Styles of Table Service


The meal is usually composed of three courses: ‡ appetizers (which may further be split into cold appetizers followed by hot appetizers) ‡ main course ‡ dessert. (Coffee and tea are served simultaneously) There is no soup course.


Appetizers A proper holiday table must be overflowing with all kinds of appetizers -- salads, galatins, pies, pickled vegetables and mushrooms, cold cuts, cheeses, caviar, vegetable spreads and smoked fish Main Course The main course usually consists of a hearty meat or poultry dish with a side dish of some kind of potatoes or grains. *Pasta, which historically has been of very poor quality in Russia, is considered vulgar food and is not usually seen at the traditional holiday table. Dessert The holiday dessert course consists of a torte and a variety of fruit preserves (particularly if the majority of guests elect to have tea, rather than coffee). **It is generally considered bad taste to consume different alcohols in the course of a single meal (except for sweet liquors at the end).**  

Dining Etiquette 

If you are invited to a Russian's house: . Arrive on time or no more than 15 minutes later than invited. . Remove your outdoor shoes. You may be given slippers to wear. . Dress in clothes you might wear to the office. Dressing well shows respect for your hosts. . Expect to be treated with honor and respect. . Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. This may be turned down out of politeness. Asking 'are you sure?' allows the hostess to accept your offer. 

Table manners are generally casual. . Table manners are Continental -- the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. . The oldest or most honored guest is served first. . Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start. . Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should be visible at all times. . You will often be urged to take second helpings. . It is polite to use bread to soak up gravy or sauce. . Men pour drinks for women seated next to them. . Leaving a small amount of food on your plate indicates that your hosts have provided ample hospitality. . Do not get up until you are invited to leave the table. At formal dinners, the guest of honor is the first to get up from the table.

English table service may be an informal, hospitable type of service or it may be very formal. The main characteristic of English service is that all courses are served at the table by the host or hostess. The service may be done with or without a maid

1. All the food is served from the table by the host and hostess, who give their personal attention to the needs of their guests. 2. The host serves the meat and vegetables while the hostess usually serves the appetizer, the salad, the dessert and the beverage. 3. The waitress is still needed to place the plates for the guests and to pass the accompaniments of the course. She stands at the left of the one doing the serving. 4. One course at a time is served. One course is removed before the next course is brought in. 5. The plates may be placed one at a time or they may be placed in a pile at the host's left where he may fill them. 6. The host serves the first portion and the waiter takes a plate and places it before the one serving. 7. After the host has served the hostess and one side of the table, the hostess may start serving those who have received their plates on her right. 8. Desserts appropriate for this type of service are molded gelatine or ice cream.

American [Country Style]
American Service is one of the oldest forms of meal service. Dinner plates and utensils arc set at each place and all serving dishes are placed on the table. Serving dishes are passed from hand to hand around the table until everyone has served himself. -It is a command service style which most guests and banquet operations are familiar with.

In this style:
The meals are plated in the kitchen and served in course in the dining room. Often, the salad and/or dessert will be pre-set, along with ice water. As each course is finished, the waiter will remove the guest¶s plate along with the eating utensils that was used any side items. With salad course you should remove the dressing and salad fork. With the entrée you should remove entrée folk, knife, the breadbasket, the butter and the B & B plate, salt and pepper shakers. By the time dessert is served, there should only be a utensil for the dessert, a spoon for coffee, coffee cup and ice water. Generally, this style requires serving from the left and picking up from the right (Some operations serve from the right and pick up from the right).

Table Service
A complete Chinese dinner service for ten persons consists of 148 pieces. This may be either of porcelain or silver, the latter being used only by wealthy families, while the porcelain is perhaps the more serviceable.


Porcelain produced in Kiangsi Pro-vince is the best, because of the excellent quality of the clay available in the vicinity of PoyangLake where more than a dozen varieties can be found. The porcelain made in Kwangtung Province in exported through the city of Canton known as Canton porcelain. This is, however, a grade inferior in quality to the Kiangsi product. There are two distinct styles of table crockery in use. The new style is thin, shallow and round in shape. The decorations consist generally of Chinese figures, flowers and birds, or landscapes. White on both surfaces is the common type, although the coloured variety is always obtainable. The old style of porcelain is thicker, deeper and usually hex-agonal or octagonal in shape. The outer sur-face is usually dark blue or imperial yellow, and covered with antique Chinese designs, while the inner is generally of light blue colour.



A table decorated with beautifully coloured porcelain dishes and a wellmade set of the above silver articles pre-sents a display at once highly attractive and ornamental.

‡ Tea might correctly be termed the national beverage of China as it is so generally drunk by all classes, and the habit is one of very long standing. It is the Chinese custom even at the present day to welcome a guest with a cup of tea and this is observed by the high and low alike. Good tea is of a clear colour, greenish or red-dish, and has a slightly astringent flavour. The poor quality is very light in colour and bitter in taste. There are an indefinite number of varieties of China tea, with a wide range of prices. According to the method of curing, tea is divided into two main classes, viz:²green and black tea.


‡ ‡

No dinner is complete without wine, which brings joy and drives away depression, and makes the old feel young and the young still more youthful. Taken in moderation, it is undoubtedly an excellent stimulant. In the far north where the climate is cold and kaoliang abundant, Kaoliang wine, which is somewhat stronger than Russian vodka or English gin, is commonly drunk

‡ In Central China a milder drink known as Shaohsing wine²named after its producing centre in Chekiang²is very popular. It is the wine of China. It has another name Hua Tiao ~tfa W meaning flower decoration, because the jars in which the wine is kept usually bear a floral decoration. When a girl is born, it is the com-mon practice for the parents to make several jars of Shaohsing wine, the quantity depending upon the size of their purse, and keep them in a cool and dark room, until their daughter is married, so that on her wedding day, they will have at least some good old wine with which to entertain their guests.

A Buffet Service is a self service serving style where the guests serve themselves.

A great method for feeding large numbers of people with minimal help  Can either be country casual or semiformal  Provides a more relaxed method of dining and a more varied menu than a full service meal 

The entertaining buffet presentation of food can be placed on one or more tables close but away from the tables where the guests will be seated during dinner. The guests will go to the buffet tables and serve themselves from a variety of menu items.  There are hot buffets and cold buffets. Cold buffets are typically salads and sandwiches. Also the backyard barbeque can be a Buffet Service. An entertaining dessert bar can be used for a afternoon gathering of friends.    

The Buffet Service can have a staff where the guests bring their own plate along the buffet line and are given a portion from a server at one or more stations. An advantage of buffets is that guests have the ability to inspect food before selecting it and taking only the quantity needed. Since a buffet involves people serving themselves, it is less elegant than Table Service. Buffet Service is used anytime there are large gatherings, even at many formal wedding receptions.

Tea Service

High Tea  

is much less formal than Afternoon Tea. High Tea is seen almost as a fourth meal, taken after the work day is through, a couple of hours before supper. This consists usually of tea and some sandwiches, and is not a ritual of formality or pomp. High Tea is thought of as more working class

Afternoon Tea  

is the light snack accompanied by pots of fresh brewed tea that happens earlier in the afternoon and is more about the feel and the elegance than High Tea. Afternoon Tea is thought of as something a bit more refined and higher class.

Dishes and Silverware 

Since the menu is conventionally light, use luncheon or salad plates. Place the teacup to the right of the plate with the handle facing right. Silverware placement follows standard place setting rules, with the fork on the left, with a nicely folded napkin, and the spoon and knife placed to the right of the plate. Some hosts place the napkin on the plate or put it in a napkin ring. Put the water glass on the right above the knife.

Other Dishes 

A proper tea service may also include a sugar bowl and a pitcher used to serve milk or cream. Some tea services also include teaspoons and sugar tongs, although this is not common. A Western tea set often includes a tray to hold all the other items in the tea service.

Tea Tips 

Spread teabags on a platter for easy selection. Clearly mark loose tea receptacles. Several pots of hot water eliminate the need to reach across tables. Offer a wide range of flavorings like lemon slices, various sugars, fresh mint leaves and cream.

Aesthetic Touches 

Fresh flowers, place cards, candles and linen tablecloths and napkins add a stylish touch to the table. Avoid heavily scented candles and flowers so the aroma of the tea and food is appreciated. 

Prepare the tea set, serving dishes and silverware. Wash them with liquid dish soap and hand-dry well ahead of handtime using a soft towel to prevent water spots. Place a plate on the table. Fold a cloth napkin into a rectangle or triangle and place it in the center of the plate. Place the teacup on the saucer and position it behind and to the right of the plate, with the handle pointing toward the right.

Place your fork to the left side of the plate. Place a sharp knife on the right side of the plate, with the blade facing in toward the plate. Then place the butter knife next to the sharp knife, blade toward the plate. Finally, place the spoon to the right of the butter knife. Place a small bowl for waste to the left of the place setting for used tea bags and lemons.    

Construct a platter of edible goodies. The presentation of edibles is done on a tiered tray. The tiers are usually three high, and come in courses.   

The first course is usually finger sandwiches. These can be as simple as buttered white bread with cucumber, or as elaborate as thin sliced lamb with chutney on tiny pieces of soda bread. The second course is usually breads. Scones are the popular bread for most English Afternoon Tea parties. The scones can be plain, or flavored. The flavors range from the very sweet to the savory. The final course is usually the dessert course. This will consist of delicate pastries like éclairs, small thumbprint cookies and shortbreads. 

Place your teapot, serving dishes, sugar bowl and creamer in the center of the table, where they will be accessible and can be passed around easily.