Men of Substance & Style: Bill Homan

Party Maestro and Wellness Warrior

Design Cuisine co-founder , photographed at Turnberry Tower in Arlington, Va.

A self-proclaimed health fanatic who takes juice fast retreats in California twice annually and spends three weeks a year at the Hippocrates Health Institute in Palm Beach detoxing on raw food, Bill Homan says it’s only natural that he would be drawn to helping organizations like No Kid Hungry. “It’s a passion of mine,” he says of the charity, which ensures children in underserved areas are able to have a wholesome breakfast at school year-round. “The crazy thing is you don’t realize how many starving children there are in this world, and how many starving children there are in this country in particular.”

When we speak on a chilly Sunday in March, Homan, the co-founder of Design Cuisine, one of the city’s oldest and most acclaimed catering companies, has just returned from a 40 mile bicycle ride, a training exercise for the 300-mile, three-day No Kid Hungry “Chef’s Cycle” rides he’ll participate in May and September of this year – one in Santa Rosa, Ca. and the other in Charlottesville, Va. Over the years, Homan has helped grow the event from a small group of 38 people to a ridership 250 strong, which last year raised more $2 million for the cause. That translates into 20 million meals for kids in need. He’s also on the board of EnventU, an organization that trains high school students in underprivileged areas for careers in the food industry, catering and event planning.

Homan helped launch Design Cuisine in the Reagan era and has since designed and catered some of Washington’s most high profile parties, including a dinner for Princess Diana and events at the White House and State Department. The current White House social secretary, Rickie Niceta Lloyd, is a protégé of Homan’s. His company was recently acquired by Paris-based food services giant Elior, but Homan promises the changes are only administrative and that clients will receive the same attention to detail and level of service they’ve always had, adding he’s not going anywhere. “I’ll think about retiring in 2033 – maybe,” he says with a laugh. “I love this business too much. I would never want to retire.”

Bill’s Style: Homan, an art-lover and collector who is partial to Giorgio Armani suits, colorful ties and pocket squares, says he derives his style from colors, texture and patterns he sees all around him, whether it be in a window on Fifth Avenue in NewYork or the sites in a city abroad.

“My style is a conglomeration of designers and clothing artists,” he says and divulges he mixes high-end clothing with pieces from retailers like Suit Supply and Zara. “Our business is creative and that is how I see myself. I feel creativity takes courage. You have to live on the edge to be successful.”

This story appears in the April 2018 issue of Washington Life Magazine.

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