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An overview of the different types of Cutlery

An overview of the different types of Cutlery

Cutlery, also known as silverware or flatware, is an essential part of table settings serving a purpose both functionally and aesthetically. Various utensils are used for eating or serving food and the proper arrangement of cutlery adds an elegant tough to a dining experience.

Cutlery is available in an array of styles and produced in various materials with stainless steel being the most prevalent. The quality of stainless steel directly impacts the presentation, maintenance requirements, and longevity of the cutlery which should be taken into consideration when selecting your cutlery. Our Buying Guide for Cutlery will give you an introduction into the selection process and our resources about cleaning and maintaining 18/0 stainless steel cutlery or 18/10 stainless steel cutlery will be beneficial once you’ve selected your range.

So, what is cutlery and what is each used for? We go into the details below.


Dinner Fork: This is the largest forks used for the main course. Forks are placed n the left side of the plate with the first fork required in a course on the outside, working through to the last fork on the inside closest to the plate.

Salad Fork: This is smaller than the dinner fork and used for salads or entrees. It’s most commonly placed to the left of the dinner fork (the outside) as it’s usually used before main course.

Fish Fork: Rarely used, the fish fork features a more curved shape than other forks and is placed in the menu order it is served with first course being on the outside through to the last course closest to the plate.

Dessert Fork: This utensil is similar in size to a salad fork, smaller than the dinner fork. The dessert fork is positioned closest to the plate in a formal dinner setting because it’s commonly the final course.



Dinner Knife: This is the largest of the table knives used for slicing the meal. When placing the dinner knife (or other knives) in a table setting, the blade should always face the plate. Knives are positioned on the right of the plate in settings with the earliest course on the outer travelling through the courses getting closer to the plate.

Fish Knife: Rarely used, the fish knife has a narrower blade for the more delicate protein and it is placed in menu order the fish will be served through the courses.

Butter Knife: These knives are smaller than others and feature a rounded blade to spread butter. When positioning on a table it is set on the bread plate or horizontal above the knives and spoons on the right of the setting.

Dessert Knife: These knives are slightly smaller than dinner knives and when used, they’re positioned closest to the plate as they’re common for the final course. These knives can also be used for entrees and when they are, they’re placed on the outside of the knives as placement correlates to courses with first course on the outside and final course on the inside.


Soup Spoon: This spoon is larger than the dessert spoon and features a larger bowl to hold more liquid content. This spoon can be used for soups or stews. It’s also known to be used in accompaniment with a fork for pasta dishes in some venues.

Dessert Spoon: The dessert spoon has a narrow bowl compared to a dessert spoon and is used for deserts. Then setting a table, it can be placed horizontally above the plate if being used for desserts or included in the spoon and knife mix in order of menu if used for another course.

Teaspoon: This is a smaller, baby, spoon used for stirring tea or coffee. It’s usually served with the tea of coffee or it can be positioned horizontally above the plate in a formal table setting.

Other Cutlery

Oyster Fork: Featuring three short prongs, this fork is unique in size and used for seafood. When placed in a table setting it is positioned to the left of the plate with the forks in order of the course the oysters will be served.

Soda Spoon: These spoons feature a very long handle designed to reach the contents of a soda glass or milkshake cup. These spoons are not included n table settings, instead they are served with the beverage upon delivery.

Serving Utensils: These are placed on the table in share meal environments when venues serve dishes family-style. They can comprise of serving spoons, forks, and knives for various dishes and they usually sit with and accompany the meal they are intended to serve.


How to place Cutlery in a table setting

Utensils are placed in the order they will be used. The first course starts on the outside and each course works its way in with the final course being closest to the plate. Forks are positioned on the left and the knife(s) and spoon(s) are on the right. The cutting edge of knives face the plate. Cutlery for the first course sit furthest from the plate, on the outside, working their way in with each course until completion.

Reward Hospitality offers various cutlery types to complete the dining experience

Reward Hospitality New Zealand provides a diverse selection of cutlery options to enhance and elevate your dining experience. We offer an extensive range of cutlery and tabletop items designed to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of your diners. With our high-quality products, you can set your tables for success and create memorable dining moments for your customers. 

If you’d like to know more, visit our Resource Centre for more advice and information to train and educate your team. We also have a vast array of products with everything you need to run an efficient, successful, and valuable business. If you need advice or assistance, our friendly Customer Experience Team are available via online chat, email or a phonecall, and our Territory Managers are available around the country for a one-on-one consultation.

Mineral Soup Spoon 1300015
Out of Stock
$34.15 ex GST
Banksia Dessert Knife Stainless Steel 205mm 1300036
In Stock
$52.87 ex GST
Atlantis Butter Knife Stainless Steel 165mm 1372000
Out of Stock
$5.50 ex GST
Rome Stainless Steel Teaspoon 1376257
Out of Stock
$23.45 ex GST
London Stainless Steel Dessert Fork 1385950
In Stock
$40.51 ex GST
Tablekraft Oscar Table Fork 184mm 1310186
Special Order
$76.45 ex GST

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