Wedding and Event Catering

Find a chef near Indio, CA

Find a chef near Indio, CA

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do you find a good caterer?

Reviews, interviews and menu tastings will help you find the right catering choice for your big day. Start by screening possible wedding caterers based on past reviews. If a caterer you are interested in has a review that concerns you, ask them about it; how they respond will be very telling. Next, ask about their availability for your wedding date.

If the wedding caterer is available on your date, it’s time to talk about menus and prices. Be clear about what your maximum budget is find out what choices this will allow you. Caterers may custom-create a menu for your event, or they may have menu templates within different price ranges that can guide your decision. A clear budget gives the caterer clear parameters within which to work and offer creative suggestions. Schedule a menu tasting to confirm you love your wedding menu. Once you have a menu and date, and have paid a deposit to reserve the caterer’s services, confirm additional details including when the food will be delivered to the site, what kind of service will be provided, how many servers will be onsite and for how long, and who is responsible for setup and cleanup. The more specific your contract, the fewer worries you’ll have on your wedding day. Get more smart hiring tips here.

How much does a personal chef cost?

Hiring a personal chef usually costs anywhere from $40-$100 or more per person. Request free cost estimates from personal chefs in your area so you’ll know exactly how much it will cost to hire one for your needs. For an accurate quote, be sure to let the chefs know the number of people they’ll need to feed, what you’d like on the menu and other relevant details. 

To learn more about the factors that impact the cost to hire a personal or private home chef, read our cost guide.

What should you look for in a caterer?

A delicious meal is a critical element of a successful wedding, with happy guests fondly remembering your fabulous wedding food. The right caterer for you will be:

  • Available: Even the best caterer is no good if they aren’t available on your wedding date. Ask early before you get your heart set on someone.
  • Affordable for you: Find a caterer that you can afford. Having a spending plan ahead of time will mean you won’t overspend on food.
  • A good personality fit: Wedding planning is stressful, so work with someone that you can get along with and communicate with easily.
  • Experienced and recommended: Ensure the company has a proven track record with events of your size and the references to back it up.
  • Transparent about money: Steer clear of shady pricing. Find a caterer who is very clear about costs and is happy to talk you through budgets and pricing options.
  • Transparent about food: Find someone who is clear about where they source their food from and where it is prepared.

How much does it cost to hire a caterer?

Catering prices depend mainly on how fancy you want the food and service to be and how many guests you’ll have. When you’re first looking to hire a caterer for your event, consider how many guests you’ll have and your total food and drink budget. The national average for event catering is $340, but catering prices can range into the thousands depending on your menu, guest count, and service.

Event catering is a broad term that covers everything from fully prepared, ready-to-eat food that the hosts plate and serve themselves to full-service, multicourse meals, including rental of linens, glassware and other items, with service staff organized by the catering company. Usually a caterer will determine cost based on the type of event you’re having, how many guests will attend, the level of service you desire, and what type of menu you’d like to have. For example, if you have a set catering budget, say $1,500, and you plan to have 50 people attend, that means you have $30 per person for food. If you have the same budget with 100 people, you have $15 per person for food. In this way, the number of people you want to attend your event and the level of food you want to serve them determines how much catering will cost.

How much should catering cost per person?

Catering prices can range from about $10 per guest on the low end to $150 or more per person on the high end. Catering costs represent the quality of food, presentation, variety, ingredients and service. But catering prices are more than the cost to cook the food that will be at your party; they also include the cost for the company to do business. Here is a simple breakdown of catering prices:

  • Menu: The food you serve your guests will directly affect the price per person. Organic ingredients, complex recipes, elaborate presentations, or high-ticket items like lobster or filet mignon all add to the cost.
  • Service: Buffet, family style, plated dinners — how you serve the food affects the cost per person. For example, a true plated meal can cost about twice the price of a staff-assisted buffet because of staffing costs. Hiring waiters, bartenders and cleanup crew will all be calculated into the per-person catering price.
  • Drinks: Providing beverages and alcoholic drinks for guests greatly increases your catering budget. Hosting an open bar can cost as much per person as the meal.
  • Rentals: Seating, plates, glassware, etc., will all have an effect on the cost per person for catering. For example, a plastic conference table that seats 10 costs about $6 to rent on average, while a wooden farmhouse table is about $80 to rent on average.
  • Business costs: Any catering cost will also include the cost for the company to do business such as insurance, employee wages, commercial kitchen space and more.

How much does wedding catering cost per person?

Wedding catering costs will always vary based on the number of guests you’re inviting, the menu you want to serve, and the way the food will be served to your guests. As you interview wedding catering companies, you’ll be presented with a cost per person for various menus. On the low end, wedding catering may cost approximately $15-$18 per person. This would include prepared food only, with no setup or service of any kind. The starting price for a simple buffet meal with minimal service typically averages $22 per person. Opting for the same menu with all organic ingredients could raise your costs to about $33 per person. A moderately upscale menu (finer ingredients, more elaborate presentation) could range from $24 to $34 per person. High-end wedding catering cost truly has no limit. Lobster, filet mignon, specialty seafood, organic ingredients — menu choices like these can boost your cost per person up to $150 and more.

How much should catering cost for a wedding?

The cost of wedding catering will reflect the level of service, the menu you choose, the luxury you desire and the number of guests you invite. Where you live also plays a major role in your wedding catering costs. The regional cost to do business and local cost of food will affect your catering bill. There is no set price for wedding catering, because each wedding and each menu is different. This is why many caterers provide a per-person price. This allows you to break down what it costs to feed each person based on the menu you want. Working with your caterer, you can adjust menu items, service level and more to accommodate your budget and guest count. Keep in mind that wedding catering costs are not just for the food. The bill reflects all the components that go into commercial food catering: a commercial kitchen, ingredients, staff, insurance, marketing and more. Here are some examples of average costs:

  • Three-course plated meal, moderately upscale, for 125 in Los Angeles: $14,000. Because of staffing costs, a true plated meal costs about twice as much as a staff-assisted buffet.
  • Buffet meal, standard menu, for 100 in Los Angeles: $5,000.
  • Per-person cost for hors d'oeuvres, dinner and nonalcoholic beverages: $24–$37, depending on menu selection, in Southern California.
  • Drop off prepared food for 50: $1,000 in North Carolina. Price does not include any service, setup or breakdown.

How do you serve food at a wedding?

Food service at your wedding will affect your catering costs and influence the atmosphere of the reception. Buffet style is more informal; plated meals are a bit fancier; family style encourages sharing. Read about the different food service styles to select your preferred wedding catering choice.

  • Buffet: Caterers can drop off prepared foods for a DIY and budget-friendly buffet option where you set everything up and food is entirely self-service. For a fuller-service buffet, the caterers set up food, oversee the buffet throughout the event, and clean up afterwards. For food only, prices per person might average $16-$18, while a service buffet may start around $20-$22 per person. Adding food stations can increase per-person costs by at least $3-$5.
  • Family style: Servers bring large platters of food to guest tables in courses. It’s less formal (and less expensive) than a plated meal, but more formal and higher-cost than a buffet. You’ll need large tables to accommodate the platters, so plan accordingly when renting furniture for the event.
  • Plated: A plated event is a formal dining experience; waitstaff serve your seated guests for each course, fill their drinks, and attend to them throughout the dinner. A plated dinner is typically the most expensive option for both food and service.
  • Food trucks: Similar to buffets, with food trucks your guests get their own food and bring it to their table. A food truck gives a relaxed and playful vibe to your reception.
  • Cocktail reception: If you don’t want a formal seated dinner, you can opt for a wide assortment of passed appetizers at an extended cocktail hour reception.

Do you tip a wedding caterer?

Tipping 15 percent to 20 percent on a $3,000 catering bill can feel daunting — especially in light of all the other costs of throwing a wedding — but tipping your wedding caterer is standard practice. Be sure to ask your caterer about their specific policies. Many catering companies include gratuity as a line item on their bill. If tipping is not automatically included in your total, a good approach is to tip all the people involved the day of the event rather than paying one lump sum to the catering company. For each server and bartender, you can tip $20-$50, depending on how long they were onsite and whether they did exceptional work. You can also tip the chef; experts suggest $50. It’s also a good idea to tip the catering manager, the point-of-contact person who keeps the catering service running smoothly the day of your wedding, ensures all the food looks beautiful and is plentiful, and resolves any mishaps. Industry pros recommend tipping the catering manager $100-$200. If gratuity is not included and you’re tipping individuals, set aside $200-$500 in cash to be safe.

How do you find a personal chef?

You can find local personal chefs by searching on Thumbtack. Once you enter in your details (how many guests the chef needs to feed, the date, your zip code, etc.), you’ll see a list of chefs who fit your needs.

Reviews for Indio chefs
Jesse G.
I booked Chef Renny to prepare an Italian Dinner Friendsgiving in Indio, Ca. Chef Renny portrayed exceptional communication throughout the process. During the day of service, Chef Jason was punctual and provided a phenomenal experience for everyone. The food was prepared in a timely manner and was delicious! I would strongly recommend considering Dine with Renny for any future events.
The Crain ExperienceThe Crain Experience
Brite T.
Chef James was awesome the food he cooked for us was amazing we only wanted to use him for dinner for one night we ended up using him that night and used him the next day for breakfast and dinner he is amazing anytime I’m in the area again I will definitely hire him. This was our first time even using the app and it is amazing. Out of five stars we give Chef James seven best chef in the LA California area hands down. Thank you again Chef you are awesome
Unfiltered Cooking LLCUnfiltered Cooking LLC
Terri H.
Chef Shain was wonderful to work with for my recent ladies get away to palm springs. The meal was amazing and being pampered for a night was such a treat! I look forward to working with him again! Thank you Chef Shain!
Pete c.
Chef Collin was fantastic. We look forward to hiring him again.
Chef CollinChef Collin
Asha W.
My friends and I loved our meal! The chef and his assistant were so friendly it made the experience that much more enjoyable. Everything about the meal was perfect, we were raving about the dessert well into the night. Thanks again Chef!
Mallory B.
The chef and his assistant were fun and didn't seem to mind all the children running around making noise. They were a great addition to our weekend and the food was wonderful. The chef also had a brief history lesson with most of our courses, which was fun.
BiTE by Chef RayBiTE by Chef Ray
Cheree C.
Chef Ray was a pleasure to work with! The upmost professional who let us customize our menu for a surprise birthday dinner for 8. On top of that, the food was absolutely delicious! Extremely flavorful and a great presentation. Do yourself a favor and hire Chef Ray! I can’t wait to work with him again.
Cooking What You Crave.. ~A Private Chef Service ~Cooking What You Crave.. ~A Private Chef Service ~
Jackie D.
OMG - Chef is Amazing!! Food was absolutely divinely delicious, and the table setting perfect. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
Faith N Love Catering and eventsFaith N Love Catering and events
Melissa L.
We had an amazing experience working with the Trendy Chef for our outdoor wellness retreat in Palm Springs. Highly recommend
The Trendy Chef Catering, Seen On The Food NetworkThe Trendy Chef Catering, Seen On The Food Network
Thumbtack Customer
Chef William catered a dinner party for 11 women at a vacation rental home in the Coachella Valley. He was very easy to communicate with prior to the event, and he offered a great menu at a reasonable price. He arrived on time and set up discreetly in the kitchen while our guests drank sangria and ate appetizers (all provided by Chef William) outside by the pool. All of the food was delicious, and the portion sizes were generous. The paella was fun to watch him prepare in the giant pan and tasted delicious even the next day as leftovers. The tortoni dessert was also a hit. Chef William cleaned up impeccably after dinner, and we were all grateful to wake up the next morning to an immaculate kitchen and no dishes to wash. I would definitely recommend Chef William to cater a fun and delicious dinner for a large group.
Private Chef William BloomhuffPrivate Chef William Bloomhuff
Laura T.
We had such a delicious meal with Chef Jamell. Our group was able to enjoy our evening and had no prep or cleanup. Jamell was friendly and the food was wonderful!
Meals In Motion(Jamell)Meals In Motion(Jamell)
Nancy C.
Chef Ramsses was very responsive and was accommodating and was able to customize the menu for 9 people with different options. Food was delicious and would definitely hire him again!
Your Event CateringYour Event Catering
Kimmie Y.
Chef Mumsie and team were highly organized, on time, and - most importantly - provided my cast and crew with high quality, delicious food that kept us fueled for the entire shoot.
Chef MumsieChef Mumsie
Albert k.
Chef Gabe was awesome! He was very responsive to our dietary restrictions and menu preferences. He was also friendly and engaging. His food was excellent. Would definitely work with him again.
mercenary chef, gzmercenary chef, gz
Jessica M.
Chef Ray was amazing!! He arrived on time and got right to work cooking our steak and potato dinner while my friends and I relaxed. Our dinner was absolutely delicious and everything was cooked to perfection. Ray was very professional, kind and quick to respond when booking our dinner with him. He and his assistant did a wonderful job and the kitchen was spotless after they finished. I highly recommend hiring Chef Ray for your private dinner experience!!!
Cooking What You Crave.. ~A Private Chef Service ~Cooking What You Crave.. ~A Private Chef Service ~
Cristina W.
We had a great experience with Pacific Coast Palate. Renata was quick to respond and made the menu planning easy. Our chef John was punctual and great to work with. The food was excellent and everyone enjoyed the experience!
Pacific Coast PalatePacific Coast Palate
Denise S.
Very professional and courteous. Celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary with mostly Brits who love Indian cuisine. The Indian cuisine served by Chef William was truly outstanding. Just going to enjoy the leftover for dinner tonight!!!!
Private Chef William BloomhuffPrivate Chef William Bloomhuff
Mallory R.
James was great! He was extremely responsive to all of my messages & a really great chef. Very friendly & efficient while working. My friends & I didn’t have to worry about a thing while James cooked a delicious meal for us. I would 100% recommend booking him for your next event!
Sandy j.
There is always a little nervousness when you hire someone new to create a memorable event. But, we were extremely pleased with Chef Ramona! My family rented an Airbnb in Palm Springs for a belated Christmas gathering. Together, we planned a birthday/Christmas dinner menu that met everyone’s preferences and dietary needs, even after one of our family members couldn’t attend. She arrived on time, prepared to cook! Even though the house we rented had very little cooking items, Ramona had prepped so efficiently that she was able to adapt. While my family played games, she delighted us with a full charcuterie board. Then, we had a delicious butternut squash soup and salad, with homemade ranch dressing. Our main course was filet mignon, two of us had salmon, with the most amazing chimichurri sauce, along with a mushroom and pea risotto and roasted asparagus. To top, she presented a decadent and rich chocolate lava cake with ice cream. We are still full! Chef Ramona even gave us her storage containers so we could take our food back to San Diego with us. I loved her energy to fit in, work around our dog, answer our foodie questions and work diligently. Please hire Chef Ramona as she is amazing! You will not need to worry about your event!
Ramona ZamoraRamona Zamora
Liz g.
Chef Gabriel made the best dinner to celebrate my dear mother in law! Although I was miles away, Gabriel was easy to communicate with. I provided him with the request my mother in law wanted, and he created the best menu ! My entire family was blown away. Once we are back in Indio we will make sure to reserve him! Even our little ones loves those kids menu !
mercenary chef, gzmercenary chef, gz
Mylah A.
Chef Gabriel was simply amazing! I booked him for my birthday weekend and not only were his prices reasonable, he let me custom make the menu. Everything he made from breakfast to dinner was delicious. I have nothing bad to say. He was professional and punctual, and even grabbed extra groceries that we needed for the house. I cannot wait to book Gabriel again soon!
mercenary chef, gzmercenary chef, gz
Celeste S.
I found Ramona's profile as I was searching for a private chef for my Bachelorette weekend in Palms Springs. Ramona was exactly what I was looking for! From the beginning she was very responsive. I had no idea what I wanted and she had lots of ideas to helped me finalize a menu. She made me feel so comfortable anytime I reached out. We had a beautiful/ delicious Mediterranean course dinner with all the stops. Everything was fresh or made from scratch. All of my girlfriends loved every dish and dip. I would highly recommend her.
Ramona ZamoraRamona Zamora
Sophie F.
Chef Ray was wonderful! I reached out to him the week of our bachelorette party and was lucky he had a cancellation. He was able to throw together a menu for 10 girls, and even did a bunch of research to make sure it was lectin free since 3 of us were following the diet (which is very strict). When he arrived us girls were a few drinks in and dancing in the backyard, while he kept to himself in the kitchen seemingly unphased by our wild behavior! When we all came in to the house he was super kind, fun, and communicative about what he had prepared. I highly recommend him for any meal!
Cooking What You Crave.. ~A Private Chef Service ~Cooking What You Crave.. ~A Private Chef Service ~
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