- Posted February 6, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Who taught you to love food?
Achieving elegance in an overall restaurant experience is much easier for fine-dining restaurants which charge very high tabs for a gourmet meal. The chef and culinary team as well as the front-of-the-house team comprising the restaurant manager, receptionist, servers and even the sommelier work hand in hand to create an unforgettable meal.
The main attraction of any meal is of course the food and wine ordered but many award-winning restaurants know that this can be accentuated much further by non-food factors such as personalized service, ambiance and meticulous table top arrangements. Fine silverware, bone china, crystal glassware, table linens and crisp spotless napkins folded in an elegant arrangement set the stage for the multi-course meal to follow.
Basic principles of napkin presentation apply regardless of the theme of the restaurant and the folding technique used. Napkins used, whether cloth or paper, white, colored or printed should be spotlessly clean without stains. Elegant shapes are usually very simple because the plates they’re placed on need more attention. The design used should easy for the waiters to unfold and lay on a diner’s lap. They should be stiff enough to hold a crease but not at all hard, rough and unpleasant to wipe the lips with.
Some very popular award-winning restaurants have a signature napkin fold to add uniqueness and recall for customers. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group whose logo is an elegant fan uses this icon in its marketing materials, interior design and of course in its restaurants. The lily, rosette and candle are other examples of elegant napkin folding designs utilized by fancy restaurants, the last of which is quite common, and could be placed on the plate on inside the water goblet.
For a restaurant photo shoot, particularly of a table arrangement lay out, the photographer and stylist may opt to modify the food and service ware normally used including the centerpiece, the presentation of the food and napkin folding to capture a better image for marketing purposes. Rather than the typical white napkins folded in the classic bishop’s hat and pyramid a more eye-catching design are sometimes used even though it would be impractical to implement in regular everyday service.
One has to remember though that in the big picture, all these small thoughtful accents are simply additional elements that should just enhance the dining experience. These should definitely not take away or share in the attention of the food served.