Silver Service Etiquette
Silver Service is the art of elegantly serving guests directly at the table from beautifully presented plates and platters, using a service fork and spoon. This method of service is famously associated with fine, formal dining where there is hired help such as a butler or waiter, although modern events usually now opt for serving decorated plated meals.
There are certain rules and etiquette that both servers and diners adhere to in this formal setting.
Here are some serving tips
Check the table to make sure everyone has removed their napkins from their place setting. If they have not done so, you may remove this for them, and place it in their lap. (See napkin section for tips on how to eloquently do this).
Hot Plates should be delivered moments before serving commences to ensure food is placed on a warm plate. As you will be carrying these in your left hand, it would be more natural to place the plate down in front of the guest to their right side.
The platter or dish will be presented from the servers’ left hand, to the left side of the guest. This way the server has the use of his right hand to transfer the selection to the guests’ plate.
From a platter, depending on the selection, there is a preferred position for placing food on the plate
Meat – in the middle to the front of the plate
Potatoes/Rice – on top
Vegetables – to the left
Other service items that are placed to the guests’ left may include a side dish, a side plate, or bread. These service items may be collected also from the guests left side so as not to reach across the guest.
All beverages should be poured to the guests’ right.
Often confusing, is what side to present service items to a guest.
Generally, a diner would only be approached from the left for three purposes
To present platters of food from which the waiter will serve or the diner will help himself.
To place side dishes such as vegetables or dinner rolls
To clear the side dishes that were placed from the left
However! … if it is easier because people are talking, or because objects are in your way – serve to the side that makes sense.