PaperCity Magazine

September 2017 - Houston

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129 Imagining beyond the traditional party scene, he and his team introduced dishes that soon became his signature: crab-filled avocados, caviar-filled beggars' purses, bacon- wrapped quail stuffed with jalapeño, and his famous fresh-from-the-fire empanadas with lime and avocado sauce. Who among his early clients can forget the impressive five-foot-tall avocado trees placed on buffet tables at galas? A self-admitted pack rat, Hicks has kept the menu and notes from every event, including the lunches he did for the heads of state attending the G7 Economic Summit in 1990. That would include his legendary mandate that every asparagus spear be measured with a ruler to the exact same length. It's this attention to detail that won Hicks notoriety and a heady list of clients. His notes cover the particulars of thousands of events that he has orchestrated, from dinner for two to dinner for 2,000. Among those notable affairs, he counts the American Express parties for the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 2010; fêtes for visiting Queen Elizabeth, the Queen of Sweden, and the Prince of Wales; and gatherings for the Duchess of York and the Duke and Duchess of Kent. His scrapbook of presidents served includes those of Russia and Italy. Jackson and Company was tapped by Dominique de Menil to organize the 1987 opening of The Menil Collection, which included a gala dinner for 650 and an afternoon reception for 3,000. His team also catered the opening of Wortham Theater Center, the opening of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, and countless weddings, private dinners, and charity balls. In 2012, Jackson and Company, known for its largesse when catering events for nonprofits, garnered Barbara Bush, Jackson Hicks, Milton Townsend,George H.W. Bush, Kennebunkport, Maine, 2009 widespread recognition by the Business Committee for the Arts as one of the nation's 10 Best Companies Supporting the Arts. A host of fashionable Houstonians joined him in New York for the festivities. Hicks was also the first caterer to ensure that his staff greet arriving guests by name. "I would stand at the side of the room wearing a discreet headset and tell waiters who someone was and what they drank, if I knew, and frequently I did, because we had the pleasure of taking care of them for so long," he says. "And it's also a personal touch that you remember those details about the people you serve." For example, when legendary trial lawyer Joe Jamail arrived at an event, he would be greeted by his name and with a tumbler of Glenlivet on the rocks, Hicks recalls. Hicks credits his mother and grandmothers with his culinary skills, and his tenure at Neiman Marcus and Richard's Liquors and Fine Wines with his knowledge of wine. With a degree in social sciences from Baylor University, he initially had no intention of going into the catering business. It was friends swooning over his at-home dinner parties that encouraged him to start his business. "The core values that I started with in the business are still the core values that I have today," he says. "Hot food that's hot. Cold food that's cold. No mystery food. People like a beverage soon after they arrive at an event. There have to be enough valets." With his departure, Hicks is confident that Jackson and Company will continue its position as one of the city's leading catering and event companies. "The team is still in place. Nobody has left and some of the people that are there have been there 25 or 30 years," he says. Prince Philip and the Prince of Parties have both stepped down this year, with Prince Philip attending 22,219 events during his reign and Hicks creating 15,000 events during his. A job well done to both. Jackson entertaining at home, 1981 A photo from Jackson's modeling portfolio, The Galvez Hotel, 1979

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