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Is there a correct menu sequence?

Now that Christmas and NYE is over, hopefully the next perfect dinner is already in the starting blocks. Do you also often ask yourself the question: Is there actually a classic menu sequence?

I have the answer for you! Of course there is!

Since a perfect dinner on a small scale is currently very trendy due to certain global factors, I thought I would write it down for you and explain a bit about it. As hospitality is my background and I happen to know a little about it. 😉

So, let’s get started! What does the classic menu sequence actually look like?

The classic menu sequence

  • ApĂ©ritif
  • 1st course: cold starter
  • 2nd course: soup
  • 3rd course: warm starter
  • 4th course: fish
  • Sorbet
  • 5th course: meat
  • 6th course: dessert
  • 7th course: cheese
  • 8th course: coffee / digestif

The classic menu sequence starts with an apéritif, and that can be as simple but delicious as a glass of champagne or a gin tonic.

Then comes the cold starter, such as, for example: a salmon terrine with lamb’s lettuce or a salad such as an asparagus salad with burrata.

The second course is a delicious soup, how about a pumpkin cream soup?

Next comes the intermediate (sometimes also called in between) course, which usually consists of a warm starter. It can also be a small portion of pasta, capellini with spicy prawns are actually pretty suitable for this. Especially since the capellini only take 3 minutes to cook.

It continues with a fish course, in which seafood can of course also play a major role. Salmon, sea bream, halibut – there are no limits to your imagination.

Afterwards there is usually a small sorbet to relax the taste buds again. They definitely have been working overtime so far.

It continues with the main course, in which meat usually plays the main role. Especially since there was already fish before that. A lamb shank that is well prepared or maybe just a roasted saddle of deer?

Then comes my personal favorite of the menu sequence: The dessert 😉 The portion can be a little bigger, right?

There I can offer you the following desserts: a mascarpone cheesecake in a glass or some mini peach cakes. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream 
 Wonderful.

In the upscale gastronomy, we ask before we serve the dessert whether the guest would like the coffee or tea with or after the dessert. And then small petit fours are usually served with the coffee as well.


If you still can go on and have space in your tummy, then you should serve a small cheese platter with a nice port wine. It is best to use different types of cheese such as Brie, blue cheese, Comte, etc.

The whole 8 courses (if you include the coffee / digestif) are rarely served today. It’s a shame, actually.
If that’s way too much for you, don’t forget that the portions are MUCH smaller than normal. And of course, you plan a little more time for your lovely evening.

Modern menu sequence


With the modern, contemporary menu sequence, a few courses are lost on the way. However, we can call it a menu sequence when at least 2 courses are served.

I will now show you what a modern menu sequence can look like:

  • 1st course: soup / starter
  • 2nd course: main course
  • 3rd course: dessert / cheese
  • Coffee / digestif


Of course, you can also serve a sorbet here in between. If you are hosting a small but fine dinner privately, I would definitely do it. It just makes a difference, and it is quick to prepare.

One rule to follow as well is that you always go from cold to warm food.

Have fun creating the perfect dinner!

And don’t forget, YOU (and your guests) have to love it! So even if you want to serve pizza as a little snack, that’s absolutely fine!

All the best, sabrina x

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