A note to our community regarding COVID-19. Learn more
Find a chef near Cary, NC

Find a chef near Cary, NC

19 near you

Find a chef near Cary, NC

19 near you

Give us a few details and we’ll match you with the right pro.

Zip code

Top 10 Chefs near Cary, NC

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.

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.

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 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 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 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.
Reviews for Cary chefs
Leslie S.
My family hired Chef Nico to prepare our Easter Sunday lunch. From prep to clean-up, Chef Nico took care of everything. His food was delicious. We are a family of experienced eaters and we loved every dish. He is creative in his preparations and executes his meals very well. Chef Nico also made a few cocktails for us and they were delicious! I will hire Chef Nico again and I recommend him without hesitation to anyone wanting a delicious meal!
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Matthew was outstanding! He put a great deal of thought and time into planning and preparation and then finished strong with perfect execution. Everyone truly enjoyed our special celebration. I strongly recommend Chef Matthew Hoyes!
Chef Matthew HoyesChef Matthew Hoyes
Ron W.
Outstanding food and great service. Chef Mike is very creative and responsive to our needs (paleo, gluten-free).
Chef Michael McCrayChef Michael McCray
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Darin did a great job for us providing dinner for a party of 10 two nights in a row. Would definitely hire again.
Blackwater Creek Venue and Destination  CateringBlackwater Creek Venue and Destination Catering
Thumbtack Customer
I've hired many people in the past and got ok service but today's experience with chef Mike was great ! Very professional very clean and the food was delicious can't wait to experience this again
Chef Michael McCrayChef Michael McCray
Thumbtack Customer
I had Chef Matthew come and provide a meal for my family for a special occasion. I am a foodie and he lived up to my very high expectations. I highly recommend him!
Chef Matthew HoyesChef Matthew Hoyes
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Matthew prepared a 50th Anniversary tour of my in-laws lives together. He came to my home, prepared all the food, had incredible servers that came and helped with everything else. From setting up, passing food, making sure the punch and wine were refilled and cutting the cake. The food was absolutely amazing and everyone at the party was raving about it. When the party was over, they cleaned up everything. I swear, my oven is cleaner than when he got here!!! They even started a load of kitchen towels in the laundry room. This was an amazing experience with a very talented chef!!! It makes me want to have more parties so that I can hire him again. The cost was a lot less than we had expected also, but we had no idea what something like this would cost. I highly recommend Chef Matthew!!!!!
Chef Matthew HoyesChef Matthew Hoyes
Thumbtack Customer
Zacki and her team did a fabulous job of organizing the catering and decor for a surprise birthday party at my home. They came in 2 hours before event start to set up the decor and lay out an immaculate spread of foods. Her crew included another chef who did some special grilling, a bartender and her assistant, who did a smashing job at presention of the food platters. They also help serve my guests during the party and were simply very professional and impressionable. Zacki and her crew made the event a huge success - and the did a great job at cleaning up at the end of the event, packing all left-overs in a manner that made it easy to the die-hards at the party to continue on. Thank you chef Zacki !!
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Thumbtack Customer
In my search for a personal Chef to prepare the meal for my wife’s Birthday party (of 6) at our home, I took to the internet and found the Thumbtack website. With a few clicks I entered the required information and waited for Chef’s to contact me via email. I was a little skeptical about who would be reaching out to me, and set my on a couple local companies I knew for a quote. I was down to 6 days. Of all the Chef’s I heard from, Chef Nico stood out to me because first he is in the Army and my wife is retired Army, and he didn’t send me to a website to review a thousand menu offerings like everyone else. He sent me a note with a quote and 5 or 6 choices per category. He told me to choose a salad, 2 appetizers, 2 entree and dessert. This made the process so much simpler for my personality. Once I sent him my initial thoughts for the food, I was able to set-up a call with him and discuss all the logistics and finalize a custom dinner offering. He is really easy to talk to and accommodating. He even sent me additional dessert options because although fantastic, the originals were not what I thought she would enjoy the most. We even added a Chef’s table concept so he would interact with the family during the cooking process. About 3 hrs. before the event I texted Chef to let him know my party of 6 was now a party for 7! My son came home for college to attend the party and brought his girlfriend. Chef wasn’t fazed by the last minute change at all and also advised me that he couldn’t find any fresh Calamari so he was switching one appetizer to Coconut shrimp w/ raspberry horseradish. As expected from a military man he and his assistant Sam were on time, made themselves at home in the kitchen and began prepping and preparing the food. With the first bite we knew we would be in for something special. The presentation was first class and the taste was incredible. He was able to chat with the family and talk a little Army with my wife. There were a couple hiccups, but nothing big. I was really impressed at how they managed to set everything up at in our home and how they cleaned it all up before leaving! I would recommend US Army Chef Nico to anyone needing a personal Chef. I plan to use him again. This was much better than any restaurant experience I could have given her.
Thumbtack Customer
My husband and I hosted an intimate corporate gathering at our home last week. I requested that Shawn prepare a small plate global culinary adventure for our guests. He and his lovely wife, Caprice, exceeded our expectations at every level. The food was imaginative and delicious as well as it's presentation. The wine pairings for each plate were perfect! They both attended to our guests with great care without being intrusive. Our guests raved about each aspect of the evening. We are already planning another gathering later this year! Thanks Chef Shawn!
GATHERINGS with Private Chef Shawn, LLCGATHERINGS with Private Chef Shawn, LLC
Ready to find a pro?

See more reviews, compare prices, and hire your favorite pros all with Thumbtack.

Why hire professionals on Thumbtack?
Free to use

You never pay to use Thumbtack: Get cost estimates, contact pros, and even book the job—all for no cost.

Compare prices side-by-side

You’ll know how much your project costs even before booking a pro.

Hire with confidence

With access to 1M+ customer reviews and the pros’ work history, you’ll have all the info you need to make a hire.