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Find a chef near Raleigh, NC

Find a chef near Raleigh, NC

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Find a chef near Raleigh, NC

19 near you

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Top 10 Chefs near Raleigh, 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 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.

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.

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 Raleigh chefs
Thumbtack Customer
The food was delicious! Such an awesome experience that I would highly recomend. This was my first time hiring a personal chef, but I'd definitely hire Chef Nico again.
Thumbtack Customer
I wanted to surprise my wife with a nice candlelight dinner. I contacted Chef Lemar and told him some foods that my wife enjoys. He responded within a day with a great menu! We made a couple of tweaks but it was completely due to preferences. I would recommend Chef Lemar not only for the food but also the price. He made some of the best food I have had and he was by far the most reasonable in regards to price. If you need a personal chef in the triangle area, go with Chef Lemar. I promise you won't be disappointed!
Taste' Personal Chef ServicesTaste' Personal Chef Services
Priscilla A.
Omg what an amazing meal on a very short notice. I called Chef Nico on Tuesday morning and had a four course meal with 2 amazing signature drinks on Wednesday night. Me and 4 of my girlfriends just wanted a quiet night of hanging out and chatting with no expectations. Chef Nico delivered big time. Food was like something out of a high dollar restaurant. Highly highly recommend Chef Nico.
Gina H.
Emma is a wonderful chef! We have used her services twice now and look forward to more meals!
Em’s CateringEm’s Catering
Aysha R.
Stephanie is a fantastic pastry chef! HIGLY RECOMMEND HIRING HER! I got my bag for buck and then some tasty cake :)
S. Richardson CakesS. Richardson Cakes
Nicole G.
I adored our chef and she did a wonderful job. My family was impressed.. I look forward to more dishes!
The Grand Services, LLC.The Grand Services, LLC.
Jimmy B.
Chef Matthew prepared a lovely dinner for 10 to celebrate my wife's birthday. Everything was visually stunning and delicious. Best of all, the kitchen was spotless when he was done.
Chef Matthew HoyesChef Matthew Hoyes
Thumbtack Customer
My wife was turning 40 and I wanted to do something special for this occasion. We hired Chef Matthew to prepare a meal for about 15 friends and the experience could not have been better. From the planning to the execution of the 5 star meal, Matthew was a consummate professional. His meal was filled with delightful tastes and culinary creativity. My wife and friends were blown away. We are so happy we chose Chef Matthew!
Chef Matthew HoyesChef Matthew Hoyes
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Zacki and her assistant Shana were a pleasure to deal with. Food and drinks were excellent. Her stories were very entertaining and informative. I would highly recommend her.
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Katie W.
Chef Mike was amazing. He catered to all our requests and came up with the most wonderful menu we could have ever dreamed of. From the service to the food, everything was perfect! Will definitely be having him back for more experiences!
Chef Michael McCrayChef Michael McCray
Thumbtack Customer
I had chef Lemar serve my wife and I private dinner for our anniversary. He offered a variety a selections for each course and the food was very good and very affordable. We will definitely be hiring him for other events in the future.
Taste' Personal Chef ServicesTaste' Personal Chef Services
Kimberly W.
Although my event was canceled chef Zacki was extremely responsive and prompt. She was willing to go the extra mile to make my catering personalized and ensure we had what we needed even last minute. I sincerely appreciate the attention you gave me. Thank you!!
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Thumbtack Customer
My husband turned 50 this year, and we decided it would be fun to have a chef come to our home (July 5, 2014) to cook a wonderful meal for our family of 5 plus our extended family. Wow!!! What an amazing experience and wonderful birthday celebration! Chefs Alex, Leo, and their assistant, Ashanta, were incredible to work with. I found them on Thumbtack, and was a little nervous going in. They instantly put me at ease with their great ideas, their awesome personalities, and their aim to please. It was so easy to work with them from start to finish. They planned and grocery shopped in just 5 days (I unfortunately did not give them much advance notice.) Our menu was incredible. We started the evening with delicious appetizers, including brie in croute with raspberry – served with assorted crackers, shrimp, homemade salsa and guac, chicken Florentine roulade on crackers, and bruschetta on crostini. All beautifully presented and delicious! Next, we were seated for salads (bowls made of cucumber!), and then our entrees. Amazing presentation, and everything was delectable. For dinner, our guests had the choice of filet --or mahi with mango salsa. The entrees were served with mashed potatoes and green beans. Again – amazing flavor and presentation. Clean plates all around. After dinner, we were treated to an incredible assortment of desserts – pear and blueberry cobbler, lemon meringue tartlets, chocolate torte, and meringue with chocolate kisses. We were in heaven. Our guests were so pleased and impressed with everything and kept complimenting the chefs throughout the evening. After each course, Alex, Leo, and Ashanta were so great about cleaning up and making sure we were happy. They went above & beyond to make sure we got exactly what we wanted out of our catering experience. They expertly handled every detail -- even last-minute floral arrangements. (Beautiful and affordable!) AV Catering was everything I had hoped for (and more!) in a chef/caterer. I would highly recommend them to anyone who was looking for a great chef/catering company for their event. -- Ronnie G.
AV GOURMET Catering and Wedding ServicesAV GOURMET Catering and Wedding Services
Jermaine T.
Messaged Ms Phyllis on thumbtack for my wife birthday . Not only did I get a instant response but she drove in from 2 hrs Away , was very professional & she prepared a top notch 5 Star for my wife & I as if we were at a prestigious restaurant.. kudos to the chef . I highly recommend her services & definitely plan on using her service again .
Carolina Kitchen and PantryCarolina Kitchen and Pantry
Quilla J.
OMG! Where do I begin. Emma was AMAZING. We were celebrating a late Valentine's Day and she was perfect. We needed Emma as a personal, intimate evening chef for 2. She arrived on time and instantly got to work. She allowed us privacy while also engaging in conversation. Emma was AMAZING. The aroma coming from the kitchen was something I later laid in bed wishing I could smell over and over. And let's not talk about the FOOD!! OMG. On our evening menu was TENDER, JUICY, AND SUCCULENT Chicken Breast, along with Green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes. AND OMG! It was nothing like we had never tasted before. Emma is truly a Gem and is great at what she does. She has an amazing story to share and would definitely recommend her to ANYONE. We will be using her for all of our future catering and personal chef needs.
Em’s CateringEm’s Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Amazing evening with chef Lemar! I planned a 9-person family birthday dinner for my brother's 25th birthday, so we had a mix of younger people and grandparents-which also meant a mixture of foodies and some less adventurous eaters- and Lemar delivered the perfect meal! He and I worked on the menu together- I gave him an idea of what we'd like, and he came back with several suggestions that could work for each course. The menu turned out perfectly and everything flowed together nicely. He made the most delicious cheesecake with strawberries and chocolate graham crackers, and the birthday boy was very happy! I highly recommend having Lemar come cook, and one of the best things is coming into the kitchen and seeing everything clean and packed away- such a treat! I had such a great experience with Chef Lemar that i would love to purchase one of his packages for a certain number of dinners per year (those are on his website). Thank you Lemar!!
Taste' Personal Chef ServicesTaste' Personal Chef Services
David K.
Chef Zacki worked with me through several changes to get to a final menu that accommodated all the various likes and dislikes of 13 guests... - no small feat! The meal was enjoyed immensely by all who attended. The variety and quality of the appetizers were particularly impressive. The Coq au Vin w/wide noodles entree was delicious and filling. ...And everyone loved the dessert - not a crumb was left behind, despite the generous portions of entree everyone had just consumed.
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Heather M.
Maggie was an incredible caterer to work with! I'm so glad she reached out to me. My husband and I are vegan, so it was important to us to find a caterer that could create tasty, plant-based food for our wedding. Maggie was able to craft a menu with dishes from around the world and we received a ton of compliments during dinner from our guests on the food. From grandparents, to fellow vegans, the food was a hit! She and her team exceeded my expectations and helped make our wedding a night to remember :) Thank you Chef Maggie!
Comfort CuisineComfort Cuisine
James M.
I hired Chef Matthew for my wife’s birthday. He catered to several food allergies without blinking an eye. The portions were perfect and all the courses complemented each other providing a truly gourmet experience. I wanted my wife’s birthday to be a relaxing and memorable experience. Matthew knocked it out of the park. We communicated regularly and he came by to check out our kitchen, formal dining area and the flow of the house. He brought in staff and provided everything. There were 12 people in our dinner party. No glass was ever empty and the food was as beautiful as it was delicious. I can not recommend him enough. I will definitely have Matthew at our next party.
Chef Matthew HoyesChef Matthew Hoyes
Amber B.
I recently used Zacki’s Creations to come into our home and prepare a Mother’s Day brunch for a group of 10 adults and 3 little ones. Zacki was extremely responsive to my initial request for a quote, and very helpful in offering suggestions when creating a menu. The food was delicious with blueberry pancakes made fresh and hot off the griddle, egg and sausage casserole straight from the oven, a fresh fruit platter, and fresh mandarin orange mimosas. In addition to giving me the chance to be a guest at our family get together, she invited my 5 year old son and 4 year old niece to help as her “sous chefs” in the kitchen and they had a blast being her little helpers. I would definitely recommend Zacki to anyone who is looking to host an event in their home without having the added pressure and stress of preparing/cooking the meal so that you may enjoy your visit with friends and loved ones.
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
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