Did You Know #8?


Your Knife and Fork – Resting and Finished Positions

When you are done with a meal, your knife and fork should be placed side by side, across your plate in the 10 o’clock and 4 o’clock position. This is called the finished position and allows wait staff to know that you are done with your meal and they can remove your plate.

If you wish to rest between bites to talk, use your napkin, take a drink or just digest and enjoy the conversation, the same across the plate position is used, but the knife and fork are not side by side. They are further apart and slightly higher on your plate. This is called the resting position.

Both of the above guidelines are for the American or Zigzag style of dining, used only by Americans and Canadians. The European or Continental style of holding your utensils is used by nearly the rest of the knife-and-fork-using-world. It calls for the knife in your right hand and fork in your left, wrists resting on the table between bites. The finished position for Continental style is the same as American style, except the tines of the fork face down. The resting position has the fork facing 2 o’clock and handle at 8 with the tines pointing down, while the tip of the knife faces 10 o’clock and handle 4. The knife and fork cross over each other.

Mind Your Manners,


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