Wedding and Event Catering

Find a chef near Atlantic City, NJ

Find a chef near Atlantic City, NJ

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Top 10 Chefs near Atlantic City, NJ

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 Atlantic City chefs
John M.
This is the 9th Family Reunion where we had a Personal Chef for 16 persons. This was the best. The cooperation and the presentation were outstanding. And the meals were to die for! Will definitely be back to Roadhouse and Chef Kelly Clancy again.
Roadhouse CulinaryRoadhouse Culinary
Arcolian L.
We enjoyed our seafood broil catered by chef Anthony. I would recommend to anyone looking to have an event catered.
Everything Food, LLCEverything Food, LLC
Maureen R.
Amazing from beginning to end! We have never hired a private chef before and after this experience we will most definitely do it again. Chef Kelly was so easy to work with, professional and understanding of our wants. She created a perfect menu based on our conversations. We had Caprese appetizers and homemade pizza that were a great way to start the meal. We then had Gorgonzola filet mignons and gnocchi with a side of mashed potatoes for dinner that was so delicious. After dinner we had a strawberry lemonade cake that was amazing! If we are ever within Chef Kelly’s area again we would hire her in a heartbeat. Thank you for making our already wonderful weekend that much more special.
Roadhouse CulinaryRoadhouse Culinary
Songis G.
Firstly, it could only be by a higher power that I was able to use Thumbtack, an app I knew nothing about, to find such a treasure in Chef Anton. Huh! Food make you "wanna smack ya momma!" because you never tasted such mmm! mmm! Goodness! Chef Anton's homemade sauces were finger licking good! From the salad to the mushrooms and onions to the rather large surf & turf to the piece de resistance strawberry flambe', my entire 20 participant party guests were truly satiated. Everything was eaten, then talked about, some saved and then talked about some more. Chef Anton truly outdid himself. He is personable, friendly, honest and very talented. His professionalism equals his heartwarming personality. We will never forget him. Secondly, yeah this is long, but necessary if you want great food and service. Bethanne, you are officially a member of the family. Beyond your excellent service, you took such great care of me and everyone. They couldn't stop talking about your beautiful and happy personality! We fell in love girl! Lastly, but never the least, is Frank, our bartender. Frank, we want to adopt you! Your service and drinks was spectacular! Thanks for my forevermore pink drink you created! Thanks all of you and Chef Anton for making my 50th birthday dinner for friends and family more special and memorable! I will definitely be back for more!
Feast CatererFeast Caterer
Larissa C.
First and foremost, we cut our filet with a butter knife. A dull, hardly ridged, butter knife. The knife you use to cut butter, we cut a juice 8oz, beautifully cut, perfectly seasoned and prepared to exactly the requested medium rare, filet. We were mind blown to say the least. I truly couldn’t give Chef Marie enough stars or write enough words in this review; to even give a glimpse of how PERFECT she made our day! From day one of planning to event day, she was OFF THE CHARTS exceeding every single expectation we had for a personal chef! She listened to us, which was more than the other few chefs we spoke with, she gave feedback and even kindly gave recommendations. She was so considerate that this was new to use and we didn’t really even have a clue about hiring a private chef. She walked us through the whole process, what to expect, when, how, what she does, etc!! We ALL were beyond blown away!!When she showed up and she was very fun and we throughly enjoyed her company; yet she was focused on prepping and cooking! This was a surprise birthday meal for a close friend of ours that has never had a chance to celebrate his birthday to do his career. This was the first time ever he was able to properly celebrate and she made it an EPIC and unforgettable birthday. We were so impressed, so thankful, so pleased, so appreciative and loved every single minute of it! We played loud music and stood for the appetizers, which she didn’t mind at all!! She fit in so well, you would’ve thought she was a close friend of ours! HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY, did I say HIGHLY, recommend!!!! She will blow your mind with her cooking!!!
Proper PalateProper Palate
Joel L.
I would not recommend using this chef’s services. After submitting my request form, Riana reached out to me and we had a conversation about my brunch/dinner event. Everything went well, but there were small things that I should have paid closer attention to that eventually led to bigger problems. She was late with submitting the menu options to me, and in the contract, there were several typos. Even more, when we were discussing menus via text, there was an extended (5+ hours) wait for a response, but I decided to move forward because the price was within my range. A couple days ago, I reached out to Riana via text about making menu changes, and I received no response at all! Everyone checks their phone several times a day. After waiting eight hours, I followed up via email AND NO RESPONSE, but was very active on her Instagram page/story on the same day. This is extremely unprofessional. If you are doing business with someone, communication is key. I do not know her personally and I live three hours away, so it is extremely nerve wracking when you’re planning an event and the chef, the most important person, is purposely unresponsive. I’d recommend finding someone else because you will save a lot of time and frustration. The price may be good and all, but invest in someone who is professional. You should not have to chase your chef down.
Riana MarshallRiana Marshall
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