Passion for celebration.

Every single event we create is an expression of the love we have for our work. From intimate gatherings to epic galas, we strive to craft the most outstanding cuisine and the most elegant, high-end presentations in the DC area. Our remarkable 85-year history motivates us to invent new experiences that are truly unforgettable.

A community connection

Farm-to-table cuisine and sustainable, green practices not only create a better dining experience—they create a better company. In that spirit, Ridgewells proudly gives back to non-profit organizations to support a variety of health, education, women and children’s issues.

 
 
 

Awards & Recognition

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded “Most Creative Solution” for “A Celebration of Historic Treasures” event

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded “Best Event Under 50K” for “Capital Campout” event

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded “Best Cuisine” for “A Slam Dunk” event

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded “Best Event with a Legacy” for annual ESPRIT Awards

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Nominated “Best Cuisine” for “Feeding Foodies” event

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded “Best Event Design” for “A Millennium Celebration New Year’s Eve at the Beach”

Miriam’s Kitchen

Awarded “Bowl of Compassion” for Ridgewells’ philanthropic work for the DC community

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded “Best Cuisine” for “4 Squared: Revisiting the Classics” event

National Kidney Foundation, National Capital Area, Inc.

Awarded “Volunteer Service Award” for Ridgewells’ charitable contributions

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Nominated “Best Cuisine” for “Jersey Fare on the Boardwalk” event

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded “Best Cuisine” for the “Tastefully Retro” event

Event Solutions Magazine – Spotlight Awards

Awarded “Caterer of the Year” for the annual Spotlight Awards

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Nominated “Most Creative Solution” for the National Elite Alpaca Auction

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded annual “Best Tote Cuisine”

International Special Events Society (ISES)

Awarded “Best Cuisine” for the “Fall Business Classic” event

Creating delicious,
unbelievable experiences.
That’s what we do.

– Susan Lacz, CEO

Our Team

The Ridgewells team is ready to transform your next event idea into reality. Read on and learn a little about what we do.

Jose Valado

Principal and COO

JOSE VALADO

Washington’s international personality and power culture inspire Ridgewells’ COO, who has been with the company since 1969. “Things are constantly changing in DC—the city’s new businesses give Ridgewells opportunities to expand,” says Jose, who is responsible for all aspects of the company’s operations, including production, distribution, logistics and human resources. Jose’s comprehensive knowledge of the catering business has been integral in the continued expansion and repositioning of the company.Jose enjoys travel, visiting avant-garde restaurants, hitting the beach and nature trails and spending time with his family.

VIEW BIO

Thomas P. Keon

Principal & President

THOMAS P. KEON

Whether it’s catering on Capitol Hill, at the State Department or in a Smithsonian museum, Ridgewells’ president never loses sight of the responsibility of being a caterer in the nation’s capital. “I never tire of the view of the Capitol building when turning down Pennsylvania Avenue.” Tom’s talents in financial strategy have significantly contributed to Ridgewells’ successes and expansion. During his tenure, Tom has added food service to private schools, corporations, and the House of Representatives to the Ridgewells portfolio. Before his time at Ridgewells, Tom held executive positions at American Airlines’ hotel and food service division.

In that capacity he spearheaded the premier suite service for the Texas Rangers, one of the first stadiums to offer the upgraded level of service. In fact, since starting at Friendly’s restaurant at age 16, he has worked in every position in hospitality from dishwasher to restaurant chef to bartender and upper management. A native of Lowell, Massachusetts, Tom now resides with his wife and two children in Bethesda, Maryland. His favorite Ridgewells dish? The legendary crab cakes—and anything without cilantro.

VIEW BIO

Steve Carter

Executive Chef

STEVE CARTER

Although his earliest cooking memory is baking Christmas cookies with his mom, Executive Chef Steve Carter says Jacques Pepin is his greatest inspiration. “French cuisine has been my most major influence, but over the years I have come to really enjoy the bold spicy stuff—Asian, Indian Caribbean and Middle Eastern food.” A graduate of La Academie de Cuisine, Steve has been with Ridgewells for 10 years, and now oversees the management of Ridgewells’ kitchen operations. His favorite go-to dish when cooking at home is hot smoked fish prepared with red snapper or swordfish. And when he’s not cooking, he’s spending time with “his girls”—his wife and two daughters.

VIEW BIO

Annette Andrews

Director of Marketing

ANNETTE ANDREWS

The innovation and the constant evolution of the catering business—that’s what keeps Annette excited about her role at Ridgewells, where she’s worked for the past 14 years. An award-winning business writer, her work is inspired by the creative experience of event planning. “Every event is unique and different in terms of look, feel and experience—I love the energy,” says Annette, who grew up in the Caribbean, on the island of Grenada. During her off hours, Annette enjoys time doing outdoor activities with her husband and two children. Her favorite Ridgewells dessert? “I love every dessert we offer, but if forced to choose, I’d pick our new Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake.”

VIEW BIO

Andrew Chalfant

Sr. Vice President, Operations

ANDREW CHALFANT

Delighting the taste buds of over 10,000 people each day—that’s what keeps Andrew on his culinary toes. A Ridgewells veteran for over 14 years, Andrew oversees the catering operations of the U.S. Open Men’s Golf Championship, Arena Stage and Strathmore. In fact, Andrew is proud to have been involved in 13 U.S. Opens—including one where Ridgewells oversaw 78 tents, serving over 80,000 guests. Why the catering business? “I love being around food. It’s a very diverse field and I like being involved in the construction of the complex kitchen compounds we create for the U.S. Open events.”

VIEW BIO

Fred Przyborowski

Executive Chef of Major Events

FRED PRZYBOROWSKI

A graduate of New York’s Culinary Institute of America, Fred oversees Ridgewells’ catering services, menu development and kitchen production for the U.S. Open and the cafes at Strathmore and Arena Stage. Inspired by his grandmother, a chef; and his father, who also loved cooking, Fred started in the food business at age 15 as a pot washer at a mom-and-pop restaurant. Since those early days, he has held positions at major restaurants and has worked for Restaurant Associates, one of the country’s largest food service companies. During his personal time he enjoys fly-fishing—and making pierogis for his kids. Fred’s most recent Ridgewells contribution? Twice-Cooked Pork with Pumpkin Seed Crust and Roasted Apricot with Lime Caviar.

VIEW BIO

Kashif Browne

Executive Sous Chef

KASHIF BROWNE

As far back as he can remember, Kashif was always by his mother’s side in the kitchen. A big fan of Asian fusion cuisine and traditional French flavors, Kashif has long been inspired by his mom—and world-famous chef Jean-George Vongerichten, for whom he worked at New York’s Mercer Kitchen, under the mentorship of Chef Chris Beicher. A graduate of the Art Institute of Washington and Orvieto, Italy, Kashif manages Ridgewells’ hot and cold food production. One of his most recent Ridgewells creations? The Cauliflower Steak with Tikka Masala Sauce, Caramelized Pearl Onions, Wilted Kale and Chick Peas topped with Crunchy Kale Chips.

VIEW BIO

Melania Castegnaro

Executive Pastry Chef

MELANIA CASTEGNARO

“My grandmother has been—and will always be—my inspiration, and the reason I became a chef,” says Melania, who manages Ridgewells’ bakery. “We would cook for a week, preparing a spectacular Christmas dinner in her hometown of San Jose, Costa Rica. Like her, I have always been passionate about food and love to try new recipes.” A graduate of the Art Institute of Washington, Melania has brought her handmade, colorful Chocolate Bonbons—filled with ganache—to Ridgewells. During her off hours, she enjoys trying DC’s newest restaurants and cooking at home with her husband, also a chef. One of her favorite recipes is Gallo Pinto, a traditional Costa Rican rice-and-bean dish, which she loves to top with avocado and tomato.

VIEW BIO

Ashley Boucher

Sales & Social Media Manager

aboucher@ridgewells.com

ASHLEY BOUCHER

The phenomenal dining and arts scene of Portland, Maine—where Ashley grew up—has long influenced her desire to be around delicious food and creativity. A certified sommelier, Ashley spent the early years of her career leading a local winery, helping to build their brand through events and marketing. “I love how dynamic and exciting the catering and event business is. I’m a total foodie, and I love how the culinary world collides with spectacular events.” When she’s not chasing after her toddler with her husband, Ashley spends her time taking photos, cooking, practicing yoga and reading. Her favorite Ridgewells dessert? “Right now I’m in love with our Pumpkin Chiffon Cheesecake. I’m trying to figure out an acceptable way to eat it on a regular basis.”

VIEW BIO

Meghan Buske

Senior Event Designer

mbuske@ridgewells.com

MEGHAN HAVEN BUSKE

Pulling together a two-day event for the President of the United States and 50 world leaders in just two weeks? Meghan can do that. Although she was attracted to catering to satisfy an irresistible need to organize, she fell in love with the creative side of the business. “Creating an event that’s seamless and gorgeous and unique—it’s so exciting,” she says. During her 12-year tenure, Meghan’s notable clients have included the Library of Congress, the Department of State and JP Morgan.

VIEW BIO

Christine Callahan

Senior Event Designer

ccallahan@ridgewells.com

CHRISTINE CALLAHAN

A 10-year Ridgewells veteran, Christine once owned her own small catering company where she did it all—cooking, packing, serving and billing. But that’s no surprise; she’s an Iron Man tri-athlete, after all. From a 20-person dinner party for Henry Kissinger to a 300th birthday party for the Port of Baltimore (featuring a 2,000-person guest list), Christine has designed events big and small. Although she has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and nutrition, her dream dish is our Chocolate Crunch Mousse Bar.

VIEW BIO

Jen Becker Denney

Senior Event Designer

jdenney@ridgewells.com

JEN BECKER DENNEY

Once, with only 30 minutes allotted for setup, Jen created an indoor winter wonderland in the lobby of the American History Museum, complete with carolers, a skating rink, park benches, street lights and a rustic hot toddy stand. No one is sure how she did it, but when you’ve been at this business for 13 years, sometimes people know it’s best not to ask. Notable clients include Booz Allen Hamilton, Kaiser Permanente and George Washington University. When she’s not developing menus and planning logistics to keep her clients on-brand, Jen is cheering on her sons’ sports teams and spending time on the Chesapeake Bay.

VIEW BIO

Eileen Feldman

Senior Event Designer

efeldman@ridgewells.com

EILLEN FELDMAN

According to Eileen, the catering business always feels new. Maybe that’s why she’s been at Ridgewells for 20 years and counting. “I still learn new things every day and try to create excitement with every menu,” says Eileen. Although she takes care of corporate clients like Cartier and the U.S. Holocaust Museum, much of her current work focuses on social events like bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings. Being raised in a kosher home in Baltimore has given Eileen personal experience catering Ridgewells’ kosher events. During her off-hours, Eileen loves to knit, watch baseball and take care of her granddaughter.

VIEW BIO

Polly Hahn

Senior Event Designer

phahn@ridgewells.com

POLLY HAHN

A fifth-generation Washingtonian, Polly recently looked to the past to create a Casablanca-themed holiday party at the Portrait Gallery. Transforming an area into Rick’s Café, the event included a grand piano, pianist and bourbon bar. According to Polly, every event is a blast, whether she’s organizing a two-person dinner on a yacht or a 500-person corporate gala. Prior to her 12 years at Ridgewells, Polly worked in advertising in New York, where she hadn’t yet discovered Ridgewells’ Pumpkin Muffin with Smithfield Ham and Apple Butter—her delicacy of choice.

VIEW BIO

Diane Robertson

Senior Event Designer

drobertson@ridgewells.com

DIANE ROBERTSON

With 27 years under her belt, Diane is certainly a Ridgewells veteran. A lover of good food, good wine and good service, Diane says she’s in just the right company because she believes Ridgewells hits the top mark in every category. Her most spectacular event? A 5,000-person plated dinner at the DC Armory for WIMSA (Women in Military Service for America), where each server carried a whole cake with sparklers to every table. Other clients include Senior Executives, Best Buddies International and Children’s Medical Center. A self-proclaimed beach girl, she heads to the ocean any chance she gets.

VIEW BIO

Blythe Swift

Senior Event Designer

bswift@ridgewells.com

BLYTHE SWIFT

During her eight-year tenure at Ridgewells, Blythe has transformed the floor of an empty office into a trendy South Beach scene and created a Versailles-inspired sculpture garden inside the National Building Museum. When she’s not searching for new trends or planning events for her clients—which include The Container Store and the Washington Business Journal—Blythe loves to run, try new recipes and spend time with her three young sons and her husband. According to Blythe, her favorite Ridgewells delicacy is the last thing she ate.

VIEW BIO

Colleen Walsh

Senior Event Designer

cwalsh@ridgewells.com

COLLEEN FOLEY WALSH

It’s no surprise that to Colleen, the catering business is a lot like a performance. Long before her 13-year career with Ridgewells, Colleen danced with The Washington Ballet. “Although it’s been quite a few years since I’ve performed, catering events give me the same passionate feelings I had back then; we plan with great detail and then the curtain goes down and we begin again.” When not producing events for clients such as Bloomingdale’s, Discovery and Imagination Stage, Colleen is practicing hot yoga and designing weekend adventures for her husband and daughter, Katy.

VIEW BIO

Maggie Angle

Event Designer

mangle@ridgewells.com

MAGGIE ANGLE

An African safari–themed birthday party? Sure. A Roaring ’20s event at a Washington, DC, museum? No problem. Maggie gets real satisfaction from the creative process and working to tackle different challenges every day. Her corporate clients include Cushman and Wakefield, Pepco and the International Monetary Fund. Before her four years at Ridgewells, Maggie worked for a boutique Baltimore hotel where she helped open two restaurants. A real fitness enthusiast, she enjoys running, skiing, biking and playing soccer.

VIEW BIO

Grace Glasgow Duthe

Event Designer

gduthe@ridgewells.com

GRACE GLASGOW

Order, perfection and detail-obsession. That’s Grace. One of five girls, she attributes her love of neatness to growing up in a sometimes chaotic household. Graduating with a degree in business hospitality from James Madison University, Grace previously worked in the catering department at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase. When she’s not working, she spends time outdoors or keeps up with the latest bestsellers. Her favorite Ridgewells dish? Peking Duck and Beef and Brie Sandwiches, which she says are prepared to perfection.

VIEW BIO

Katie Gamble Fleury

Event Designer

kfleury@ridgewells.com

KATIE FLEURY

A newcomer to the DC area, Katie is a Chicago native who always welcomes a good challenge. Thanks to a roster of big-name corporate clients, her plate is always full. Case in point: "I had a client who wanted food trucks at their event, but the site wouldn't allow the physical trucks. So, we dreamed big—I teamed up with my décor partner and we created truck facades with pass-through food windows." In her spare time, Katie chases after her young son and cheers for her Chicago Cubs.
VIEW BIO

Talia Zerkle

Event Designer

tzerkle@ridgewells.com

TALIA ZERKLE

The design process—transforming a venue and imagining new ways to present cuisine—is what drew Talia to the catering and event business. During her five years at Ridgewells, Talia has spearheaded events for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and Arena Stage, among others. Once a competitive gymnast, Talia now trains for triathlons and spends time with her beloved dogs, Adelaide and Zoe. Her go-to dish? Anything with tuna tartare.

VIEW BIO

Rachel Gittins

Event Designer

rgittins@ridgewells.com

RACHEL GITTINS

According to Rachel, anytime you can bring a concept from a computer screen to real life, it’s a one-of-a-kind high. A mom to two young kids—who she believes provide a better workout than any gym—Rachel has been with Ridgewells for 13 years. Previously, she was a director of catering and events for a golf country club, weaving sporting and social events together. If left alone in Ridgewells’ kitchen, Rachel claims she would eat our Sticky Toffee Pudding by the casserole.
VIEW BIO

Kim Hanson

Event Designer

khanson@ridgewells.com

KIM HANSON

A passionate cook, farmers’ market shopper and food photographer, Kim loves the creativity of coming up with innovative menus for her clients. Formerly a chemist for the U.S. Navy, Kim began her event production career working for Hanson Productions, LLC, a major-event planning company in the DC area. Kim is an avid runner and is always looking for the next exercise fad. She loves interesting food combinations, which is why Ridgewells’ grapefruit cupcakes are one of her go-to breakfast treats.

VIEW BIO

Mary Margaret Hart

Event Designer

mhart@ridgewells.com

MARY MARGARET HART

Creative to the core—that’s Mary Margaret. With a dynamic background that includes a childhood of working in professional theater and an adult career at a North Carolina children’s museum, Mary Margaret’s love of entertaining started early. “Growing up, my job was to help set the family dinner table and it’s still my favorite thing to do. Setting the table is really setting the stage for any celebration,” she says. A self-proclaimed food lover, Mary Margaret is a big fan of Ridgewells’ Mushroom Ravioli with Mushroom Ragout—and the Chocolate Custard Pound Cake Topped with Fall Fruit Salad. In addition to her skills as an event designer extraordinaire, Mary Margaret learned how to sail last year. “Any chance I get, I’m out on the water,” she says. “And my 2016 resolution is learning calligraphy—so there’s lots of practice in my future!”
VIEW BIO

Catherine Landers

Event Designer

clanders@ridgewells.com

CATHERINE LANDERS

An outdoor holiday party in the middle of a snowstorm? No problem. Keeping cool under pressure is natural when you grew up in the restaurant business. A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Catherine originally worked on Capitol Hill, but joined the Ridgewells team so she could return to the food business she knows so well. Designing innovative food and drink menus is one of her specialties. And what makes this yoga lover’s mouth water? Our delicious Kale Dumplings, of course.

VIEW BIO

Sara Loeb

Event Designer

sloeb@ridgewells.com

SARA LOEB

After graduating from Arizona State University, Sara worked at the Children's Museum of Phoenix, where she planned everything from kids' birthday parties to proms, weddings, and galas. She most recently worked at the Washington Jewish Film Festival, which screens over 50 films in a dozen venues throughout the DC area over a 10-day period. Her favorite dish? Ridgewells' Espresso Rubbed Tenderloin with Huckleberry Habanero Sauce. In her off hours, Sara loves to play with her two young nieces, whom she adores.
VIEW BIO

Kerry Dawson

Account Manager, Major Events

kdawson@ridgewells.com

KERRY DAWSON

Growing up in Kensington, MD, Kerry had the good fortune of attending lots of neighborhood parties catered by Ridgewells. Now, as a member of the Major Events team, Kerry can focus on her two biggest passions—sports and food. "People are often shocked to learn that my entire year revolves primarily around a one-week event, but the amount of thought and organization that goes into every miniscule detail is what I enjoy most." When she’s not working, you can find Kerry playing soccer, tennis, basketball, or kickball—or cheering for the Washington Redskins. Her favorite Ridgewells dish? The Shrimp & Avocado Pasta Salad and the Falafel Crusted Salmon from the 2017 U.S. Open Menu.
VIEW BIO

Christina Kirkbride

Account Manager, Major Events

ckirkbride@ridgewells.com

CHRISTINA KIRKBRIDE

Inspired by her mom's career as a fundraising events planner, Christina always knew she wanted to work in the event industry. Her projects at Ridgewells require at least a year of planning, span several days and service tens of thousands of people. To that end, Christina primarily focuses on the U.S. Open Men's Golf Championship and works directly with corporate clients such as Rolex, Lexus, and American Express to create unmatched hospitality experiences. Her current food passion? "I'm really into olive oils, and I can’t get enough of our chef's fresh salads and homemade vinaigrettes." In her spare time, Christina loves sampling new foods and craft beers and going to music festivals and concerts.
VIEW BIO

Megan Zebrak

General Manager, Major Events

mzebrak@ridgewells.com

MEGAN ZEBRAK

The bigger and more complex an event, the better for Megan. With over 13 years of experience in the event planning and hospitality industries, Megan now oversees the Major Events division, including the catering operation for the U.S. Open Men's Golf Championship—her favorite event of the year. In fact, Megan has been involved with seven U.S. Opens, servicing over 40,000 clients and guests in just one week each year. "The U.S. Open never gets old because the venue changes annually—which means my team is challenged to reimagine our operation and menus. Plus, we service new corporate clients each year. That's the exciting part." A proud New Englander ("Go, Red Sox!"), Megan attributes her passion for food and entertaining to her mother, an amazing cook and fabulous host. When she's not orchestrating large-scale events, Megan loves to get outdoors, try new recipes, and run after her spunky and adventurous 2-year-old daughter, Gwen.
VIEW BIO

Join the Team

If you have a passion for catering and events, you could be just the right person to join our team. Explore our available opportunities.

Learn More