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The Art of Table Setting
Published by: Hugo Mechelse
Published on: 06-09-2017 12:37 PM
Pageviews: 904

Table setting is one of the perks for a butler to do. Not only because it is fun, but also because the huge contribution you have to the enjoyment and comfort of the guest.

What looks simple and something everybody can do, in fact needs practice and a lot of traits by the staff. Table setting is executed on a daily basis usually three times a day. But how much time do we spend on this? Many people do not realise the impact a well set table has on the experience of the those sitting at the table.

In my book The Art of Butling, I spend quit a few pages on this topic. Not only as it is fun for me, but also because I think it is very important. There are so many choices to be made. All the options should be discussed with the guests, and in the case of a private butler, with the employers, as every option you have immediately sets the scene for the event. Unconsciously I’m sure everybody already considers option to some extent. For a breakfast table is set differently from a lunch or dinner table.  And  a dinner table for a romantic dinner for two is set differently from a table for a 100+ wedding event.

Only when we have made the choices on colour scheme, decoration, plates, cutlery and glasses, and  when we have decided what napkin fold we are going to use, we can start setting the tables. For a large event I would suggest to make one sample setting so everybody knows what the setting is going to look like. Next step is to divide the tasks among the team. If it is only one table for sure you don’t need this, but you go through the same steps anyway.

In respect to actually setting the tables, because of efficiency and ergonomics, the best sequence is always to start with the tables. If you have more than two tables, try to make logics lines as much as possible. Next comes in the table cloth followed by the plates. The plates allow for making the next level of balanced lines. Only then we can finish up with cutlery and glasses. Round table are more of a challenge than square tables but the basics are the same.

Realise that setting tables takes time. But it is certainly worth it, as it has such a huge impact that the time spend is an investment you must make to please your guests and to create the experience your guests are looking for.

 

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