CS Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” This quote is a favorite of Whitney Twede and sums up the way that she is constantly striving to grow and learn.
“If I’m not challenging myself and growing, then I’m settling for less than who I am designed to be,” she says.
Whitney has been part of the El Gaucho family since she was 19. “I knew I had a strong passion for relationships when I started working in hospitality, and my favorite thing about working for El Gaucho is the relationships I’ve built with the staff and guests,” Whitney explains. “It sounds so cliché, but it’s true – my teammates are some of the most hardworking and selfless people I’ve ever met. We have a lot of fun. They know how to make me laugh!”
Having a strong support team is crucial for Whitney’s role – she managed over 1,100 events last year at El Gaucho Bellevue.
Whitney never intended to become an event director. She loved working on the restaurant floor with staff and interacting with guests. “I treasured being a direct part of helping our guests create memories for the rest of their lives,” she explains. When she was offered the position, she was afraid of becoming bored behind a desk and the days would become too repetitive.
Now, she admits, it’s the best decision she ever made. “I’m still directly involved in creating memories for our guests, but I’ve also been given the opportunity to work on a higher level by developing partnerships with local companies, and working with my peers at El Gaucho on our business development team to move our programs forward,” she says.
Born in Tacoma, Whitney grew up in Gig Harbor. She studied marketing for two years at Western Washington University but began working full time in hospitality – all with El Gaucho. Starting at Sea Grill (no longer open) as a lunch server at only 19, she moved to private dining just six months later. When Sea Grill closed, she transferred to El Gaucho Bellevue as a captain before her latest promotion as Events Director in August 2011.
Whitney lives in Bellevue with her husband, Kory, and they have plans to add a furry baby to their family soon. “There’s been talk of a Great Dane so I might need to sell my Mini Cooper,” she laughs. In her free time, Whitney enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and game nights with her family. Her passion, however, is lifting weights and working out. “It’s really a metaphor for how I like to live,” she explains. “To be successful in weightlifting, I have to fail. Every day, I go to the gym with the intention of pushing myself further to the point of failure. I realized that I can apply this concept to my daily life as well.”
Whitney loves a challenge, and wants her guests and clients to know she’s always up for new requests and ideas. One of her most unusual requests was a client who wanted his security dog to accompany him to the event. Since it was a restaurant buyout she was able to accommodate it. “It was pretty incredible – the dog could understand other languages!” she exclaims.
One of the more challenging events Whitney is involved in is an annual client winemaker dinner. “The client reserves every private room for the evening,” she explains. “There are four different winemakers present, and they rotate from room to room for each course, so each room is receiving a different course at the same time. There are a lot of moving parts to ensure everything is orchestrated perfectly,” she says. “It’s always so fun to see our team come together to make this event successful. It really takes everybody to make it happen!”
Whitney iterates that her team knows that no two events are alike, and each guest has a different vision for their event. “Our team does everything we can do to ensure each event is tailored to meet our guest’s needs,” Whitney explains. “Our goal is to make sure the vision for each event comes to life perfectly.”
“Private dining at any of our restaurants is an unforgettable experience. I’m continually humbled by the kindness of our guests and the amount of trust they place in me. It’s an honor to get to build new relationships with clients and guests every day,” she explains.
Are you planning an upcoming event? Whitney and the El Gaucho Bellevue team would love to help bring your vision to life. Contact Whitney at 425-455-2715 or firstname.lastname@example.org.