College campuses are active learning centers for many things, but dining etiquette is not usually part of the curricula. University of Northwestern in St. Paul, MN, offers a twice-yearly event called the Professional Practices Dinner and Seminar to help students with their career launch. Because these young adults will soon enter the business world, they will be invited to interview lunches, dinners, and other social gatherings where food and beverages are served. Knowing the basics of good dining etiquette is an essential part of any résumé.
This year, University of Northwestern recruited Director of Catering Dawn Dacut from Bon Appétit’s corporate account Carlson in nearby Minnetonka to instruct the evening’s course. A four-course dinner was coordinated and prepared by Northwestern Director of Catering Carol Cummings and Executive Chef John Hansen, and Dawn offered “real-time practice” throughout the courses. At the formal dinner, 80 students listened intently as Dawn gave instruction in dining protocol, including navigating the place setting. Following her presentation of the dos and don’ts of dining etiquette, a local job recruiter spoke to the students about interviewing techniques.
As Diann Lloyd-Dennis, director of Northwestern’s Center for Calling & Career, explained, it’s important to give people context to feel comfortable, down to “which fork to use or how to cut their chicken.” The valuable seminar emphasized the importance of making a good impression while dining for enhancing a business relationship. Bon Appétit was proud to help University of Northwestern students feel comfortable in these situations as they begin their job search after graduation.
Submitted by Dawn Dacut, Director of Catering, Carlson