Team Member Spotlight | Meet Dede Byrnes
Most of the time our sales team is behind the scenes working to ensure that we deliver on each and every glorious event detail as promised. We pride ourselves in being the “wall flowers” onsite, seamlessly blending into the background as we orchestrate the timeline, oversee the custom table settings and cue the chefs to serve the entrée.
We are in the hospitality business and we attend to the details of your event, so you can focus on the people you’re with- and, of course, the food. But Design Cuisine wouldn’t be Design Cuisine without the team that builds the relationships, books the business, staffs the parties, curates the menu and delivers on the promises of an event well executed.
Here in our blog we look to turn the spotlight from our events and clients back on the amazing team that makes it all happen. To kick off our Design in the Spotlight monthly blog feature, meet Sales Executive Dede Byrnes!
Dede is a relationship maker. For the past 10 years, she has been (and will continue to be) the Sales Executive that is also considered a friend of many of her repeat clients. She’s the person you call for an intimate dinner party at home or a 700-person gala fundraiser at your favorite DC venue…and everything in between. And Dede does it all with style.
A graduate in fashion merchandising with a stint at Ralph Lauren in New York City, Dede honed her eye for design early and brought all that experience to the table (quite literally) at Design Cuisine.
She joined Design as a Sales Associate under Kent Smith (another Design Cuisine style guru) after a chance meeting with founder Bill Homan. Dede found the energy of events and being “behind the scenes” of DC’s biggest nights- in and out of historic buildings, embassies and museums to be addicting and she quickly learned the art of planning a detailed event. You might say she’s a natural.
Over the past 10 years, Dede has planned and executed many amazing events at the State Department, the US Capital, the National Building Museum and countless other venues, residences and estates building a loyal client base.
2020 has brought a lot of change for Dede who became a new mom right before the onset of the global pandemic! Dede was back from maternity leave for only 2 weeks before the world shutdown. The silver lining, of course, was getting to spend more quality time with baby Elle and her family.
Although it was heartbreaking to see so much of her 2020 Spring Season postpone or cancel, Dede has maintained her connections to her clients creating weekly opportunities for touchpoints. This commitment to communication helped Dede to pivot this fall creating opportunities for her clients to entertain on a smaller scale, following city & state guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance.
Dede has been instrumental in helping Design Cuisine to pivot too- collaborating with the culinary and leadership teams to expand the drop-off catering program providing a “taste of Design Cuisine” at home. She’s currently working with the team to design experiences for the upcoming holiday season- starting with Halloween!
Some fun facts about Dede:
- Her adorable dog Wilma is an English Bulldog and is just as much a family member as all the humans.
- She loves architecture and is often found exploring new DC neighborhoods to check out the homes and gardens.
- She’s an avid reader and is just digging into The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley (giving her a daily dose of fashion).
- She’s a total foodie but her craft is the cocktail! You can often find her creating a new bourbon masterpiece for happy hour. Current favorite is a Maple Old Fashioned. Try her recipe:
Maple Old Fashioned
2 oz bourbon
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
orange peel garnish
mix bourbon, maple syrup, bitters and 1 tsp water in old fashioned glass until syrup is dissolved. Add a single large ice cube then garish with orange peel. Enjoy!
- Like everyone, Dede is spending a lot more time at home. During quarantine she and her husband redid their backyard and installed a fire pit.
Next up- find Dede at The Lodge at Moss Neck with the Pineapple Productions team for a weekend long micro-wedding extravaganza!