The proper styles of Russian, French & American service…
American service is unlike Russian and fFrench in that it’s particularly suited to banquet service means that all the glass and silver, plus napkin and perhaps a service plate are on the table when guest arrives. Plate service (means waiters serve only plates, which are plated (prepared) in the kitchen.
French service- (The last propagator of this style was the Lausanne Hotel School) Large pesentation dishes by cooks, service was simply to present tray etc. to guest at the table, while the guest served themselves, as often as guest wanted. (The signal was how the guest placed silver on plate, knife and fork together at top of plate usually signaled guest was done.) The service kept on coming until guest indicated he was done. Essentially this was appropriate for banquets in private homes of the aristocracy and rich. Restaurants did not find this service apprpriate due to money, time and employee constraints. Russian service became the norm for fancier service until the 1970′s use of large dinner plates that were elaborately prepared for presentation by the kitchen.
Russian service is essentially a derivative of French service. Main feature is the preparation of the large platter in the kitchen and served by the waiter to the guest, using usually a fork and a spoon in the right hand while holding the platter in left hand. Presentation of the platter is part of visual presentation by cooks. Also “handy” to help control food costs- an innovative idea when it appeared.
There are a lot of nuances to the proper form and styles of these services, to many for the scope of this blog post. We will make an effort to get all of the details for these services in the future!
To learn more about a traditional Russian Dinner service and a sample menu visit Alexander palace.
To learn more on the history of the Traditional French dinner service, aka service à la française visit Hertzmann.com