CT Etiquette – Karen Thomas

Remember that scene in Pretty Woman? The one where Julia Roberts’ character is taught which fork to use, and how to behave properly, for the upcoming business meal she’s to attend with Edward?  Us too! So when Karen Thomas, LC’s very own etiquette coach, and expert, asked if we’d like to join her for her Dining Debonair class, we said yes please…and thank you. We didn’t curtsy, but we thought about it.

We thought we knew everything there was to know about dining etiquette (thanks to Pretty Woman, and thanks to both having good parents), but we actually learned a bunch! Enjoy the video and then join us below for your bullet points.

When you’re dining at home alone, go ahead – lick the bowl, talk with your mouth full and put your elbows on the table. As soon as you have “company” – follow some of the simple rules we learned, to remain in the civilized club.

  • Finger food – if it’s in a sauce, it isn’t finger food.
  • Bread – break a piece off, butter it, eat it. Repeat. Don’t butter the whole roll. We can get behind that rule; sounds like better butter distribution anyway. Same for oil.
  • Do not share appetizers or entrees. You can share dessert (this one probably applies more to a business meeting; at home or with your friends, we believe in “sharing is caring”)!
  • Salt and pepper – always pass them together – consider them married.
  • European and American style of eating (demonstrated in the video) – either one is fine. Cut a piece of whatever, eat, repeat. Don’t cut the entire meal up in one go, you’re not feeding a toddler.
  • Knife and fork – rest them on your plate between bites, never on the table.
  • Don’t start until everyone is served their dish. The onus is on the person who is waiting to say, please begin.
  • Things that should NOT happen at the table – lipstick application, cell phone usage, tooth-picking, hair-brushing or nose-touching (I’m quite sure this list could be endless, but those are the basics).

Karen is about as far as you can get from that stuffy hotel manager in Pretty Woman. She made us feel very at ease during our session and we had great fun with her. As well as Dining Etiquette, Karen offers other workshops – Dress for Business Success, Entering the Workforce Etiquette, Technical Etiquette, and Social Etiquette.

A huge thank you to West Street Grill in Litchfield. Look out for our post next week – all about the unbelievably delicious food and primo service we experienced during our coaching session!


Karen Thomas – www.ctetiquette.com (860) 387-1282

Karen teaches at 10+ colleges across the state of Connecticut, preparing graduates for entrance into corporate America. Certified as an etiquette/civility coach, trained in business etiquette, corporate leadership and educational advancement for youth.

Article by Beverley Canepari, video by Dan Fish, photos by Lora Warnick and Dan Fish.