Every chef and restaurateur knows that presentation is one of the main keys to creating a memorable dining experience for guests. There are various ways to improve the presentation of food. One great way to impress guests is to have a beautiful formal place setting.

This article will show you how to create a place setting for your guests.

What is Required in a Place Setting

Place settings help set the tone of your party. They immediately foreshadow what guests can expect for the rest of the meal. With the proper utensils, a little effort and time, you can impress friends and family upon their arrival to the dinner table.

For the purpose of this article you will be taught about formal place settings. Every plate, knife, spoon and cup serves a specific purpose. If you are not serving a particular dish, for example soup, exclude it from your setting and either replace it with another dish or take the dish out altogether.


There are usually four cups on the table and can be substituted depending on what you are serving.

  1. Water cup
  2. Red wine cup
  3. White wine cup
  4. Champagne cup


Try to keep all forks uniform with each other. Coordinate the color and style to be sure they are all the same.

  1. Salad fork
  2. Dinner fork
  3. Dessert fork


  1. Dinner spoon
  2. Soup spoon
  3. Dessert spoon


Each knife serves a specific purpose. Coordinate the use of knifes depending on the items that are being served.

  1. Dinner knife
  2. Steak knife
  3. Fish knife
  4. Bread knife


There are usually four plates in a formal place setting. The bowl should go on top of the dinner plate and the bread and dessert plate should be placed in either the right or left side of the dinner plate.

  1. Dinner plate
  2. Soup bowl
  3. Bread plate
  4. Dessert plate


In certain cultures the host may also provide a coffee cup or tea cup. You have the option of including a coffee or tea cup depending on your preferences. Many people begin by serving tea before the meal and may conclude with coffee at the end. Either way this optional item can be served on your terms.

  1. Coffee cup
  2. Tea cup


You can either have a mat below your utensils or use nothing at all. Traditionally, most chefs will include a mat below everything, but it is up to host.

Now that you know what is required for a professional place setting go out and buy the proper utensils and practice organizing your table before your big event.

Continue to stay posted by reading our new weekly content that goes into greater detail about food, chocolate, food presentation and how to improve your parties.

This article is a sub article of the original article titled food presentation in our blog.

For more tips and solutions to improve your food presentation please visit our food presentation post.