By Amy L. Schubert Food Writer Published Jun 11, 2010 at 12:18 PM
I'm increasingly noticing that restaurants no longer seem to do the silverware switch. That is, after you finish your appetizer and your knife and fork are smeared with the saucy goodness from your first course, instead of removing the utensils with your app plates and replacing them with a fresh set for your entrée, the smeary knife, fork, and/or spoon remain.

In some places, I've even noted that if I specifically place these sticky, used flatware pieces on my equally sticky, used appetizer plate, the server will go to great pains to remove the offending flatware and return it to the table before taking the plate away.

It's not a big deal, I guess, if you don't mind the balsamic glaze from whatever you ate first melding in with the beurre blanc on your main entrée, or if you don't care when your now sauce-laden spoon is lying back on the table with who knows how many germs adhering to the leftover remnants. But call me crazy, sometimes I do mind. Sometimes I think the flavor from my first dish doesn't belong in my second dish. And I'm not sure why my fork must remain.

I think there are only a few places left out there that still have an actual living, breathing dishwasher in the back who washes and dries all the dishes by hand. Most restaurants now have one of those humongous stainless steel washers where someone loads everything in one side and it comes out hot, steamy, and clean on the other side in a matter of a minute or two. So I really don't understand why switching out my fork is a big deal to the server, unless, of course, the restaurant doesn't have enough flatware to begin with.

But maybe I'll just start outright asking for a silverware switch from here on out and see how many eyerolls and frustrated sighs this incites.


Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.

The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.

Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to