By Daniel A. Kusner Life+Style Editor

MORE THAN JUST DESSERTS: Sean Carey whips up a tray of chocolate martini shooters — Godiva liqueur, Kahlua, crème de cocoa with whipped cream and dusted with pistachio-nuts. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

Event planner Sean Carey sweetens the No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party

When you’re really good at what you do, sharing the wealth of your talents isn’t such a huge burden. This weekend, gay-owned Jim Lee Events will create more than 1,000 dessert pastries and sweet-tooth cocktails for the annual No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party. On Saturday, about 600 guests will enjoy dinner parties at private homes, and then for dessert, everyone heads over to the Frontiers of Flight Museum for a dessert social and silent auction to raise money for AIDS Services of Dallas.

For the past three years, Jim Lee and his partner Sean Carey have been sweetening the dessert portion of evening. This year, they’re donating some handsome staff members to hand out their key lime and tiramisu pastries, and chocolate martini shooters.

Carey met Lee about eight years ago, when Lee hired Carey as his director of operations. And soon, the Dallas natives became partners in business and life. About four years ago, they took over the old Planet Hollywood space in the West End and transformed it into the swanky Starlight Room — a glitzed out venue with a dance floor, a huge mosaic-tile bar, an Old Hollywood-style dining room with a spiral staircase and a huge kitchen. While the Starlight Room is usually booked every weekend, things are cooking in the kitchen all week long.

In January, the Starlight Room was transformed into a scene from the movie "Moulin Rouge."

"Last year, we donated our services to volunteer appreciation dinner for the Resource Center of Dallas — which was held at the center. And I told them that they had outgrown their space. So this year, we offered the Starlight Room for their party," Carey says. "And we’re doing it again next year."

Last year, D Magazine called Jim Lee Events the "Best Have-It-Your-Way Caterer," because of their knack for customizing the strangest wishes. Like the time they transformed The Galleria ice rink into an Astroturf lawn with gazebos and gardens for the Ladies of the Arboretum Society’s afternoon party.

On Wednesday morning, Carey was preparing for two catering gigs later that night: one at the Crow Center for Asian Art and one at the Women’s Museum. Since they’re already so busy, how big of a deal is it to squeeze in donating to benefit gigs?

"To our clients, it’s a big deal. To us, we’re pretty good at our jobs — so we can almost do it in our sleep," he explains.

Some of Jim Lee’s famous clients include gigs at Ross Perot’s home. And Carey says Halliburton has hired the company.

"And we didn’t mind charging them for our services whatsoever," Carey smiles.

No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party benefiting AIDS Services of Dallas.
March 29. Dessert party at 8 p.m. at The Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon Ave. Donation: $40.
For information about Jim Lee Events, call 214-291-2002.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 28, 2008

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