7 questions for Don Neubauer, the ASD’s No Tie Dinner outreach chair
Don Neubauer loves to throw a dinner party (who doesn’t?), but like a lot of area residents, every April he holds one that’s more special than all the others. As outreach chair for the No Tie Dinner and Dessert Party — the annual fundraiser for AIDS Services of Dallas, designed as a less formal take on the Black Tie Dinner — Neubauer and his team are responsible for getting folks to host benefit dinners on a Saturday, then encouraging them all the attend a gala dessert party afterward at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.
We sat down with Neubauer to ask him a few questions about the most successful dinners, the growth in the event over the years, and who would be guests at his dream dinner party.
Dallas Voice: How did you get involved in No Tie? Don Neubauer: A good friend of mine, who is on staff with AIDS Services of Dallas, asked me to host a dinner party at our lake home at Cedar Creek. It was a week before the event, but because of the location, it was a huge success. I have been involved with No Tie and ASD ever since.
Since you started, the number of dinner hosts has increased by 150 percent. What is the secret of the success? There is no secret, but the success is totally attributable to my staff. They are professionals in every sense of the word, and it has been through their endless and tireless efforts that this event has generated so much excitement and so much involvement from so many dinner hosts and their guests. Each year, more and more people want to become involved.
What makes for a successful dinner? Good food, good friends, good wine … and a good cause.
Does any kind of cuisine get you in the mood for the event more than any other? Italian, of course —la dolce vita!
What are some of the more unique dinners that people have hosted? If you can think of it, someone has done it. Everything and anything you can possibly imagine, from a formal sit-down for 30 guests to a luau, to a wild, wild west party, complete with a mechanical bull. [We’ve seen] a party starting lakeside with a late morning brunch, [followed by] an afternoon on the water and culminating with chateaubriand on a searing hot grill. Over the past the years, [event co-chair and Neubauer’s partner] David Nelson has created a particular theme for the main event, which assists our dinner hosts in developing their own to coincide with the No Tie Gala.
If you could invite anyone, alive or dead, to your dinner, which six people would it be? Well, I don’t know that I would want to invite anyone dead to dinner! But I would have to say my father, Richard Neubauer; Truman Capote; Pyotr IIyich Tchaikovsky; Mother Teresa; Anthony Hopkins; and my partner David Nelson. These are all outstanding people who have had a significant impact on my life. To have them all in the same place at the same time for one dinner would be, as they say in Italy, fantastico.
What would be your last meal request? David is an absolutely incredible chef. It would have to be whatever he chose to prepare.
Just desserts (and dinner, too)
While it’s best-known as the No Tie Dinner, it’s the Dessert Party in its official name that’s likely to get foodies excited. That’s where you get to choose from among nearly two dozen dessert sponsors, who will prepare everything from mini-cupcakes to tarts to pies, candies, cookies and frozen desserts to get folks over to the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Among those offering up their pastries: Baby Cakes, Cabot, Cheesecake Royale, Gregario’s, Kessler Cookie Company, Market Street, Dallas Affaires Cake Company, Jim Lee Events, Komali, Daryl’s By Design, Nothing Bundt Cakes, La Madeleine, Cafe Gourmet, Val’s, Bread Winners, Two Sisters Catering, Parigi, Hillstone and Tiff’s Treats.
And if you want to attend a dinner but can’t host (and don’t know anyone who is), ASD can take care of that, too: Just call Ben Monroe at 214-941-4411, ext. 512, and he can assign you to a dinner party (and take your credit card registration for payment and the silent auction).
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 4, 2014.