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Find a chef near Pasadena, CA

Find a chef near Pasadena, CA

76 near you

Find a chef near Pasadena, CA

76 near you

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Top 10 Chefs near Pasadena, CA

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.
Reviews for Pasadena chefs
Zully M.
We had the pleasure of working with Chef Marcel and his team for our company's open house. From start to finish they were such a pleasure to work with, from our menu planning to all the details Chef Marcel made it easy to work with. His follow-up is spot on!
Married To Food CateringMarried To Food Catering
Meghan H.
Chef Tim was super friendly and flexible with my dietary needs. Awesome to work with. I would recommend him to friends and family!
Timothy Brice Private Chef ServicesTimothy Brice Private Chef Services
Solan S.
Loved working with the chef! She provided an incredible meal that I can’t believe was vegan. The flavor was incredible! Looking forward to having her back.
The Kitchen DoulahThe Kitchen Doulah
Igor F.
Chef Marcel assembled a great team, and was responsive and open to adjustments throughout the planning process. The food exceeded expectations, and the service impeccable. Still hearing raves from the guests a week after my son’s Bar Mitzvah!
Married To Food CateringMarried To Food Catering
Shawna P.
Chef Alexis did an amazing job catering my mother-in-law’s birthday! She customized the menu to exactly what we wanted and was so easy to work with! I would definitely hire Alexis for our next event!
So Divine CateringSo Divine Catering
Sakura G.
We have been very happy with chef Greg and really enjoy the food that he makes. His homemade style dishes have been very well received in our house. He is very easy to work with and very responsive to questions and other feedback. Overall, we are very glad to have found him on Thumbtack.
Greg AkahoshiGreg Akahoshi
Karen P.
Greg was fantastic to work with. He called me right away and we designed a dinner for 16 in literally 20mins. He is organized, efficient, and incredibly passionate about what he does. Our sit down dinner was off the hook. My guest loved the food and the wonderful presentation. It was not just a dinner but an experience in dining. Thank you Chef Greg!
Greg AkahoshiGreg Akahoshi
Nellie T.
I still wonder how I was so fortunate to have found Chef Greg Akahoshi for our event and dinner party. He’s a seasoned Chef who is intensely passionate about what he does. With his background, I wondered why someone like him would even bother to cook for us but he did. Even before our event he stayed in contact texting me photos of the mouth watering dishes he would serve. He was always friendly, upbeat, and enthusiastic. He made us feel like our event was important to him. Then when the day came, he showed up early to prepare and graciously accommodated some last minute guests. He was as friendly and passionate about food as he seemed over the phone. Our guests showed up and we ended up having the best dinner party that we have ever hosted. It was an amazing and wonderful evening with delicious dishes at an incomparable quality and presentation. The steak was so soft that you really could cut it with a butter knife. Everything was brightly colored, beautiful, and fresh. As we progressed through each dish, I could see the smile and joy coming to our guests faces. Our conversations unfolded easily and lightheartedly. It was so great that I was able to fully enjoy our guests and not have to worry about cooking and serving. And the stellar food made our guests feel good. When Chef Akahoshi was done he left with our kitchen more spotless than we he arrived. And in the afterglow of the wonderful food, our guests stayed to talk late into the evening. Some said they could eat the whole meal all over again. I am so thankful to Chef Akahoshi for coming into our home and sharing his talent, passion and wonderful personality with us. And most of all for allowing us to give some of our beloved family and friends a memorable evening that we will all always remember as an expression of our gratitude and love.
Greg AkahoshiGreg Akahoshi
Thumbtack Customer
My husband and I offer our highest recommendation for Little Lily's Kitchen. Chef Kevin prepares food that is more delectable than any of the usual cuisine you will get from any of the local caterers everyone usually hires for their events in Pasadena, and I would even go so far as to say that Chef Kevin's food is better than any local restaurant's. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best dining experiences we've ever had and we can hardly believe it was at a party thrown in our very own backyard! No need to travel to the West side or Downtown L.A.; just hire Little Lily's Kitchen for an amazing gourmet dining experience. The biggest pay-off for us was seeing our guests having such a great time, hearing them rave about the gourmet tacos made fresh to order (not the usual pre-cooked meat sitting in a self-serve bin) but think fish tacos grilled to perfection using the freshest fish on the market and quality organic ingredients for toppings and side salads. Kevin's margaritas were also a huge hit, and the topper - an exquisite chocolate mousse dessert with just a hint of heat - all made for a 5 star dining experience. Kevin's staff served food, poured cocktails, and cleared dishes. The service was so gracious and seamless that, for once, my husband and I actually got to enjoy our own party. Our entire experience with Chef Kevin -- from planning the menu to setting up everything just right to the final clean-up -- went incredibly smoothly. Little Lily's Kitchen was a pleasure to work with and we could not recommend it more highly!
Little Lily's KitchenLittle Lily's Kitchen
Thumbtack Customer
We most definitely had a Happening, catered! First family reunion in 12 years for a large family in the movie business for 3 generations, who as a group are the most discerning foodies I know. Everyone was raving about the food from start to finish, and then afterwards in a flurry of emails, thanking the hosts for such an amazing party-- we could not have done it without Vincent and crew. None of us lifted a finger, and my cousin's home was left absolutely spotless. They also did a fabulous job on an all Greek menu, which they a lot of research to develop, and find the best sources for ingredients—from the bread to the very tender octopus legs. Nothing could have been improved on. Vincent and his staff had our backs on every detail. Esther was a beautiful organizer who made the transitions seamless, gracious and elegant. The sous chefs and servers looked like they loved their work, clearly knew each other well and seemed to be having as much fun putting on a great party as the guests did. We all think Vincent's focus on creating fantastic food as integral to the party and prepared on site in front of everyone is an exciting new development in the concept of catering. That was the real activity of the afternoon, and appreciated by all! It was hard to get my family out of the kitchen and into the garden, they were all so amazed by the enjoyment of food and of watching the synchronicity of the chef and his team. It was performance art.
Chef Vincent MichaelChef Vincent Michael
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