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Charger Plate Removed Depends on Preference

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

Should chargers be removed before plates are placed or do you eat with the plate on top of the charger?


Charger challenged

Dear Charger challenged,

The charger plate (underplate, chop plate, or service plate) can be removed before the first course is served or it can stay during the soup and/or salad courses. Then, before the entree is served, charger plates are typically removed. However, if preferred, the charger can stay for the entree plate, and then removed before the dessert.

Charger plates add a decorative, colorful, and elegant touch to the formal dinner table, but can also be used for informal dinners. The charger plate never has food placed directly upon it. However, smaller plates or bowls are placed upon the charger. For example, the table setting can include the charger at the bottom, the dinner plate on top the charger, then the salad plate on top the dinner plate.

Charger plates can be made from a variety of materials ranging from fine china or crystal to wood or plastic. Charger plates can be round, square, or octagonal in solid colors or in a design complementary to the table setting.

Very fine china or crystal chargers are often removed before the first course in order to not scratch the chargers.