknowledge your entire party and introduce
yourself to those you do not know. Shake hands but do not be forceful. If
the other person’s hand is placed on his or her chest, move on; it means
they will not shake your hand due to gender.” Waseem Sakas,
Asia manager, Four Seasons Hotel Amman
Beirut: “You may be invited several times during dinner to add more food to your plate by the host. This is not a sign of aggression, but rather a sign that they care and are concerned that you have not eaten enough.” Pierre Freige, The Grill Room manager, Four Seasons Hotel Beirut
Damascus: “If you are formally invited to a meal, do not propose to pay as this is considered rude. If you are the host, try to pay very discreetly and never query the restaurant about the bill in front of your guests.” Tawfik Ellias, Il Circo manager, Four Seasons Hotel Damascus
New York: “Do not pile plates after you have finished a course – this can actually cause an issue for servers rather than providing assistance. They are more likely to have an accident if the plates are piled off balance.” Lacey Rozinsky, The Garden Restaurant sommelier and maitre d’, Four Seasons Hotel New York
Paris: “In France, the cheese course should never be ordered as a starter or dessert. Instead, it should be enjoyed between the meal and dessert with a glass of wine. Proper tasting should begin with the lightest selection (typically a goat cheese) and end with a stronger one such as a blue cheese.” Thierry Hamon, chef sommelier, Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris
Tokyo: “Slurping your noodles at the table is not considered rude, but rather shows that you have enjoyed your meal, especially to an older generation of chefs.” Kaye Tanioka, concierge, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi
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