Entertaining Hack: Make sure your cutlery meets fine-dining standards with this easy prep

I have to say it didn’t really dawn on me that this was “shareable” until I had a friend for lunch (I made this yummy plant based huevos rancheros) and she mentioned that it was a nice touch… (and this was only because I made the boo-boo of not completing this little “entertaining hack” I do before she arrived. Whoops).

So I’m going to share it with you, despite my fears that you may think me mad, OCD plagued or just the dullest person on the planet. Here goes…

When I was a student I had all manner of jobs. In fact, as soon as I could work, I worked. I always wanted to have a job from such a young age – and I’ve literally done all of the jobs. All of them. One of my fave student jobs was working as a waitress at various restaurants (I have always loved the theatre of food). And one of the longest waitressing stints I did was at a quite fancy gastropub in Hampshire every summer and during the Christmas holidays. Before service, we would always set the tables. Looking back, I found this a really relaxing task and now – in hindsight – I guess I have continued this process when I entertain at home organically… It soothes the manic perfectionist in me. Although I haven’t really thought about it this very deeply until now – isn’t it funny how things effect you without you consciously knowing…?

Anyway. One of the key parts of this set up was to place all of the cutlery in hot water with vinegar. The cutlery was already clean, this was just an extra step that (a) made sure it was super clean and, (b) helped us to shine it up to fine-dining standards. So now whenever I have guests, I do this with the cutlery…


  • Container to hold your cutlery (deep dish or glass or mug – make sure it’s resitant to boiling water though!)
  • Boiling water to fill container
  • Few glugs of vinegar (I quite often find myself using Apple Cider Vinegar because I always have it in my cupboard)


  • Get all of your cutlery in your container (I usually use a big ale glass)
  • Put the cutlery in with the fork-ends facing the bottom
  • Fill with the boiling water and add a few glugs of vinegar
  • I leave this soaking for maybe 30 minutes or so
  • I carefully turn it around so the opposite end of the cutlery is also submerged in water (if you use a dish you don’t need to do this, as everything is submerged)
  • I leave it for maybe a further 5 minutes
  • I take each piece of cutlery out – out one by one – polishing and drying using a clean tea towel and set the table for my guests
  • You could also take this one step further, and use the soaking liquid to spruce up your plates or your glasses. Sometimes I do this. It’s also a good thing to do when spring cleaning – because invariably glass ends up dirty-looking from repeated dishwasher use.


GIF source