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Find a chef near Denver, CO

Find a chef near Denver, CO

45 near you

Find a chef near Denver, CO

45 near you

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Top 10 Chefs near Denver, CO

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.

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 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 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 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.

Reviews for Denver chefs
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Connie was on time and had a delicious menu planned out. She will be my first call next time I want to use a personal chef.
Follow the RuelFollow the Ruel
EVELYN N.
Everything was wonderful! Connie was a very sweet chef!
Follow the RuelFollow the Ruel
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Ruel came to our home to celebrate my husband's birthday. We had an amazing experience! The food was delicious - some of the best we've had in Denver! Chef Ruel explained each course and the wine pairing which made us appreciate all the effort, time and flavors in our meal. This one of my husband's top birthday celebrations :) We will definitely keep her mind for future special events! Thank you Chef Ruel!
Follow the RuelFollow the Ruel
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Michael was the consummate professional. Entree delicious! We will definitely be using his services again.
Chef Michael: Custom Catering and Personal ChefChef Michael: Custom Catering and Personal Chef
Bob L.
Chef Randy’s service and food was as promised. We were very satisfied and would use him again.
Luxury Meals From HomeLuxury Meals From Home
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Chef Michael for my buddy's bachelor party. We had a special request: make a dinner with the pheasant we bring home from our day's hunt, and take the bird to a high level of culinary experience. Chef Michael delivered. We had a nice spread of appetizers, great main course (with beer pairings!), and an amazing dessert. Chef kept a clean kitchen, provided friendly service, and was serious about delivering a high quality meal. I'd book again for an event.
Chef Michael: Custom Catering and Personal ChefChef Michael: Custom Catering and Personal Chef
Ashley F.
Chef Meis was so wonderful! Easy to coordinate, on time, built custom menu for us, and even helped with dishes!
Chef MeisChef Meis
Emily G.
Looking forward to trying The Go To Chef's food. Seems very reasonable and great menu. Quick response to my request.
The Go To ChefThe Go To Chef
Trista S.
Dustin was great!!! It was the first time I had ever done the chef thing and he made it very laid back.
Family ThymeFamily Thyme
Pedro S.
Dustin was the ultimate pro and made our party amazing. Like a scene out of master chef in the comfort of our own home.
Underground Fine DiningUnderground Fine Dining
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Lisa is wonderful! She has been creating and cooking Paleo meals for us and the food is phenomenal! We went with Paleo to begin a healthier lifestyle, and Chef Lisa's meals are so creative and so full of flavor! We couldn't have asked for anything better! We feel very blessed to have found her. Kelvin and Carrie Nicholson
Gourmet Away, LLCGourmet Away, LLC
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Michael was true professional and executed wonderful meal as described in pre planning. Tasty food and real pleasure to experience his catering. 5 stars!
Chef Michael: Custom Catering and Personal ChefChef Michael: Custom Catering and Personal Chef
Katherine H.
Chef TJ was a pleasure to work with. He was very professional and on time. I can’t express how amazing the food was. Everyone loved it. I would highly recommend him! Looking forward to working with him in the future.
Chef TJChef TJ
Christina A.
Gourmet Away was a great choice for our holiday staff lunch. Every single person enjoyed the food and complimented the set up. We will definitely work with her again and recommend her to others. Great job, Chef Lisa :)
Gourmet Away, LLCGourmet Away, LLC
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Tim is truly a gem. He is responsive, professional, creative, and fun! He came to my home and prepared and served a lovely meal for 8. He offered numerous choices, and what we chose was delicious and perfectly prepared. I highly recommend him!
Custom Culinary ConceptsCustom Culinary Concepts
Thumbtack Customer
Dustin was professional, flexible, and an excellent chef. We selected Dustin because he has a high focus on the quality of the food. The meal was well thought out and expertly prepared. His team took care of everything, and he accommodated a number of dietary restrictions and requests. It was an outstanding evening!
Underground Fine DiningUnderground Fine Dining
Payal S.
Dustin was a great chef you made delicious food for my half vegetarian and half meat loving family. It was perfect way to end our trip to Denver and ensure that we got to relax and not worry about a thing. He came with a server and was extremely professional. Thank you!
Underground Fine DiningUnderground Fine Dining
Alex D.
This was the first time we've had a personal chef come to our house and cook for us. It was a wonderful​ birthday present and I would definitely do it again. Dustin and Andrea made it so easy. They brought all silverware and plates, and left no mess for us. It made for a relaxed atmosphere and fabulous food.
Underground Fine DiningUnderground Fine Dining
Katie L.
I hired Mag, the chef, for my wife’s birthday. I had no idea what I was doing with regards to hiring a personal chef. Mag made it easy. He was full of ideas. He was also honest in the Mexican cuisine was his specialty. He wasn’t kidding. He made a dish for the special occasion Chile en nogada. Nogada is a nut in this case walnut cream sauce. It was so GOOD!! It’s paired wonderfully with a fruity Riesling. Mag was friendly and very professional. I will be hiring him again. His pricing is very fair. Almost to fair. With that kind of quality meal he could charge more. Thanks Mag for making a COVID-19 birthday a wonderful birthday. Cheers!!!!
The Bomb EnchiladaThe Bomb Enchilada
Thumbtack Customer
Our latest company luncheon involved 50 people, and had a dual theme of Italian and Indian cuisine. Chef Maro did a superb job. She executed flawlessly throughout the event, made it easy for the event coordinator, and absolutely wowed the staff with her unique and excellent dishes. We will definitely contact her for future corporate events.
Maro's International CuisineMaro's International Cuisine
Gabrielle M.
I hired Chef Randy for a dinner party for 6 in honor of my husband's birthday. Compared to going to a restaurant, hiring Chef Randy was more affordable and a much more intimate and memorable experience. I felt safer & socially-responsible by being at home instead of going into the public during a pandemic. And being at home made the whole experience SO much more comfortable. This dinner far exceeded my previous experiences hiring traditional caterers, who charge an hourly fee for lesser-quality food. The flat, affordable rate, and fully customized menu made it stress-free to plan and the excellent quality of the meal and service made for a 10/10 evening. Before the dinner, Chef worked with me to create the menu of my husband's dreams and was very professional and responsive to my emails and phone calls. The night of the dinner, he and one server, Nate, arrived exactly on time and got to work comfortably in my kitchen. They were responsive to all the little needs that came up and even bailed me out by bringing extra ice! And they were both so friendly and kind! I felt like I had two foodie cousins taking over the kitchen during a holiday, and not at all like having contractors in my home who I couldn't get in the way of or interrupt. The dinner itself was impeccable - one guest claimed he could now cancel Christmas, because this was the best meal he would have all year. They left my kitchen spotless, so cleanup was a breeze. And the best part is, my husband has been going on and on about his "best birthday ever," and how he needs to step up his game for my next birthday! I enthusiastically recommend Chef Randy without any reservations and will definitely be calling him again.
Luxury Meals From HomeLuxury Meals From Home
Thumbtack Customer
Maro has been an unbelievable find for us. We have had many personal chefs in the past, but Maro is premier to them all. She is very punctual and always shows up early (if she is going to be late she will let you know ahead of time). She cooks enough food for a couple of hungry guys while meeting our budget. (which could be a tough task). She listens to our needs and meets them within her cooking. You can taste her passion for cooking in every single bite! Maro's cooking is very diverse and never bores our taste buds. I would recommend her to anyone- besides her cooking, she is extremely professional and very courteous. We are so happy we found Chef Maro via thumbtack and look forward to working with her for a long time! Tanks thumbtack.
Maro's International CuisineMaro's International Cuisine
Thumbtack Customer
We hired Connie to organize a dinner for colleagues that we were meeting at a conference in Denver. That means I did not know the place where the dinner was organized and all the amenities it offered, the exact number of people that were invited, and the exact food habits of our guests until only last minute. Also, this was the first time I used the services of a private chef to organize a dinner and I did not know where to start. Needless to say, Connie organized everything without us having to think about that dinner a lot. By the first email, she made our task very easy. From the way she gave us some flexibility, her reasonable priced menu, and the fine menu options were something we liked among all other chefs I corresponded with. Furthermore, with her italian background she had a genuine and refined taste in the choice of the dinner. I wont get into details on the menu for intellectual property concerns, but I can only attest that it was italian cuisine in its finest. If you do not want to spend time organizing and you want to be sure it will be great, then Connie is your chef. She was able to organize a fine dinner, to deal with an unexpected higher number of guests than what we had as confirmed guests, to deal with the various food habits and to have everybody happy and praising her cooking. It may sound as an exaggeration, but it was the highlight of our conference meeting and I was so happy we chose Connie for our dinner. Connie, thank you so much!!!!
Follow the RuelFollow the Ruel
Jacqueline W.
Jeff was great to work with. He was extremely responsive, adapted the menu based on my preferences and I trusted him fully to cook in our home and prepare a lovely meal for our party. He was professional and is clearly qualified as a high end chef. His restaurant experience is very evident and he didn’t get flustered. He paced our meal perfectly and the plating and details of the presentation were beautiful. Thanks for a great experience!
Chef Jeff G StonekingChef Jeff G Stoneking
Thumbtack Customer
I found Ire a real pleasure to work with. Since I had never utilized a private chef previously I had many questions about prep, menu selection and what support she needed from me. Ire demystified the entire process for me. I expect the entire evening will be a great success since she has been highly recommended by many previous clients including one sports franchise owner in the Denver area.
Green Cuisine Personal Chef ServiceGreen Cuisine Personal Chef Service
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