As an etiquette consultant, I am always intrigued by the dining experiences of celebrities, especially when they explore exquisite cuisine. In recent news, pop sensation Dua Lipa made headlines for her venture into the world of Michelin-starred French food. Today, we'll examine this gastronomic journey through an etiquette lens, exploring the do's and don'ts of fine dining and how Dua Lipa fared in this culinary adventure.
1. Exaltation and Appraisal Sounds
As Dua Lipa tasted the French delicacies, her exaltation sounds added a lively and authentic touch to the video. While such expressions may be endearing in casual settings, it is important to note that in more formal dining circumstances, it is generally considered appropriate to express appreciation verbally. Opting for phrases like "I really love the food" or "It was very nice. Thank you so much" allows for a more refined approach to expressing satisfaction.
2. Elbows on the Table
Observant viewers may have noticed that Dua Lipa placed her elbows on the table when no food was present. According to dining etiquette, this is permissible when there is no food or only dessert and coffee remain. However, during the main course, it is advisable to keep elbows close to the body and refrain from resting them on the table.
3. Table Setup
The episode showcased a beautifully set table, complete with a carefully arranged flower centrepiece and delicate tea light candles. The presence of these elements adds an elegant touch, creating a visually pleasing ambiance. Additionally, the correct placement of glasses for white wine and water adds to the overall sophistication. It is worth noting that there was no tablecloth or placemats, which is more typical of French dining customs.
4. Napkin Unfolding and Initials
One etiquette detail that caught our attention was the service provided by the waiter when unfolding the napkin for Dua Lipa. In formal dining settings with individual service, it is customary for the waiter to assist with napkin placement. The waiter unfolded the napkin, forming a triangular shape, and placed it on Dua Lipa's lap. This gesture not only adds a touch of elegance but also showcases the attention to detail in Michelin-starred restaurants. It was delightful to see Dua Lipa's initials engraved on the napkin, a charming and personalised touch by the chef and the restaurant.
During the episode, the term "amuse-bouche" was introduced, referring to a small savoury appetiser that ignites the palate before the main course. This French culinary tradition serves to tantalise the taste buds and prepare dinners for the upcoming gastronomic journey. The inclusion of such delightful morsels showcases the artistry and creativity of the chef.
6. The Art of Savouring Caviar
In our first episode, we witness the art of savouring caviar. The diner is instructed to place a small amount of caviar between the index finger and thumb, allowing her to assess its temperature and freshness. Caviar should be served cold, typically between 25 to 35 degrees Celsius. With delicate precision, the caviar is popped into the mouth, allowing the eggs to melt on the tongue and relishing the exquisite flavours. It's important to note that caviar should never come into contact with metal, so it is traditionally presented in ceramic or glass bowls.
7. The Graceful Handling of Mashed Crab Meat
In the next scene, we observe the proper way to enjoy mashed crab meat. While crab is often consumed with a fork and knife, the mashed consistency calls for a spoon. Dua adeptly uses a spoon to savour the flavours. By gently scooping the crab meat with the spoon, she takes bites without creating a mess. Her posture demonstrates elegance, with brief placement of the elbows on the table and subsequent removal, reflecting a sense of lightness and poise.
8. Navigating French Onion Soup
The traditional French onion soup, known for its rich consistency and chunky ingredients, requires a specific spoon. An oval-shaped spoon is provided to accommodate the broth and food pieces. The diner skillfully uses the edge of the spoon to carve through the soup, separating a portion to be enjoyed. This technique ensures a controlled and efficient way of consuming the soup. It's worth noting that different types of spoons are used for soups with varying consistencies, with round spoons typically employed for pureed soups.
9. The Fine Art of Eating Tandoori Lobster
When faced with Tandoori Lobster, the diner showcases the European style of using a fork and knife. With the fork held in the left hand and the knife in the right hand throughout the meal, the diner expertly handles the cutlery. The fork tines face downward when bringing food to the mouth, maintaining a graceful appearance. However, a minor adjustment is recommended when taking a break from eating. Placing the knife on the plate with the tines facing towards you and resting the fork on top ensures a neat appearance and avoids accidents.
10. Eating Pigeon Leg the Right Way
In the video, the chef introduces a tantalising dish—a pigeon leg wrapped in aluminium foil. The chef's instructions are essential to ensure an optimal dining experience. As Dua Lipa eagerly awaits, the chef suggests using fingers to enjoy the pigeon leg, utilising the foil wrapping as a convenient handle to prevent greasy fingers. By taking small, deliberate bites, one can relish the flavours with each mouthwatering morsel. It's worth noting that when dealing with larger meat portions, such as a turkey leg, it is customary to use a fork and knife to separate the meat from the bone before indulging.
11. The Cheese Board Conundrum
A beautifully arranged cheese board can be a feast for both the eyes and the palate. In the video, Dua Lipa's enthusiasm leads her to an interesting choice—licking cheese off a knife. However, proper dining etiquette advises against such behaviour. Instead, using a fork or knife, one should cut a piece of cheese and place it onto their plate. This ensures a hygienic and elegant approach to savouring the assortment of cheeses. Let's take a cue from the chef's subtle reaction of pursed lips and slightly inflamed nostrils, indicating her disapproval of Dua Lipa's unconventional method.
12. Delectable Desserts and Utensil Etiquette
No dining experience is complete without a sweet ending. When it comes to desserts, the choice of utensils depends on the texture of the treat. For cake-like desserts, a fork and knife are appropriate for cutting a perfect slice. However, when presented with softer or creamier delights like ice cream or mousse, a spoon is the ideal tool for scooping and savouring each delectable bite.
Overall Dining Etiquette
Beyond the individual components of each dish, embracing overall dining etiquette elevates the experience to new heights. Keep your elbows close to your body, ensuring a comfortable and elegant posture. Engage in conversation with a gentle tone, respecting the ambiance of the dining environment.
Handle cutlery with grace and precision, allowing the utensils to reflect the elegance of the occasion. As a sign of proper etiquette, place your spoon back inside the bowl when pausing or concluding the meal, signalling your appreciation for the culinary journey shared.