- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - Deaunte Berry says chicken is a finger food at his house. So he wasn’t sure what to do when he got to the last morsel of Salt’s popular apple-brined, bone-in chicken breast.

He looked around to see if any of his classmates from Quest Charter Academy picked up the chicken with their hands. They didn’t seem to know either, except for another classmate who grabbed the bone when he thought no one was looking.

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to look to him as an example,” Berry said.

Berry’s first visit to a “classy” restaurant, as he called it, doubled as an etiquette seminar. He already had learned what not to do.

The 38 students in Quest’s senior class, its first, were treated to a three-course meal and a lesson in table manners Feb. 23, courtesy of Quest board member Rogers Turner and Travis Mohlenbrink, owner of the Peoria Heights restaurant.

“The life-skills piece of this experience will impact everything they do,” said Turner, who has organized similar sessions for teens at St. Paul Baptist Church in Peoria and for a high school when he lived in Tulsa, Okla.

Related content Etiquette lessons for Quest Charter Academy students The goal is to expose them to social skills that will be beneficial during college and job interviews, Turner said.

The first tip, Turner told them, is order a salad during a college or job interview.

“If you do it right, you’re going to do all the talking.”

Once Turner broke the ice with a few other tips, such as the proper handshake and which fork to begin with at a dinner party - start with the outside utensil - the students loosened up and bombarded him with questions:

It is rude not to try food? Yes.

If you’re allergic to something, is there a proper way to excuse yourself from eating it? Just say you’re allergic.

Which one is the salad fork? For this particular dinner, it’s the one farthest from the plate.

Berry and his tablemates said they learned not to place their elbows on the table and where to place the napkin.

They couldn’t learn all there is to learn about proper etiquette in an hour, Turner told them. “There are colleges that spend a whole semester on this kind of thing. I just don’t want you in a situation where you don’t know what to do.”

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Source: (Peoria) Journal Star, http://bit.ly/20W0hke

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com

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