Create an effortless restaurant dining experience at home this Valentine’s Frozen Food Week


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Create an effortless restaurant dining experience at home this Valentine’s

This year Young’s Seafood, producer and distributor of frozen, fresh, and chilled seafood, has teamed up with William Hanson, the UK’s leading Etiquette Expert, to help you create a truly effortless restaurant dining experience at home.

With William’s expert hints, tips and recipes, you’ll find that switching to home dining can be the perfect way to save money whilst still enjoying a special night with that special someone. So, follow these easy tips and recipes to wow your partner, friends or family this Valentine’s Day.

1) Set the scene

Once the table and dining area is clear it’ll be ready for cutlery, plates and napkins. Forks sit on the left; knives and spoons on the right. The glass goes just above the blade of the knife, on the right-hand side. The napkin should then be placed to the very left-hand side of the setting. Having all the dining equipment laid out will mean you are ready to eat once dinner is served.

2) Use the nicest dinnerware

Make a meal of your meal! Get your nicest dinnerware out and use it to hold your mid-week fare. There’s no point it just sitting in the cupboard. Quality china and porcelain should be seen and enjoyed – not hidden away!

3) Find a centerpiece

You needn’t polish up your best candelabra for this one, a simple unscented candlestick alone can give that no man’s land in the centre of the dining table a certain je ne sais quoi! For daytime meals, you could use a small, low floral arrangement, bowl or platter of fruit.

4) Dress for dinner

The dinner jacket may be a step too far for a Tuesday night (I certainly won’t stop you) but at least change out of your work clothes and put on something decent. You won’t eat properly in pyjamas or loungewear. Keep it simple, chic and above all, fresh!

5) If music be the food of love…

Use music to give the room some aural atmosphere. Some streaming services even have dinner time playlists, to save you the time and effort of putting together your own mealtime mix-tape.

6) The big turn off

Switch those phones and tablets off! You don’t need a screen to eat your delicious dinner and you should be focussing on eating as well as chatting to your dining companions. Even if you are alone, use meal times to detox and switch off from the techno world.

7) Perfect plate presentation

Don’t just chuck the food onto the plate and hope for the best. If you’ve cooked a good meal, spend an extra 30 seconds to lay it out on the plate to make it look as visually tasty as possible – we eat with our eyes first! The high-end restaurant rule that you can follow at home is to place the meat or fish in the bottom section of the plate and then have the vegetables laid out above.

8) Salt and pepper

Taste is so subjective and you or your fellow diners may wish to heighten the flavours of the meal by adding a touch of salt or pepper, or another condiment. Remember to move the salt and pepper mills or shakers to the table – the salt one gets placed just in front of the pepper. When adding salt to your plate, correct etiquette is to just pour a little pile on the edge of the plate, using your knife to add a few granules of salt at a time to each mouthful.  (Pepper can just get sprinkled everywhere!)  But do try your food first to check the seasoning before adding anything.

9) Getting saucy

Don’t stop there… perhaps for some dishes some table sauces may go well, such as tartare with fish. Please avoid plonking the jar or bottle on the table. Decant the sauce into a small dish or ramekin instead.

10) Elbows in

Sit up straight and put your shoulders back!  We don’t want your meal to be spilled down your fresh clothes. Using good table manners will give the respect the food and its chef deserve – as well as help you to eat it properly.

11) Cheers!

Don’t worry about what wine snobs say about pairing food with wine. Pair your dinner with whatever wine you want, despite what the puritans may say. There are some excellent lighter reds that go with fish, contrary to that old ‘white wine with fish’ rule.  And it needn’t be wine that you enjoy with your meal – a swish carafe of cordial or juice can add something even further to your meal.

12) Elegant Entertaining

Nothing forces one into making an effort than knowing that friends and family are going to join you for a meal. Use the opportunity to catch up with your neighbours and friends, as well as build friendships by giving them some tasty dishes.


If you are looking for meal ideas to execute this effortless restaurant dining experience at home, take a look at the Valentine’s meal suggestions we put together from our recipes selection – which are ideal for different tastes. Happy Valentine’s Day!


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