Avoid These Bread-Eating Faux Pas At Your Next Fancy Dinner Party

Empty wine glasses and bread basket
Empty wine glasses and bread basket - Kekykela/Shutterstock

One of the most rewarding perks of fine dining is the free-flowing, plentiful bread basket. Enjoying a warm and buttered bread roll while you wait for the main course not only keeps your hunger at bay but also serves as a delicious and satisfying pre-dinner snack. However, you may be focused too much on the bread and not enough on the proper etiquette associated with sharing a communal bread basket. Luckily, etiquette coach Nikesha Tannehill Tyson, owner and operator of The Swann School of Protocol in Shreveport, Louisiana, shares some necessary pointers to keep in mind when dining on this popular pre-dinner fare.

Common sense will tell you that there are several things you should never do at a fancy restaurant. Beyond avoiding the obvious like using your phone at the table and chewing with your mouth full, knowing how and where to pass the elusive bread basket is essential. According to Tyson, "When there is a bread basket, it is the role of the host or person closest to the basket to pass the bread to the right." If you're the first person to handle your table's bread basket, as a common courtesy, first offer bread to the person sitting on your left. Then, once you've taken some bread, pass the basket to your right. Next to assuring that all table guests receive their fair share of this complementary snack, avoid using your primary plate as the designated bread holder.

Read more: The 18 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Sliced Breads You Can Buy

How To Find Your Bread Plate At A Crowded Dinner Table

Overview of a fancy table setting
Overview of a fancy table setting - Tomazl/Getty Images

Once you learn how bread plates are typically set, accidentally using your neighbor's salad plate to house your second bread roll is easily avoidable. Fine dining mentor Nikesha Tannehill Tyson confirms how easy it is to accidentally mistake someone else's plate for your own. "The biggest mistake to avoid at a dinner party is not knowing which bread plate is yours or the proper placement of the bread plate."

Fortunately, Tyson is an expert on the subject of fine dining. The Louisiana-based coach offers virtual courses, one-on-one coaching, and classes to anyone hoping to refine their etiquette skills. Thankfully, she divulges to Daily Meal that "the bread plate is always to the left of the place setting, above the forks." Bread plates are significantly smaller in comparison to dinner plates. Also, most refined place settings in upscale restaurants include butter knives placed across bread plates for easy access.

Upon arriving at the table, as you settle into your seat, take a minute or two to scan the table setting so you know exactly where to place your individual helping of warm and fluffy Parker House rolls. Now that you know how to effectively locate your bread plate and pass the favored bread basket around the table, you're ready to follow proper eating etiquette.

More Manners Worth Following At Fancy Dinner Parties

Buttered bread slices on a white plate
Buttered bread slices on a white plate - Gerenme/Getty Images

Once the designated bread has made it to your bread plate, you're not completely in the clear. To avoid looking rude to friends and family, there are certain manners you should uphold when it comes to eating. If you've been cutting into bread rolls and taking bites out of whole pieces, you need to change your protocol. Instead, break off individual bread pieces and eat them one at a time. To avoid the fine dining rule you've probably broken before, scoop out a portion of butter and place it on your bread plate for easy spreading. When you want to add butter to your bread, apply some on each individual torn section before eating. Aim to do this directly on your plate versus buttering bread in your hands.

In the world of fine dining, etiquette coach Nikesha Tannehill Tyson advises everyone to "practice at home" to fully absorb the recommended manners. If you want additional reminders, Tyson's book, "Going Public," is full of helpful advice you can turn to anytime you need a refresher on fine dining protocol. After all, Tyson states, "You don't want to compromise your brand by displaying poor dining etiquette and table manners." By utilizing Nikesha Tannehill Tyson's advice, you're well on your way to enjoying complimentary bread at both fancy dinner parties and restaurants with grace and style.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.