Creating the art of the table with Utensil Rest
The Art of the Table, as the French call it, is important for fine dining. This idea of treating the dinner table as art , adds to the whole experience of the meal if everything is laid out perfectly with the best china and utensils, cutlery and glass in place. We tend to eat with our eyes so a beautifully turned out table will definitely add to the enjoyment of the food and the occasion.
When you are hosting a meal, the same care and attention should be lavished on presentation as is spent on preparing the meal. If not, why bother doing it all? If presentation didn’t matter, there would be no state banquets and top class restaurants would simply wrap up their food in paper and wipe down a Formica table once you had finished!
Using Utensil Rest for your cutlery adds another dimension to tableware. They not only look great, they provide a valuable and functional purpose by keeping your knife and fork away from the table cloth in a dedicated resting place. If you are hosting a meal with many different courses, it enables your guests to eat French style, by keeping their same utensils throughout the meal. Utensil rests create a wow factor that is usually only seen in the best Michelin starred restaurants.
Utensil Rest, or knife rests are not a new idea. Wooden Knife rests came into fashion in England in the court of King Henry VIII for practical reasons. It was so that the same utensils could be used throughout the often lengthy banquets of often 12 courses. Doing this meant that the utensils were less likely to be stained during washing and it enabled the meal to flow better without guests having to wait for a new knife and fork.
Towards the late 17th century, knife rests became more sophisticated and were produced in sets for the table. They could be made from a wide range of materials including precious metals such as gold and silver and they were often very ornamental with ivory and mother of pearl decoration.
This fashion lasted well into the Victorian age. There were sound practical reasons because utensil rests helped to keep the table cloths clean and among the British upper classes, using utensil rests is still de rigeur!
Utensil Rest do provide a real purpose. Tables can harbor bacteria and germs and even if you are scrupulous about hygiene, some of these can make their way to the table. By keeping your utensils away from this potential contamination, you know that your knives, forks and spoons are spotlessly clean. This is especially important if you are eating from a bare natural wood table, rather than dressing the table with an old fashioned table cloth.
However one of the best reasons for bringing back the fashion for utensil rests is that they just look so fabulous. Today’s modern utensil rests are created from a range of beautiful materials and are made by craftsmen providing a modern twist on the need for bespoke finery.