Ever wondered what the reasoning is behind why we’re discouraged to put our elbows on the table? Or where all the cutlery is suppose to go and what each piece is actually meant for? If these questions have been plaguing you for sometime, perhaps you should consider taking part in a dining etiquette course.

The TableSmarts Everyday Dining for Adults course runs through the ABC’s of table manners. Topics include, how to approach and exit the table in a polite fashion, placing an order with the waiter, navigating place settings, napkin-uses, rules for eating bread and soup, correct handling of utensils, passing food at the table, appropriate behavior at the table, and dealing with unwanted food.

Those who are intrigued by these “rules” of dining but are a little apprehensive about succumbing themselves to a course, have nothing to fear. The two-hour class is composed of friendly instruction (nothing like those stiff, whip cracking finishing schools you often see portrayed in films), group discussions, and hands-on practice during a three-course lunch at Vancouver’s Terminal City Club.

Our TableSmarts class is great for anyone who wants to present a more polished self at a business lunch with clients or those who simply wish to attain a better grasp of dining etiquette. There’s also a Fine Dining course for adults and an Everyday Dining course for kids too.


Here are my own top 5 dining tips we should all be following:

  1. Place your napkin on your lap before you take your first sip of water, as it signals the beginning of your meal.
  2. When someone asks for the salt or pepper – consider the two “married” and always pass them together. This way they stay together and people don’t have to ask for the salt and pepper individually when they need both.
  3.  It is courteous to keep your mouth closed during chewing and to avoid making noises such as slurping.
  4.  Never stretch across the table for a dish or condiment, for example. Politely ask for someone to pass it to you.
  5.  Do not blow on your soup to cool it down. In our Everyday Dining classes, we practice the “edge” technique where you learn to enjoy your soup without looking rushed or eager.


For more information about the classes and courses we offer, please contact me on 




Racing day is an opportunity for fashion goers, race aficionados, and socialites to mix and mingle while celebrating a tradition rooted in showmanship, fashion, and etiquette. With Deighton Cup just days away, it’s important for event-goers to polish up on the do’s and don’ts of this highly anticipated event.

Here are three tips to make sure you avoid any faux pas:

1. What to wear

Traditionally, and still the case at the highly anticipated Royal Ascot Horse Races in England, women are urged to avoid halter-tops, crop tops, and mini skirts. However, our considerably laid-back west coast culture permits a more casual attitude towards fashion compared to our European counterparts.

“While Vancouver is known for a more laid back sense of style, it’s nice if one’s outfit includes a nod to the way they do it up in the UK, so a fancy hat or fascinator, is always a welcome addition to any Deighton Cup look,” says Erin Sousa, founder of Sparkle Media and Deighton Cup Style Stakes Judge.

When in doubt – keep your outfit classy. Focus on good quality fabrics, classic cuts, and timeless pieces. Think: Jackie Kennedy or Kate Middleton at the races.

Traditionally, ladies adorn large tasteful headwear embellished with feathers, crystal, and ribbon. As far as hat etiquette goes, make sure you feel comfortable in your chosen piece and don’t let the hat wear you. Constantly having to adjust your hat will make you feel, and look, out of place. Remember to allow either your hat or your outfit be the focus. Having both pieces compete with one another can leave you with a loud outfit that, if not matched with a naturally loud personality, can leave the wearer feeling less than confident.

“No brown around town” is a phrase the British often use to differentiate between shoes for non-formal events and formal events like race day. However, brown shoes, simply put, are still a popular go-to shoe for daytime events and are permitted at formal events in Vancouver. If you prefer to opt for traditional black, a Brough-style shoe is an option as the perforated design may help create a “lighter” look for the dark shade. Waistcoats, bowties or ties, and top hats will complete your day at the races look.

“Shying away from the traditional race day look can take away from the experience of those around you,” says Crystal Carson, Deighton Cup Style Director, who encourages attendees to have fun and play the part.

If you opt for a top hat, it’s courteous to remove it when mingling in more private areas such as a private box.

2. How to have top-notch table manners

While the food at the Deighton Cup won’t be laid out in a formal three-course setting found at most formal events, it’s still important to exhibit proper Dining Etiquette. From the looks of this year’s menu, event-goer’s are in for a delicious treat of Korean BBQ, Beef Brisket Sandwiches, and an assortment of Canapés perfect for walking around and mingling.

Deighton Cup is a highly photographed event and it’s important that you keep yourself looking sharp and put together throughout the event. How can you achieve this while devouring your Fried Chicken Waffle Taco? (Yes, that’s on the menu!) It’s always good to remember to “dab before you drink” to avoid transferring food onto your glasses. You don’t want to be the person licking garlic mayo off the rim of your cocktail glass!

Also, don’t be the person rushing to the front of the lines once food trucks open. Take your time, show control, and offer assistance to anyone who might need an extra hand. It also might be a good idea to consider having a snack before the event so that you aren’t stuffing yourself later because you’re starving.

3. What about placing bets?

Amidst the fashion and socializing, it’s easy to overlook the main attraction of the event. Placing bets on horses can be intimidating if you’ve never participated before, or if it’s your first time at the racecourse. Maintain your manners and patience while waiting in line and establish your budget prior to arriving at the event. And if you do well by winning, try to keep the gloating to a minimumShowing off is always considered in poor taste.




It’s the most wonderful time of year. We aren’t talking about Christmas. It’s wine tasting season. And we are learning more about the proper etiquette for when you head to one of British Columbia’s fantastic wineries.

Wine tasting.jpg

Some wineries will have a more social walk-around layout, if that makes sense, and then on the other hand you might have a more formal seated tasting. In any event, you want to be sure that your attitude and dress code reflect the atmosphere. 

You should also research the venue as a lot of them (have) such well-rated restaurants, so I always recommend you do your research and make reservations beforehand and plan to have a few lunch stops or dinner stops along your way.

And when it comes to actually drinking the wine? You should always hold your glass by the stem!
The reason for that is because the warmth of your hand can actually affect the temperature of the wines.

If you are planning on buying wine, it’s fine to ask to have an extra taste.

You might already be talking to the sommelier about looking for a certain type of white or a red, and so, to ask to taste something again is completely appropriate.