Meet the Team

Darlene Dowdy (President)

DarleneDarlene has been working in the restaurant industry in Northern Virginia for over 30 years. She has worked a variety of positions from server and bartender to general manager. Most of her banquet experience began at a local country club, where she spent 16 years before forming Catering By Darlene in 2006. Since then, Darlene has been the overseer for every event that Catering By Darlene provides for. She makes sure that every client receives customized service to fit their needs.

Felipe Umaña Jr. (Vice President)


At the age of 15, Felipe Umaña Jr. (or Junior as he is affectionately called) began as a busser at a local country club, gaining experience in the restaurant industry. He now assists with all administrative tasks and can often be seen assisting event staff with various tasks. Junior helps to make sure every member of the staff puts their best foot forward to provide the highest quality experience for each individual client.

Felipe Umaña Sr. (Executive Chef)


Felipe was an executive chef when he and Darlene met in 1997. Originally from El Salvador and now a U.S. resident, his career began in 1981 at Bistro Français in Georgetown, VA. A few years later, he was hired as an executive chef at Marshalls West End, and then continued to travel to different restaurants in the area and learn to cook American, French, Latin American, and Italian cuisine alongside some very notable chefs, such as Tino Bogio and Gani Ken. As the Executive Chef, Felipe is now in charge of every recipe of every dish and recipe that Catering By Darlene provides.

Ashleigh Dowdy Coons (Event Coordinator)


If you’ve booked with Catering By Darlene before, you probably know Ashleigh well, as she handles all client-facing operations and event coordination tasks. Ashleigh started young, working the coat room at a local country club at age 13 and has been able to acquire skills and traits ranging from hostess, waitress, to event coordination. She is now the front line of client contact for Catering By Darlene, and is in charge of scheduling and planning all events, and coordinating their presentation. However, as with any member of the staff, Ashleigh does not allow anything to get by her desk without first being approved by Darlene, so every member of the staff is on the same page for every project.