New Mexico State University
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Better mind your manners: Etiquette dinner to teach students how to behave in a formal dining situation

March 5, 2009 by Andi Murphy NMSU Round Up

Minding your manners etiquette dinner (Media Credit: Andi Murphy)

Minding your manners: The etiquette of formal dining (Media Credit: Andi Murphy)

It takes etiquette, grace, politeness and above all, manners, to impress future employers or high-end business executives at the dinner table – not to mention future in-laws.”Mind Your Manners: The Fine Art of Dining Etiquette” is a dinner cooked up to teach students proper dining and socializing skills in a fine-dining situation.

“Good manners will travel with you anywhere in the world,” said presenter and director of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, Janet Green.

Aramark food company, Career Services and the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management are sponsoring the dinner and looking for students to RSVP by April 1 by paying $15 to the latter. The dinner will be on April 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the University Club in the Stan Fulton Athletics Center.

“This exercise is introducing students to social dining,” said Steven Salway, director of Career Services. “This is a very popular event.”

It’s important for students to have manners because employers often schedule dinner and lunch meetings where they will watch prominent employees for any “squirm-age” in that situation, Salway said. Employers don’t want a rude pig working for them, so it’s best to keep elbows off the table.

On April 8, Green will teach students how to handle themselves in social-dining situations. She will discuss everything from how to use the little spoon, where to put the napkin, what non-edibles are and what to do with them, to appropriate conversation.

The dinner will be prepared by Aramark. For starters, students will have a tomato and mozzarella salad and an Italian wedding soup. The main course is a shrimp, vegetable and beef kabob on a bed of rice and a green bean hay stack to compliment. To wash it down is tea, water and grape juice as a wine tutorial. Dessert is a sampler of various sweets.

Since seats are first-come-first-serve, students are encouraged to pay the $15 right away, said Green. Half of the 130 seats available are already filled. If students don’t take up all seats, remaining tickets will be advertised to the public.

Any student from any major can buy a seat for the dinner, said Roseanne Bensley, associate director of Career Services. It’s for improving manners, something mothers stress to children all the time.

The dinners have had a sold-out crowd since the first one was held in 2005, Bensley said. What began as a lecture and presentation, turned into a real dinner for all students to enjoy.

Good manners are a good way to show respect, especially to older people who deserve respect, said Yael Kuchinsky, a Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management major.

“Most people don’t teach it anymore,” said Rylee Hahn, another hotel, restaurant and tourism management major. “It’s proper.”