Talk focuses on proper etiquette

Hotel and restaurant management graduate student Cecelia Zario shares her etiquette knowledge with seminar attendees. | Anna Gallegos/The Daily Cougar

It may not be the Victorian era anymore but knowing what to do at a fine dining event will change how Cecelia Zario thinks of you.

“Etiquette is about presenting yourself in a way that shows you can be taken seriously,” said Zario, a first-year graduate student at the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Zario presented Tuesday evening at the Fresh Food Co. inside the Moody Towers in a business etiquette workshop.

The workshop covered how to act and eat at social events in which students would have to impress a possible employer or business client.

The advice given ranged from how to make a good first impression to why you shouldn’t put your hands under the table at a formal dinner — advice that Zario knows very well.

Zario has spent over 13 years in the food industry and graduated with a culinary degree from ALMA, the International Italian Culinary School.

“About hospitality in general, I’ve been doing it my whole life,” said Zario on why she hosted the workshop.

“My grandmother owned a restaurant so I’ve been wanting to do it since I was five.”

The workshop mainly focused on hosting or attending business related meals but Zario also spoke about finite table manners.

“Everything on the table is there for a reason,” said Zario while pointing to a diagram that included three different forks, two cups and a wide variety of other utensils around a dinner plate.

“There is nothing that’s useless.”

For Clara Bellman, a management information systems junior, this was the most interesting part of the workshop.

“The layout of the plates stuck with me the most because I have been to plenty of banquets,” Bellman said. “I thought it was pretty unique.

“I got somewhat of an exposure in the general business class in Bauer, but it was only very briefly covered — 15 minutes at most. I wanted an extension on it.”

Bellman also found the differences in American and European ways of eating interesting.

Zario explained that Americans and Europeans have different ways of holding utensils with Americans shifting forks and knifes throughout their hands during a meal.

“If you take away nothing else from this, err on the side of polite,” Zario said to some confused attendees. “When in doubt, copy your host.”

The business etiquette workshop was one in a series of other workshops that will be hosted at the Fresh Food Company. The next will be April 12 at 6 p.m. about effective communication.

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