From Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault, founders of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits in Charleston, S.C.: f 1 Invite a guest who intimidates you. You’ll feel a little charge all night that will keep you on your toes.

2 Pick a main dish and don’t be afraid to repeat it. Be known for it; that is how you develop your style. Make that dish your signature.

3 We are over wine.
We don’t want to see it anymore. Cocktails all the way. We encourage our guests to bring their liquor drink to the table, and we discourage them from switching to wine.

4 Turn the lights down. We would rather sit in a cave with headlamps on than under klieg-type lights at your dining room table.

5 Go barefoot. Try it once, and get back to us if you don’t agree. 

— Suzanne Pollak
and Lee Manigault