Wedding and Event Catering

Find a private chef near Atlanta, GA

Find a private chef near Atlanta, GA

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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 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 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 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 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 Atlanta private chefs
Jaye G.
Chef Brad was professional and timely with his private chef service. It was a pleasure welcoming him into our home for our anniversary dinner. The food was absolutely delicious, and we look forward to working with him again in the future.
Chef BradChef Brad
Gregory B.
My Name is Greg Brown, I was looking for a private chef to celebrate my 11yr Anniversary, Chef Sabrina Gallon made our night special an food was absolutely amazing.. The service, punctuality, the warm spirit was just a wonderful experience.. Chef want to Thank You again for an amazing experience.. The Browns..
Good Fork CateringGood Fork Catering
Monique H.
Incredible private dining experience with chef! Hired chef for my husband’s 30th birthday. He was quick to respond when booking, communicated effectively prior to the date, making sure everything was perfect. He arrived on time, was friendly, and made us feel comfortable throughout the whole night. The food was absolutely incredible, please do yourself a favor get the mac and cheese. You will not be disappointed, we highly recommend chef!
Sherman S.
Chef Shane’s food is so good I literally screamed like a child right in front of him when I ate it. He exceeded my expectations by far. I hope to use him for all of my meal needs, whether it’s for events, weddings, or private experiences. You can’t go wrong with Chef Shane.
Adaeze O.
Illiana's service was AMAZING. From beginning to end she was attentive to my concerns and worked with me to create the perfect dinner party. She goes above and beyond your typical private chef and I cannot emphasis enough..she is a yes!
Concierge Chef Events-Chef IlianaConcierge Chef Events-Chef Iliana
Tonya J.
Chef Bree was awesome. My husband enjoyed his private birthday dinner and the food was delicious. Soooo glad I chose her. Thanks soo much for meeting my needs in a short time frame. As I have referred her to a few people already.
Good Fork CateringGood Fork Catering
Nalu S.
I wanted a delicious elegant dinner experience for my 30th birthday and Chef Seasonbay delivered exactly what I was looking for. From the beginning he responded quickly, had great communication and worked with me to come up with the perfect menu. On the day itself he showed up early and got to work. I had never had a private chef before, it was the perfect experience and I was definitely not disappointed. Reach out to him for whatever it is you're planning, you won't be disappointed.
Dewey B.
Hired Chef Brandon for a private dinner for our anniversary. He did a phenomenal job! His professionalism was absolutely the best. Food prepared was so good. Make sure to try his chicken skewers it's oh so good. Everything turned out perfectly. I will definitely be using his services again.
Chef Brandon MooreChef Brandon Moore
Ariana F.
TaNisha was incredible! She made my best friend’s surprise dinner special. She came to the house, cooked, served us, and cleaned up! The best! The food was delicious and she left us wanting more. I would absolutely recommend you hire TaNisha for your catering and private chef services. She will not disappoint. We will definitely hire her again in the future and share with family and friends. Thank you TaNisha!
Delightful Catering by TaNishaDelightful Catering by TaNisha
Aj G.
I booked Chef Iliana for a private dinner at the house for my wife’s birthday. She said the food was absolutely delicious and Iliana was personable and very attentive to the group. 10/10 would book her again for any event we host in the future. To her credit, she did an incredible job with the menu with very minimal input from me (sorry Iliana!). Enjoyed the experience so much that we’re planning to attend the next event in her culinary fight club series in Atlanta.
Concierge Chef Events-Chef IlianaConcierge Chef Events-Chef Iliana
Kushol H.
Chef Bri was hired for my bachelorette to host a private dinner at our airbnb for 12 girls. All I can say is: WOW! The entire event was just amazing. Chef Bri and her assistant showed up in advance to have everything prepped for the party. They were very polite and professional throughout the entire evening. They did a great job accommodating us ladies - for example, bringing the appetizers upstairs to us as we got ready, and also waiting a bit for a couple of late flights to arrive so they were not left out of the experience. Not only that, they both were laughing and friendly with our group and agreed to take photos for us, as well. The food of course, was excellent. We started with fried chicken bites and spinach/cheese flatbread. Then a salad course, followed by salmon, then dessert (cheesecake and rum cake). I was nervous about the red beans at first for the salmon, but it ended up coming together beautifully. As the night got a little late, Chef Bri kindly prepped the rum cake for us to enjoy the next morning. They also both completely cleaned up the kitchen, loaded and started the dishwasher, as well. Not a single item had to be put away! I would HIGHLY recommend using Chef Bri for ANY event!! My only regret is I do not live in Atlanta, or I would be calling her at least once per month for a dinner party!
Good Fork CateringGood Fork Catering
Chuckie M.
Where do I begin!! I wanted to have an unforgettable experience for my wife on our 5th wedding anniversary. I had a hotel room booked for the weekend. I originally was going to have a chef bring the food to the hotel and just serve us there. Jan had an option of using another location with a kitchen and rooftop area for a view beyond words. When we arrived Jan met us downstairs and guided us upstairs to a private condo which she had setup with beautiful flowers, music and the most delicious smelling food ever. As we walked in my wife's waterworks began. There were no words to express how amazing the whole experience was. We had Ribeye steak, with a balsamic glaze, that was cooked medium rare. Jan made the steaks perfectly. I'm a steak guy, this steak made Ruth Chris seem like a meal from Olive Garden. It is very hard to find words to express just how great the entire experience was. From the first conversation to the culmination of our evening. I will be using Jan again for every private date night my wife and I plan on having in the future. Jan went above and beyond. She EXCEEDED ALL EXPECTATIONS!! This was my first time hiring a private and it made me very happy that I did. The view of the Atlanta skyline after dinner was great!! I have included pictures of the meal, dessert and the view. Jan conversed with us as if we were old friends and she made us feel so comfortable in her presence. We thank you immensely and truly hope you enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed you.
Chef Jan HillChef Jan Hill
Ashlee H.
Sooo let me start by saying my overall experience with seasonbay was MORE than what I asked for neither expected. I booked his private chef services for my birthday 3/10 and it was really an experience like no other. Booking with him was a breeze! After the deposit was made to secure my spot, he wasted NO TIME in contacting me to proceed with the services. Not only did he consider the items I wanted for my dinner he also came prepared with a variety of pre-made menus and suggested customer favorites. ( Which was a plus). He arrived on time ready to work and provide EXCELLENT customer service. Even though we were running a little behind schedule ( due to me ) that did not stop the show! The food was superb!!! His homemade Mac and cheese will make you want to slap your mother lol. Even his homemade steak sauce to go over the tenderest steak there is. My red velvet cake was amazing. My bestfriend and I REALLY ENJOYED our time with him. Not only is he a sweet, humble man but he is willing to put his best foot foward in perfecting his craft. I couldn’t have chosen a better chef for my birthday. It truely was a night to remember. If you are interested in TOP QUALITY SERVICE all across the board please look no further. You will not be disappointed !!!
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