In the Dining Room, Jefferson, his family and many guests took meals twice a day. Common to the time, Jefferson used folding tables so that, after meals were finished, the room could be used to entertain. Enslaved workers waited on Jefferson's family and guests, but Jefferson used gadgets built into the architecture to minimize the number of slaves present, among them a dumbwaiter for wine and a revolving food service door (concealed in a niche along the wall).
When Jefferson went to France in 1784 to serve as the U.S. Minister there, he brought with him James Hemings, a member of the enslaved community at Monticello, to be trained as a chef. From that point on, the food at Jefferson's table had a marked French influence. In 1824, Daniel Webster noted that dinners at Monticello were "served in half Virginian, half French style, in good taste and abundance."
Virtual tours of this room
How to see this room: Included in all tours of Monticello.