Society / Profiles

10 Party Commandments From Houston’s Retiring Prince of Parties: The Man Who’s Entertained European Royalty is Willing to Help You

BY // 08.17.17

After three decades of orchestrating lavish parties of all designs, Houston’s chief caterer emeritus Jackson Hicks is our go-to guy for the scoop on what determines a fabulous fệte. Whether it’s dinner for four, a wedding for 600 or a lavish soirée for European royalty (he’s done them all), the recently retired caterer and party planner (Jackson and Company) has recipes for success no matter what the occasion.

Among those who have relied on his expertise throughout the years are Linda and Dr. Walter McReynolds, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Randy Powers, and Cynthia and Tony Petrello.

The catering/event maestro’s second sense has seldom if ever failed. Consider a Christmas party that Powers and Bill Caudell gave at their home a while back. “At Jackson’s suggestion, we served chicken and dumplings,” Powers recalls. “I was hesitant on the choice, but like EF Hutton, when Jackson speaks, you listen. There was not a morsel left by evening’s end.”

With the fall social season about to hit us full blast, we thought to get a jump start on our party planning. Thus, we reached out to Hicks for his 10 tips for flawless entertaining.

1). Start with the guest list: It should be diverse, have some artists, some soul, some tycoons, some devastating beauties — both genders. Add people who are animated and make good conversation.

2). A few eccentrics always liven things up.

3). Keep in mind that everything is about the social interaction with people. The food, the beverages, the music are just support for that interaction.

4). Create magic moments, something unexpected. The element of surprise contributes significantly to the party milieu.

5). Always personally greet your guests at the door with a warm welcome.

6). Offer guests a beverage shortly after they arrive. Pampering should begin as soon as they step through the door.

7). Hors d’oeuvres should be bite-sized so that they are easy to eat.

8). Culinary offerings should be beautiful as well as tasty. We eat with our eyes first.

9). Abundance always!

10). End the party while the energy level is still high. Make guests wish it had never ended.

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