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Etiquette dinner brings students food for thought

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By John Pantoya

Everyone who attended the Dining for Success Etiquette Dinner Thursday in the Occhiato University Center at CSU-Pueblo learned preparation is the key and got a sneak peek into the professional world.

The evening began with an opportunity for the 152 individuals who registered for the free event to mingle and meet new people. The group was then provided with tips from Connie Cline, a talent acquisition for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, on how to properly engage with people at a social event.

Cline also talked about the importance of first impressions.

Etiquette Dinner attendees practice their newly learned skills.

“You always want to look someone in the eye when speaking or being spoken to,” Cline said. “A nice firm hand shake is also very important.”

After Cline’s speech, the crowd then moved to the dining area, where each person was assigned to a numbered table. Each table was hosted by one of 18 Pueblo community leaders. 

One of the hosts, Chad Heberly, vice president of Legacy Bank, commented about what the event meant to him.

“I’m so quick to come every year because it’s a refresher for me,” Heberly said.  “We do more business on a golf course or over dinner than we do in our offices.”

In his first year at the event, CharLee Puckett, a chef and professor from Johnson & Wales University at Denver, spoke to the group about dining for success.

It is important to know proper dining etiquette if a person is ever asked to a dinner interview or to a meal with their colleagues, Puckett said.

“Order accordingly,” he said. “Don’t order ribs because you’ll end up licking your fingers and have sauce all over your face.”

During Puckett’s speech, the attendees were provided with a five course meal to learn proper dining etiquette. He also explained the proper utensil to use for each meal.

The first course was roasted pumpkin soup and the second course was a salad topped with pear, parmesan and candied walnuts, with maple balsamic vinaigrette. For the third course they were served a lemon sorbet and the fourth course was seared shrimp and tenderloin steaks with wild rice pilaf. For dessert, deep dish apple tart with cinnamon cream and caramel.

Michelle Gjerde, director of CSU-Pueblo’s Career Center, helped coordinate the event, and was given the task of choosing the course items.

“It was very tough choosing the right dishes,” Gjerde said. “I’m glad that people enjoyed them.”

The event was sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Chartwell’s Dining Services, the CSU-Pueblo Career Center, and the Student Fees at Work program.