Q: My 8-year-old daughter has an ugly habit of shoveling cereal into her mouth, then dribbling the milk. Her friends applaud her, and I can’t stop her. Where can she go for etiquette lessons?
A: Send your tyke (and her friends) to Lyudmila Bloch, director of The Young Plaza Ambassador Program at the Plaza (Fifth Avenue at Central Park South; 212-546-5377; plazaypa.com), who offers a sophisticated curriculum of fancy-food consumption. “The children will respond much better to a third party,” Bloch says in a Russian accent that’s difficult not to stereotype as disciplinarian. Classes, which take place in one of the Plaza’s opulent dining suites, number 20 to 25 students; parents are invited to watch. Bloch takes 6-to-16-year-olds, but says, “Younger children do best, because we influence early personality development.” Courses ascend from Basic Dining Skills ($55; three courses) through Tea Etiquette and Social Skills ($55) to Advanced Dining Skills ($75; seven courses), in which tricky foods like escargot and artichoke are on the menu. Don’t be surprised if extra visits are required; there are a number of “repeat offenders,” Bloch says with a chuckle.