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College of Human Ecology

Students, bring your table-manner questions to K-State Etiquette Workshop

Friday, October 26, 2007

MANHATTAN -- A prospective employer takes you out to dinner. What should you choose to drink? To eat? And what's to be done about that carrot on the carpet?

These and other questions will be on the table at an upcoming dining etiquette workshop led by Patrick Pesci, director of the hotel and restaurant management program for Kansas State University's College of Human Ecology. The goal is to prepare students for interviews and business meetings that take place over meals.

"It's a confidence-builder," Pesci said. "The hope is, you leave the session knowing one or two things that you didn't know before."

Pesci has conducted many editions of this workshop, and although he's glad to entertain esoteric questions about, say, escargot tongs, he'd rather that students relearn "the basic things: Don't talk with your mouth full, and pass the bread in the right direction." (That's to the right, at least at the beginning of the meal. Otherwise, pass it toward whomever asked for it.)

The session is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Gold Room of the Derby Dining Center. The cost is $6.75 or one meal exchange with a K-State student meal plan. Reservations must be made by Friday, Nov. 1, by phone, 785-532-6506, or in person at 100 Holtz Hall. Professional business attire is required.

The workshop is perennially popular; Pesci expects about 150 to attend.

He attributes a gradual decline in table manners to the time squeeze in contemporary American households. Fewer families sit down together for a meal, so guidelines on interacting with fellow diners aren't required. "Maybe these things are known, but they're not practiced," Pesci said.

As to what to order: Ask your hosts for recommendations. The answer will clue you in to their notions of acceptable prices and beverages. "Alcohol is always a touchy subject," Pesci said. Keep in mind that this is a professional experience, not a party opportunity.

And that errant carrot? Leave it in peace, Pesci said. Chances are, no one noticed you drop it.

Source: Patrick Pesci, 785-532-2210, patpesci@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Andy Badeker, 785-532-6415, abadeker@k-state.edu

This article was posted on Friday, October 26, 2007, and is filed under Hospitality Management.