Cheftekar Catering, Consulting and Personal Chef Service

Des Plaines, IL

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About this pro

How does your service stand out?

It's quite simple. Plain and simply, my food is the BEST. I don't need any more niche than that. I don't skimp on ingredients or time it takes to make food great. And since this is a side biz...? I don't charge much. You pay for the ingredients and my time. That's it! Flexibility is another reason my service stands out to my customers. Over the past two years, I've heard many great things about working with me. The one that stands out the most though is how flexible and easy I am to work with. I can adjust anything the customer wants the day before or even the day of an event. Extra guest or two? No problem! Want to add another course? Can do! Need a server? Just ask!

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

I accommodate events from 2 to 200 size and still maintain food quality that stands above the rest. Hearing people tell me who good the food was! Serious! That's what I LIVE for! Hours of toil behind a hot stove for a "wow...(sigh)...this is AMAZING!"
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Location

Des Plaines, IL 60018

Years in business

3

Number of employees

1

Times hired on Thumbtack

23

Reviews

26 Reviews
  • Brian G. Feb 26, 2017
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Personal Chef
    Damien was hired as a personal chef for date night. Everything was outstanding.
  • Annette J. Dec 8, 2016
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    The Best Chef in Town
    Chef Eftekar was extremely professional. He provided great suggestions for food that would compliment the event and paired well with the cocktails being served. He gained our confidence by ensuring us that the amount of food he recommended would leave our guests full and well fed....boy did he deliver!!!! The food was amazing!!!!! Thank you Chef Eftekar!
  • Jeff H. Sep 5, 2016
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Pricell experience that exceeded all our expectations!
    Incredible chef & instructor/teacher! This was a surprise gift... I requested a higher end private chef dinner for my wife for a special occasion .... My wife is a scratch cook... When chef found out that my wife was a scratch cook and woukd be interested observing; he turned the personal chef experience into a cooking class that blew us both away! You have no idea how a true high end chef thinks & leverages their tools of the trade.... It is/was a learning experience my wife and I will ever forget... Chef is also very sharing regarding recipes and the like... And food is extraordinarily delicious for both of us; even though chef had to customize my dish due to a food allergy... I know that chef can cater; and will probably blow your guests away on any budget... And that using him for a private party of 2 with a "lobster" theme was expensive; BUT THE INTANGIBLES OF LEARNING TO COOK AND DINE AUTHENTIC GOURMET FOOD; MAKE THE EXPERIENCE PRICELESS! Chef is the best gift you can give your loved one(s) Hiring this Chef rivals any upscale restaurants' "chefs table" experience! Don't worry about your kitchen; he brings all the pots pans and the like.... If you have the means, you should put chef on your "bucket list" I will hire him again, wife's birthday coming up...
  • Kevin P. Aug 21, 2016
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    If you want a delicious meal by an amazing chef, then Damien is definitely your guy. He prepared an Asian fusion dinner for about 35 friends and family members. His attention to detail, cleanliness, and great personality sets himself apart!
  • Jeff G. Aug 6, 2016
    Chef Eftekhar was an extremely capable professional. He led by example. His repertoire is excellent in a variety of cuisines and techniques. We had over 30 guests. He recommended a wide variety of courses and he accepted our choices without imposing his will in any way. He allowed my guests and me to interact with him as we desired or not. The food was fantastic as he remained flexible to the party and our schedule. Great job. Good value.
  • Valerie W. Jun 29, 2016
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    My fiances 50th birthday party of 11 was fabulous thanks to the fact that I hired Chef Damien. From the first contact he was a pleasure to work with. We wanted a formal 4 course dinner party with French cuisine. He provided a great selection of menu options for all courses. He was great at keeping in touch over the month or more of planning and made me feel very happy and comfortable with progress and planning reports as I was apprehensive!!! His confidence was very calming and much appreciated! He arrived about 5 hours before guests arrival with all of his equipment and set to work. The tuna poke was out of this world and his foie gras dish was simply incredible. He was flexible enough to allow a (pre-chosen) duo of entrees. I had the duck which was the best I have probably ever had, while others had sea bass which was OUT OF THIS WORLD. He was calm, collected, dedicated and did not disappoint. I would highly recommend and hope to hire him again some day!
  • Robyn F. Apr 4, 2016
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Damian Rocked it!!!! He was so accommodating from the very first phone call we had. He also was willing to make changes at the last minute when some of our guests requested gluten free and vegetarian options. Nothing rattled him. Damian is a gem. The food was delicious and he was lovely to work with. I couldn't say enough good things.
  • Emily P. Mar 28, 2016
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Easter dinner for a party of 20 was handled with ease and grace. The food was outstanding in preparation, taste, and presentation. I highly recommend Damien to be a personal chef for anyone looking to wow their guests. He is clean and timely and comes prepared and truly has a passion for food and will exceed all of your expectations. Everyone will be talking about this for a long time. Thank you!
  • Heather H. Jan 13, 2016
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Food and service was fantastic!! Damien even helped in making some cocktails :) His homemade pasta was absolutely delicious! It was a great experience for my friends and I. Thanks Chef!
  • Catherine H. Jan 7, 2016
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    I hired Damien as a special gift for my parent's 35th anniversary. He was so wonderful to work with and my parents had an incredible time!!! The food was terrific, they loved Damien and felt like they were on "Downton Abbey". :) "I want to thank each of you for creating a wonderful evening for mom and me. After 35 years we've had many memorable times together and this is one of the best. Many many thanks." -- text from my Dad regarding the dinner. Thank you Damien!!
  • Krista K. Nov 19, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Chef Damien was a pleasure to work with! I would highly recommend his services. We hosted a group of 18 for a formal four course birthday dinner at our home, and Chef Damien delivered in every aspect. Actually, he didn't just deliver- he surpassed our expectations. I should mention that I work in the hospitality industry, and that half of our dinner guests also work in the industry. Needless to say people had high expectations. Everyone was thoroughly impressed with Damien's friendly nature, cool demeanor and his warm hospitality. Not to mention the food was amazing! He really went above and beyond for us. We all felt like he was an old friend by the end of the night. Chef was totally flexible with changes and ran with everything we threw at him. It felt like he was having as much fun planning and delivering the meal as I was. Sometimes chefs can be a little touchy, or protective of their vision- in the way an artist might be. While I definitely qualify Damien as an artist in the kitchen, he was never touchy or negative. He was always super humble, kind and willing to go the extra mile. His passion for food and people is evident in his service. I would hire him again in a heartbeat!
  • Kelly M. Oct 13, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Damien cooked for my daughters Christening celebration 13 adults and 10 children, the food was delicious, everyone enjoyed it! Damien was easy to work with, plan menu etc. he showed up early, and cleaned everything up. Definitely plan on hiring him again! So much tastier and less stressful than handling myself.
  • Marcio M. Oct 12, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    B-day dinner with friends and family. Damien came in very early to make sure everything was prepared right, more than a chef he is now a friend! The dinner was fantastic! He took the time to explain to me and guests tricks to get the special taste on every single plate he prepared. He was also kind enough to join some musicians and share his guitar skills with the group and guests. Overall a 5 star chef. Excellent experience!
  • Eric V. Sep 15, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    We had Chef Damien cook for a team dinner at our rented condo during a trade show. He was was like having an old friend over for dinner - that also happened to cook everything! The food was excellent and we had a really fun time.
  • Laura H. Aug 12, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
  • John B. Jul 28, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Damien is a talented chef with a real passion for creating great food. We'd definitely hire him again and we highly recommend him.
  • Yvonne S. Jun 10, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    I found Damien at very short notice for our dinner party. He was very accommodating. On the night of the dinner party the food was amazing!!!! We had such a wonderful time and Damien is wonderful. Thanks again for the amazing food and service!!!
  • Teneshia M. Jun 9, 2015
    Damien was a pleasure to work with and provided great customer service. We hired him to prepare a dinner for 5 couples (10 people total) in Lynwood, IL. The menu included prime rib, asparagus, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, as well as a signature margarita drink. The food was sensational! I'm still dreaming about the prime rib! The asparagus were nice and crispy and the creamed spinach was smooth and yummy. Damien arrived on time, was very accommodating and interacted with everyone casually, it was as if he were a friend visiting. I'm definitely going to use Damien's personal chef services again very soon!
  • Stephanie J. Jun 9, 2015
    Just had a dinner party with some friends on June 6,2015. First off the food was amazing!!!! Everything tasted fresh and you could feel the luv in the buttery Yukon Gold Potatoes!! Tender flavorful Prime Rib with just the right amount of seasoning😋😋 the best part is he also cleaned up the kitchen afterwards!! Well worth the money!!! Would definitely use him again!!! Thanks Damien👌
  • Jamie F. Jun 9, 2015
    Damien was truly Awesome! The meal was for a total of 10 people we had plenty. We had prime rib, mash potatoes, asparagus and cream spinach for dinner. Also he made some to die for Margaritas and bruschetta for an appetizer. He brought everything he needed and cleaned up afterwards. The food was very tasty and delicious! I will absolutely be using him in the future!
  • Win B. Jun 9, 2015
    Damien prepared the most delicious meal for our couples night event! We will definitely hire him again!
  • Jannine J. May 11, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Chef Damien Eftekhar was the personal chef for our Mother's Day brunch at my mother-in-law's house for a party of 15. He was spectacular. All age groups agreed that the food was outstanding - grandparents, adults, teens, little kids. Chef Damien was extremely professional in all aspects of the event. Fast response, great suggestions for menu selection, flexible in menu changes and willing to prepare anything asked. Hardworking and professional on the job. Friendly and easy to work with. Upfront with the costs and any changes to the original quote. Very helpful in making adjustments to stay within budget. This was our first experience with a personal chef and it was terrific. We would definitely hire Chef Damien again (and have already started making plans to do so).
  • John P. Jan 20, 2015
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    Damien did a four person dinner and lesson for our family. He was knowledgeable, personable, and easy to work with. We learned a lot and ate exceptionally well. Our family fully recommends Damien and will work with him again!
  • Frank L. Dec 28, 2014
    Personal Chef
    Verified Review
    I hired Damien for my mother's 70th birthday party. He exceeded my expectations in every regard. From start to finish, all plates were made with the utmost skill and attention. This event was not an easy assignment. He prepared appetizers, soup, salad, 4 different entrees and dessert for 12 people, all done to perfection. The food was delicious, the presentation was beautiful. His skill and passion made my mom's party a great success. I highly recommend Damien for your next event!
  • Tana S. Nov 10, 2014
    Damien catered a 60th birthday party for me. He served an authentic Mexican meal with freshly made salsas, carne asaga with tortillas and all the trimmings including his own special margaritas!! Damien was exceptionally easy to work with. He anticipated what I needed and stayed well within budget.
  • Matthew F. Nov 9, 2014
    Chef Eftekhar catered tapas-style for my wedding and he was truly outstanding! Arranging the details was a rather pleasant experience in which he listened well to our wants/needs and made fabulous suggestions that fit our (relatively tight) budget. And we loved our menu! With dishes like Bruschette Tre Amici and Asian-Styled Pulled Pork Sliders, there was nothing plain or predictable about the food he served to our guests which felt very personalized and "us". My and my wife's only regret is that we didn't get to eat more of it!
    Damien E. Nov 10, 2014

    Matt, catering your wedding was as much a pleasure as watching you two lovebirds tie the knot! I am honored to have helped start your lives off with some great food! Best wishes to you both!

Q&A

What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I make it easy. I ask the customer what they wish to eat since I can make pretty much anything. If they aren't sure yet what they want, I offer them a sample menu of several seasonal menu items to choose from. From there, they tell me what they what and I quote a price. Simple
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have an associates degree in culinary arts from Kendall College (one of the top 5 culinary schools in the U.S.) and a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. As Executive Chef of Research and Development for Harvest Food Group, I DO stay up on the latest food trends :) I work with marketing executives to see what the latest restaurants and food trucks are doing. I am also a member of IFT (Institution of Food Technologists) so I take courses to stay up on trends and food safety. I also attend many trade shows throughout the year where I rub elbows with other companies doing cool stuff
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
Nope. It's really quite simple. Tell me what you want to spend and I'll blow you away with good food no matter what your budget.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I grew up in a food-focused family. My father traveled with us a lot. As I began to eat the world from a very young age, my desire grew to learn to cook. Then when I realized that I also loved making people happy, cooking became a natural career path...ok so...that's all true but...I also have five kids to feed so yea...the extra cash certainly doesn't hurt >_
What types of customers have you worked with?
I've done all types. Catered weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, corporate dinners, consulted small businesses on recipe development and been a private chef for wine dinners or private parties. They say that love is the international language...I say it's food. Nobody loves everybody...but everybody loves food :)
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I'd have to say that the most fun project I've done recently is the 7 course tasting menu I did for my boss. Though not hired off of thumbtack, it was some of the best food I'd ever made. The Pekin Duck Salad with Bacon Lardons and Cherry Gastrique was amazing. So was the White Gazpacho with Shrimp Ceviche. Needless to say, the boss knew he'd hired the right guy :) I also recently did a six course French menu with seared foie gras and apricot rhubarb chutney, miso-glazed chilean sea bass, classic duck a l'orange and truffled carrot and parsnip fries
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Everything is negotiable! You haven't gotten a good deal until it's a good deal to YOU! Sure. Hiring a personal chef can be expensive. I'm not going to lie and I make no apologies for this. But the personalized service I give my customers is second to none. Look at it this way. It'll be expensive no matter what. But doesn't it feel good to know that the food was so good, it was worth every penny? Don't you HATE IT when you go to a seemingly "fancy" restaurant, order a $40 entree and it tastes like prison slop? What a HORRIBLE feeling when you're obligated to pay for something that just SUCKS. Won't happen with me. Why? First, my markup is usually lower than that of a restaurant. I don't have all the overhead costs that a restaurant does. Second, I won't sell you on a more expensive dish just because it's more expensive. I'll sell you on the tastiest dish. Case in point; many customer ask for filet mignon and I am happy to oblige of course. On a tighter budget? Go for hangar steak or good-quality grass fed skirt steak. Just as good if not better and the price is lower. Thinking of going with halibut? Good choice!...But wild-caught American red snapper is cheaper and delicious. It's never frozen and the market I get it from gets it shipped in almost daily from Florida. It's like playing in a band with a mature musician. There's wankers out there that can flawlessly play Van Halen riffs behind their back with one hand...but a GOOD guitar player knows how to tweak his tone just right...hit the strings with just the right amount of feel...and can shake the heavens with a tastefully executed three-note blues riff.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Customers should have a clear understanding of what their expectations are for the budget they are planning for the event. When I know what their budget is, I can usually offer something great in their price range. I've NEVER had a customer feel that they didn't get what they paid for (after all...twenty-one 5-Star Reviews don't lie!) I'm not in the business of ripping people off; which is why when we've decided on the menu (which up to this point, there is no charge for developing a menu), I tell them the price per person up front. No hidden gratuity, no hidden fees, no extras and no B.S! Price too high? I'll ALWAYS work with someone to get the price where they want it because I want my customers to feel like they're getting a great deal. If they wish to add more courses or guests, not a problem. I'll let them know right away of any change in price. I also want my customers to know how much I truly do care about how good the food is, how much I really desire to make people happy and make their events GREAT. It isn't just a job...food is my passion and I believe the better the food...the better memories.