Well, we are still in a traditional “à-la-carte” restaurant, but we decide to have a fixed menu for some reasons (because we are plenty of us and we don’t want to wait, because we desire some particular food the restaurant doesn’t usually have, etc…). That means, the table setting will be different, as we already know what we are going to eat, so we can set cutlery according to the courses.
Two philosophies: the “old school” used to set the table for every single course, including dessert. The result: the classical image of a rich&noble table full of forks, knives, spoons, plates…all to cover any possible empty space. Nobody follows this method anymore, but we will see an example of this with a mise en place for a seated buffet anyway.
Let’s now have a look at the modern trend, which states you can’t have cutlery on the table for more than two or max. three courses. After them, waiters will set the table as usual, according to the next plate.
What you see here is a first example of a set menu, with cutlery starting from the outside to the inside:
Appetizer: Piedmontese-beef carpaccio with curled endive, chickory, parmesan cheese and anchovies à although there is meat, a carpaccio is so soft we may well require traditional fork and knife
Pasta: Milanese-style risotto à only fork
Main course: Beef-fillet “tagliata” with Pinot-Noir sauce, Cardoncelli mushrooms and potato foam à here we need a traditional fork but a special knife, sharper than usual, to cut the fillet without pressing and damaging it
As you see forks are set to create a little “wave”: the first one is set as explained in the “episode 1”, the second higher, the third at the starting position.
As for the dessert, as I said, the waiter will remove everything from the table when and set cutlery for the final course.
As for the menu, well, our traditional way to present it is on the napkin, well aligned to the down border, with its golden bow heading downwards….but your creativity can obviously have infinite more solutions here. :-)
Four Seasons Hotel, Milan