Ladies please join us today as we welcome the charismatic Dean of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits, Ms. Suzanne Pollak! Suzanne Pollak is a bestselling author, mom of four, and entertainer par excellence. I hope you enjoy our interview with this fascinating woman!
Welcome to The Not-So Desperate Housewives community! It’s an absolute pleasure to have you with us today, Dean Pollak. You were born in Beirut, Lebanon and grew up in Africa – that is so amazing! When did your passion for the domestic arts emerge and how did your international background influence your entertaining style?
Thank you, Mrs. Hannover! The domestic arts have been a part of who I am from day one because of my unusual nomadic life. Sometimes we left houses in a matter of hours in times of coup or war, and stayed for a lengthy two years in some houses and countries.
It all came down to the political situation. As a result, the house became the place where we met the community and invited people over. We entertained almost daily with cocktail and dinner parties. Sometimes we turned our house into a hospital when we had typhoid, a school when there were no schools, and often a zoo to house our unusual pets.
Wow! Could you tell us how the creation of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits came about and what type of classes you offer?
For five years I was a spokesperson for a division of Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s) and gave over fifty speeches in seventy-seven of their stores. I then realized many people do not know how to use their houses to extract the most out of them – the most important element being how to live a more meaningful life.
The Academy teaches cooking, cocktail, and social IQ classes. In addition, we make domestic road maps to help navigate life at home. Most of our classes are private and uniquely tailored for groups and individuals.
You are the co-author of three books and one is in the making (Mothers & Sons), is that correct? Could you tell us a little about what each book is about?
The first book was Entertaining for Dummies. It was so popular at the time of publication that it was translated into Mandarin and used as a text book in the Pentagon for officers’ wives.
The second book was a joint venture with best selling author Pat Conroy, The Pat Conroy Cookbook. He said in the introduction that he provided the hot air and story line and I provided the recipes and the beauty – high compliment indeed!
The third book is The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits, Etiquette with Recipes co-authored with my then-partner Lee Manigault. We had a lot of fun writing that book under a four month deadline. The book was featured on one of the first episodes of Southern Charm and jumped to number one on Amazon for a while.
The book is a charming treasure of ways to live, behave, and cook.
Unfortunately, the Mothers & Sons book did not get a publisher. I interviewed some of the most successful men in America and their mothers. (the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the NFL Commissioner, the Director of the Metropolitan Museum, the center of the Bulls and thirty-three other fascinating men.)
The book was about how to raise a successful man in today’s world by the women who raised them. The best part of the project was the friendships I developed with some of these men.
Sounds wonderful! I hope we can read it someday. Are you offering any online classes during these strange days of self-isolation?
Yes! The Charleston Academy is giving virtual classes. Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. we have “Sip with Suzanne” which is a free half hour.
Some classes are private and booked through me, others are for groups. People love them! It’s amazing how much fun sharing a cocktail, a toast, and a lesson can be – how Academy lessons translate beautifully online.
What message would you give our readers at this difficult time?
Home is the place to find a meaningful and fulfilling life if you just know how to use it properly. The Academy’s mission is to help people find out how to do just that.
I hope you are inspired by Suzanne’s story and advice! If you’re in the mood for more entertaining tips you simply must read my interview with the fabulous cookbook author and Spanish TV personality, Victoria de la Maza!
Hoping you and your families stay safe and well,
xoxo, Mrs. Hannover
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