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Salinas Home Chefs

Browse these home chefs with great ratings from Thumbtack customers in Salinas.

Chef Rocco Cartia
from 119 reviews
  • 15 years in business
  • 177 hires on Thumbtack
Denise C.
Verified review

We wanted to schedule a cooking lesson as a birthday gift for our 17 year old son, who says he would like to attend culinary school after he receives a PhD in Chemistry, and Chef Rocco was truly a perfect match! Throughout the entire process (interviewing, scheduling, and instructing) Chef Rocco was friendly and attentive, and his calm and organized style set the tone for a very relaxing yet educational session of making pasta (and a sauce, of course!) from scratch. He continuously made sure that each of us had ample time and opportunity to practice every skill that he demonstrated. He provided both specific and practical guidance, and he delivered limited but valuable critique in a very kind, thoughtful, and encouraging way. While he instructed and engaged each of us in making the recipes, Chef Rocco not only tailored the lesson to our son's interest (and our goals for the session) but also treated our son as if he was already on his way to becoming a chef. Whether it is true remains unseen, but Chef Rocco clearly understands the essence and effect of good teaching. As for the homemade fettuccini pasta with fresh vegetable sauce? Magnifico! It was so good that we ordered the pasta attachments for our Kitchen-Aid mixer!

  • 22 hires on Thumbtack
Al H.
Verified review

I have been blessed to experience Hyson's fabulous cooking in several venues. The first time was Julia's restaurant in Pacific Grove where he was the chef that evening and designed the entire menu. The food was delicious and creative. In addition Hyson added a personal touch by coming out to our table to ensure we were having a great dining experience. He is very conscientious when it comes to his customers.I have also seen Hyson cater to large events. The reaction from these varied groups was always very positive and that the food was delicious and very creative. Many of the participants were not even vegetarian but they all raved about the great food. He is also very relaxed in the kitchen and creates a fun atmosphere. He also has the ability to be very flexible and creative as most large catering events all have their unique challenges of location, space and timing.Finally, he has the unique ability, as do all great chefs, to create dishes without a cookbook, but rather using feel and intuition and taste. The end result is his creations are always delicious, different and healthy.

from 13 reviews
  • 22 years in business
  • 22 hires on Thumbtack
Charlene C.
Verified review

Wow!! Just Wow!! Chef Judith Green catered our company holiday party last Friday and it was amazing. First, and very impressive, she showed up with an army of chefs and servers. They layed out two tables of bountiful delight! Cheeses, hummus, herbs from her garden. Whole Salmon, Asian sliders, veggies, and incredible desserts!! Our CEO was so impressed. She made me and our company look good. Not only will I hire her again, I plan to recommend her to everyone in need of a caterer. Thank you so much!!

Top Pro
  • 19 years in business
  • 17 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
David B.
Verified review

We hired Karla for a long weekend of cooking breakfast and dinner for 10-16 people at each meal at our home in Santa Cruz. We didn't know what to expect entirely, but Karla was more than we hoped for. Super nice, very punctual, very honest, gives a good value for the money and most of all Karla is a truly wonderful chef. She can cook anything you can imagine and she does it all well. Our dinners included perfectly cooked New York steaks, lasagna, vegetables, lots of items for carb-conscious folks, etc. Her menus were fantastic and we have a ton of great food. Best of all Karla cleans up. I would give Karla 10 stars on a 5 star chart. Some of the others took pictures of the "spread" Karla created so I don't have those handy to post. Karla is a gem in Santa Cruz and we will be using her in the future. Dave & Lynn and Cindy & John Santa Cruz, CA

Magnificent Meals
from 11 reviews
  • 5 hires on Thumbtack
Amy H.
Verified review

I worked with Chef ElizaBeth to come up with a surprise meal for my husband while on vacation, and she was phenomenal, despite the issues with actually getting into our rental! We had rented a cottage in Pacific Grove, and due to issues with the owners, the property management company didn't know that the owners had changed the locks to the property. Instead of calling me and ruining the surprise, Chef ElizaBeth called the property management company and notified them. They were able to direct her to our replacement property, which had a rather lackluster kitchen. Despite the lack of a proper kitchen, Chef ElizaBeth cooked a "magnificent meal"--2 appetizers, a salad, an entree, two sides, and a decadent dessert. The appetizers, zucchini crisps and mimosa eggs, were delicious and a nod to my dietary concerns. In our opinion, the salad was one of the best salads we've ever had. It was fresh, tossed in a light vinaigrette, and beautiful to behold. Chef ElizaBeth used greens from her own garden and also edible nasturtiums! Talk about pleasing to the palate and the eye. Our entree, ribeye steak, was cooked perfectly and accompanied by a very tasty balsamic sauce. I confess to using the sauce over the next couple of days with different meals because it was so good. Finally, the dessert, which I ordered especially for my husband, was a decadent molten lava cake accompanied with vanilla ice cream. Hea-ven-ly. So gooey and delicious. And Chef Elizabeth was there with us the entire time, explaining what we were eating and preparing the table for the next course. A nice surprise that I didn't expect--Chef ElizaBeth brought her own floral arrangement, which was beautiful and fragrant. It consisted of bright purple Mexican sage and fuschia and orange bougainvilleau, surrounded by cilantro leaves, sage, dill, and pine. A very nice touch. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and expect to use Chef ElizaBeth in the future. I also took pictures of our entire meal (I was impressed and enthused, what can I say?), which I am more than happy to share.

Top Pro
Affordable Chef Services
from 9 reviews
  • 12 years in business
  • 21 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Jadyn P.
Verified review

GREAT SERVICE We got married yesterday and had to post a review immediately because Affordable Chef was so great! Chef Mark was punctual in replying to my questions before the big day, which, as an out-of-town bride, was very reassuring! At the last minute, Chef Mark was unable to attend the reception, but his on-site chef made delicious food, and the staff were phenomenal! There was one staff member in particular who took an interest in my Husband and I. She told us that we were her "celebrities for the day," made sure we ate appetizers before we walked in, escorted us to the buffet first, and was constantly checking on our drinks. She also took an interest in our families, leading many people to tell us how amazing she was! The bartender Chef Mark sent was also lovely, knew her stuff, and made our signature cocktails perfectly! All in all, a great experience and a company we would trust our next big event to!

V&S Event Services
from 6 reviews
  • 10 hires on Thumbtack
Ferren F.
Verified review

I have nothing but amazing things to say about Vanessa and her team. To start, I booked her super last minute (literally the day before I needed her). I was scrambling to pull together and offsite meeting that got moved 200 miles away due to the tragic fires happening in Northern California. Vanessa came to my aid by helping me brainstorm a fun, interactive activity for the team at their offsite remote location. She set up an amazing wine and whiskey tasting event that the team just loved! Everything was tailored to perfection! She event created customized wine glasses that each member of the team got to take home with them. To make matters more complex, the location where the event was happened to be located in a remote with limited (to no) resources to catering, grocery stores, etc. Did I mention that I was coordinating this entire event remotely ?!?! Vanessa stepped up and offered to not only provide an awesome team building event, but picked up dinner, plate it to perfection, and bartended for the reminder of the evening. This was phenomenal!!! Working with her was not only a joy, but easy and smooth. I can't wait to work with her again. You would be a fool not to book her 100x over!

Healthy Food
from 5 reviews
  • 2 hires on Thumbtack
Nithya J.
Verified review

Thanks to one of my colleagues who introduced Anita to me. She has been a true blessing to my kitchen and culinary skills. Apart from being an expert chef she is an amazing teacher. She has been mentoring me for for about 6 months now and the dishes I make under her guidance have always fetched me rave reviews of the superlative degree. She shares some of her great culinary secrets and techniques with me and follows through very patiently. She is very professional, takes my needs into consideration and devises each class with lots of enthusiasm and fervor. She is always punctual and has a very pleasing demeanor. She taught me to cook some mind blowing dishes in my very own kitchen :) thanks Anita from coming all the way to teach me. You have been a great source of inspiration to me.

  • 8 years in business
  • 2 hires on Thumbtack

Julie's Classic Gourmet is an all inclusive personal chef service. All meals are home-made, delicious and customized to your tastes, from vegetarian dishes to ethnic specialties to comfort foods and more. All menus are tailored to your specifications. Additionally, you are not limited to pre-set menus. You have access to my extensive library of recipes to create the menu perfect for your occasion. Do you have a personal favorite in your repertoire? We can incorporate that into the meal as well.

Chef Sterling Walker III
from 1 review
  • 16 years in business
Elena B.
Verified review

The event went perfectly. The bacon wrapped pumpkin bites were absolutely incredible with the sherry cream sauce. Would hire again. Thanks, Sterling!

  • 2 years in business
Mary M.
Verified review

Andy was the most professional chef I have ever done business with. He catered my wedding and everything was just perfect. The taste of the food matched the amazingly beautiful plating. I will be hiring him for all my future culinary needs. He is the best!!!!

Judy P.
Verified review

Anna is a delight. She accomodated my desire to create the menu for an elegant dinner party for 8, and made great suggestions to add to it. She's very professional and planned well so that the dinner was served right on time. The flavors were wonderful and the presentation beautiful. What a treat it was to enjoy my own party and have the cleanup done for me. She even handwashed my china and silverware. I'll have her back as soon as I plan another party.

  • 28 years in business

Full service event and catering company. Private chef extraordinaire is also available if needed. Best of the best American Asia Cuisine. Extremely high quality, clean, healthy, and delicious food. With Michi's, life is always beautiful!


Our custom meals are made in the client's home and packaged for the week, or a one-time dinner is prepared and served for up to 20 people. Our service is great for busy families, for those who are health conscious or those who have special diet needs or concerns. Pricing is based on labor plus the cost of groceries. We have been in the business since 2002. References are available upon request.


We are a full service catering company and venue. We can do everything including weddings, corporate events, home parties, office drop-offs, healthy meal prep, celebrations of life, or school lunch programs. We have a beautiful venue in Monterey overlooking the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch. The restaurant can seat max 205, we have a patio that can hold 66 and a private dining room which can comfortably seat 30. Tent options are a possibility on property as well. In addition, we have a full bar, portable bars, stage, dance floor, and screens for power point. For menu samples and pictures please check the site. We look forward to helping with your special day!


Grass Roots Supper Club is a local group of foodies who meet once a month to discover new, local and seasonal food. Chef David Linn cooks a different themed meal once a month, featuring different local vendors and ingredients. He also provides private dinner parties, cooking lessons and catering services.

  • 11 years in business

Learn how to cook authentic Italian recipes. A private cooking party is a great way to celebrate any occasion. In my private classes, you will taste the the real Italian flavors and experiment with the easy and enjoyable cooking from scratch at home.


We offer menu consulting, event catering, healthy food preperation, weight loss menu/cooking, cooking lessons, and nutrition consulting.


I am a personal chef for those who are unable to cook. I am cheap and friendly. Nowadays, money is tight, so my rate is $15 per person.


I work with individuals and families to create fresh and healthy meals that they can enjoy throughout the week. I enjoy catering to restricted and unique diets to show people that special diets do not mean boring food. I am also a pastry chef with a strong background in chocolate and confectionery creations.

  • 7 years in business

I offer professional chef services for commercial and residential clients. I do local, sustainable and organic cuisine made healthy, focusing on clean eating. Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are available. I also specialize in raw, vegan, special and medical diets.

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How much do private cooking lessons cost?

You can take private cooking classes to have fun, to learn a new skill, to improve your health, to bond with your partner, to enjoy a playful first date or to have a unique birthday party experience. Nationally the average cost of private cooking lessons ranges between $100 and $150. Prices can vary, depending on where you live, the type of cooking class you’re taking, the ingredients the chef provides, and the reputation of the chef. Cooking classes with Anthony Bourdain will clearly cost more than classes with a local restaurant owner. The number of people in the class will also affect the cost, with group lessons often priced per person to account for the cost of ingredients. For example, for group lessons, a brunch workshop may cost an average of $70 per person, a steak dinner with sides could cost an average of $80-$85 per person, and a sushi lesson could cost an average of $100 per person. Ingredients play a major role in cost, as the chef will pre-purchase the food you will be working with. Weekday classes will usually cost less than weekend classes.

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.
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