I-S Xperience Table Manners: Better than Beeton

Table etiquette sounds like a stuffy topic for an I-S Xperience but the table setting workshop taught by F&B Director of the Mount Faber Leisure Group Adrian Wong (held at The Jewel Box) was anything but. Banish thoughts of a Downton Abbey-like army of servants putting together an elaborate display for a 14-course meal. The kind of setting advocated by Victorian housekeeping doyens like Mrs Beeton (author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management) got a real contemprary update. Wong set a table for just five dishes. Instead of overflowing fruit bowls, he opted for simple grey pebbles. Avoiding gilded canelabra, he picked out plain solid white candles.

Of course he also taught the basics: Flower vases shouldn’t be too tall (obstructs your view of other diners), classic napkin folds and how to position cutlery so diners can eat from the outside in. But he also highlighted great “cheat” techniques like using a rubberband to hold flower and napkin arrangements in place. It all seemed very manageble. Nothing that would scare even the most inexperienced of homemakers. The fact that we got to decorate and take home some strawberry shortcake after (guided by executive chef Derrick Ang) sweetened the deal even more. An afternoon on housekeeping: Educational and fun. Who would have thought it possible?