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Be Your Own Guest
Be Your Own Guest

Be Your Own Guest

Offers remote services
Discounts available
Offers remote services
Discounts available
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Introduction: Be Your Own Guest has proudly been in business since 1997. I offer catering & personal chef services. Although I started my catering business in California, I moved back to Connecticut to assist my aging Mother. Since her passing, I am reopening Be Your Own Guest in Connecticut. I have extensive knowledge of a many cuisines, food restrictions, allergies, special diets and religious preferences. Cooking healthy, organic, sustainable, local is my speciality, but I will always work with my clients' requirements & budget. My company will accommodate 2-50 guests. Not all of my clients were from Thumbtack, I have more glowing reviews I can send you links to. I love planning menus and cooking; hire me and you will be delighted you did!

Hired 20 times

Serves Stratford, CT

Background checked

24 years in business

Payment methods

Cash, Check

This pro indicated that they reviewed CDC safety guidelines for COVID-19 and pledged to do the following:

Maintain 6 feet of distance from customers

Wear masks during the job

Wear gloves during the job

Disinfect surfaces touched during the job

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Exceptional 5.0

8 reviews


Read reviews that mention:

Jill K.

Event Catering (Buffet)

Our company was just acquired and we had our celebration party at my home. I found Mary Ellen via Thumbtack and she exceeded my expectations. The food was awesome, the staff was a joy and the 50 employees, spouses and kids were thrilled. She accommodated a range of dietary needs, the staff jumped when we wanted to have the champagne toast to everyone and my kitchen was cleaner than when they arrived. I would highly recommend Mary Ellen for any event when your need a creative menu (loved the mango quesadillas appetizers and ahi tuna with miso butter sauce) to bring a wonderful meal and excellent service. I truly felt like a special guest in my own home.
Jun 6, 2016
Michaela Y.

Personal Chef

Mary Ellen did a fabulous job. She was so thorough and well-prepared, and most importantly flexible when our dinner party was constantly changing. A huge help! The food was amazing and hot and prompt and she really made our night so wonderful. Highly recommended!
Apr 17, 2016
Annie F.

Event Planning

Mary Ellen and her crew helped me with my 30th birthday party with about 35 guests. She had great suggestions for not only food, but for the logistics of the whole party including rentals, what kind of drinks to buy and how many, etc. They cooked right in our kitchen, and left is spotless at the end of the night. The guests raved about the food, which was mango quesadillas, chicken piccata, salmon, and veggies to name a few. Mary Ellen and her crew were friendly, professional, and very easy to work with -- I would not hesitate to hire them again in the future.
Oct 1, 2015
Shalini B.


Mary Ellen and her colleague were terrific. They helped with more than bar tending - they took charge of the evening(drinks and dinner) and were professional, organized, efficient and so easy to work with. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone, and I will certainly use them again.
Jul 29, 2015
Andy M.

Personal Chef

We had a wonderful evening at our party - Mary's staff were EXCEPTIONAL - I would call it a 4 1/2 but will round up to 5! I would and likely will use them again. The dishes she recommended were loved by everyone. In retrospect, I perhaps could have put forth a more strict guideline about what dish is ready when - but it turned out well and we didn't have to micromanage. For just having a big party - the house is amazingly clean - almost like any other Sunday...
Aug 30, 2015
Background Check

Mary Ellen Duda


  • How did you get started doing this type of work?

    My Mom was a caterer, I began in the family business when I was 10 years old. When I went to college I was the Student Manager of the cafeteria. Since then I have remained in the hospitality business. I began Be Your Own Guest in the late 90's as a caterer. I began cooking as a personal chef in 2008. I love to cook!

  • What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?

    A budget for what you are willing to spend is recommended for parties & personal chef. There are basically 3 types of parties. 1) Served, sit down meal. 2) Buffet meal. 3) All Appetizers (some passed, some staitionary). Knowing which you want helps me with pricing your party. There are different ways to price a personal chef; by the meal, by the hour, or by the day. If you have never hired a personal chef, you will want to discuss this during the interview process.

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