Fine Dining Made Finer:
1. Ask Questions. It’s the wait-staff’s job to know what’s good, what pairs well with what you’re in the mood for, and what specials the kitchen can whip up which may not even be on the menu. Ask and you shall receive.
2. Be a Peeping Tom. Especially if you’re dabbling in a new cuisine, there’s something to be said about gleaning insight from the next table over. There may be a darn good reason why everyone seems to be ordering the lobster tortellini with wasabi tobiko.
3. Be Reasonably Patient. You’re dining out to experience something different, to feel the energy of a new place, and to enjoy yourself, so do that! Don’t let an hour pass without asking what happened to your burger, but understand that cooking good, fresh food to order takes time.
4. Respect the Service Staff. They can either blow you away with their amazingly attentive service or they can simply deliver your food. It’s their job to do the former, but at the end of the day, the servers are human. If they feel put down, they’re not going to be capable of delivering the best experience.
5. Give Feedback. Offering constructive criticism and specific compliments shows the chef that you care and are really paying attention to your food. If you can explain, for instance, exactly what you didn’t like about a particular dish, the staff will be that much more inclined to take your concerns to heart, ensuring that things will be remedied as quickly as possible.
6. Tip Appropriately. If you’re planning to ever return to a restaurant, showing appreciation for good food and service is in turn appreciated and remembered by the staff, and they’ll personally want to make sure you have a stellar experience with them in the future.
Denise Moriba is a cultural curator, a story forager and a creative culinarian. She’s worked in the food service industry for 9 years and is currently the Chef at Heaven Restaurant, a social enterprise in Kigali.