The art of ‘fine dining’
With two forks on the left, two knives on the right, a weirdly folded napkin and a prospective client or employer, what is a person to do? Well that is the reason why Kim Caponi, the director of the North Iowa Career Center, brought Lowell Olivier to the NIACC campus.
Caponi arranged for Olivier, a previous restaurant manager and the current Conference Coordinator at Central College, to come to NIACC and present a short seminar on dining etiquette.
The seminar took place on Tuesday, November 7 in the Activity Center dining room and included just over 30 persons in attendance.
Caponi said she attended an event, similar to the one at NIACC with Olivier, previously and thought it would be good for students.
“It shows a different aspect of your career,” Caponi said. She explained that students might encounter a situation where they have to host a client and they need to know proper dining etiquette.
Olivier said that there is not necessarily a strict set of rules to follow for dining, but many times it depends on the situation and the people.
“We attack this from the business dinner aspect,” Olivier said. Meaning that the guidelines he presents in the seminar are not necessarily meant to be used at home or with friends.
The guidelines are meant for dinners with business clients or special guests.
“Many have heard a lot of things from grandma and their mother,” Olivier said, but went on to say that many rules change over time and that not all rules are meant for all situations.
“It (the seminar) clarifies and reiterates that one rule is not to be used no matter what,” Olivier said. He explains that “elbows on the table” is no longer as taboo as it used to be and can be demonstrated at the proper timing.
Danny Heithoff, a NIACC sophomore, attended the event and had a good reason, “to gain a professional edge,” Heithoff said.
Another NIACC student who attended was Molly Niedert. Niedert, a freshman, said she was invited by a friend to the dinner.
Niedert said she learned how to eat properly, but enjoyed the food the most.
Caponi said that this event, as well as others through out the month of November, were meant to help students look at majors and help them develop skills.
“I hope people are at least thinking about careers,” Caponi said referring to how the dinning etiquette dinner and other activities help students.
Yet, Caponi also explained that she does not have a budget for activities such as the etiquette dinner and will be selling NIACC business t-shirts out of the Career Center to help cover costs for activities.
The shirts are $15 and come in sizes small to double extra-large.
The Dining Etiquette Dinner will be held again next year, Caponi said.