Wedding and Event Catering

Find a chef near Nomad, NY

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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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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 Nomad chefs
Dimitrios P.
Great chef!
Global Chefz Catering And Private Chef Services...Global Chefz Catering And Private Chef Services...
Kristen F.
Chef David cooked a beautiful 30th birthday meal for me and a few friends. Every dish was better than the next and the chef was very accommodating to our dietary restrictions! I would book chef David 100 times over!!
Chef David FeldmanChef David Feldman
Stephen B.
Chef Josh was fantastic, he’s so personable and a fantastic chef. We can’t wait to have him back for our next night
AfterToday CookingAfterToday Cooking
Dwight M.
amazing chef. 5 stars
Chef David FeldmanChef David Feldman
Arleen T.
Chef was wonderful. Extremely pleased
S.G.S Catering & Private Chef Services LLCS.G.S Catering & Private Chef Services LLC
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Chris prepared a lovely meal for my wife and I on her birthday. Chris was very professional, personable and an amazing chef! Highly recomended!
NY Catering Service & Personal ChefNY Catering Service & Personal Chef
Zoe E.
Amazing dinner and experience with Chef Ryan!
Ask Chef RyanAsk Chef Ryan
Dimitri R.
Chef Charly is an amazing and talented chef. From the food presentation, menu selection to the taste buds all was perfect at my dinner. Having traveled around the world and eaten in many Michelin-starred restaurants and the best restaurants in NY, Chef Charly is at that level of talent and professionalism. I strongly recommend him for small or large group dinners. Looking forward to many more dinners with Chef Charly.
Pauline E.
Wonderful experience! Excellent chef to hire, you will not be disappointed!
Private Chef Matt BoffaPrivate Chef Matt Boffa
Lisa H.
My company really enjoyed the food. Chef James was on time and very nice. As soon as he took the food out of the crate, the room was filled with a wonderful aroma. Someone kiss the Chef!
Passionate Chef LLCPassionate Chef LLC
Gina B.
Chef Pearl, THANK YOU! At the last minute, my current pastry chef was unable to accommodate my corporate party needs. I turned to Thumbtack to locate a chef in the area. As an event coordinator, I have clients all over the country, so I was relying on Thumbtack to help me find a great pastry chef near the venue. Although the deadline was tight, and it's during the holiday season, Chef Pearl was happy to help make it happen! After we communicated at length via Thumbtack, we set up a time to chat on the phone to solidify details, and our cookies were delivered to the venue on time, beautifully decorated and packaged, and delicious! My client and I are very happy, and I certainly highly recommend Chef Pearl! Thank you again!
Make my Pastry, LLCMake my Pastry, LLC
Chad C.
I had high expectations for Chef David and he blew my expectations out of the water. I hired Chef David for my wife's birthday. He came on time, was extremely friendly and followed all COVID guidelines including wearing a mask for the entire night. The food was delicious and Chef David helps customize several items to meet my wife's restrictive diet. I could not recommend Chef David more as this was a birthday my wife and I will always remember.
Chef David FeldmanChef David Feldman
Alondra M.
Highly recommend Chef Jeffrey for his multi course tasting menu experience! We did a private dinner birthday celebration. It couldn’t have been better! Thank you Chef
JP Fine Foods LLCJP Fine Foods LLC
Gabrielle S.
Chef Jeffery and his crew are great! We did a private dinner for my birthday multi course tasting menu. Everything was delicious and beautifully plated! This chef knows what he is doing!
JP Fine Foods LLCJP Fine Foods LLC
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Lauren is fantastic. The food, presentation, service all was outstanding. Our guests raved about everything. Also, Chef is an expert at laying out the rooms to create a wonderful experience. Highly, highly recommended.
Bacco Catered EventsBacco Catered Events
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Stenneth was great all around and provided a lovely evening.
S.G.S Catering & Private Chef Services LLCS.G.S Catering & Private Chef Services LLC
Gillian G.
I cannot say enough good things about Chef Ryan, and Chef David. They catered, and taught!, a sushi birthday party & were phenomenal. Total professionals & I look forward to hiring again!
Ask Chef RyanAsk Chef Ryan
Manfred L.
Chef Germaine is out of this world. It is not everyday you find people like her. The food was the bomb, the service was impeccable and she is amazing to be around. She is now my only chef for any event I am throwing.
Chef Germaine Batiste  -   Executive Chef/OwnerChef Germaine Batiste - Executive Chef/Owner
Alexander Z.
Chef Ellen was fantastic. Her food offerings, presentation and timing surpassed all expectations and established a new standard for our organization's corporate events. As an organizer I really appreciated Chef Ellen's calm demeanor and professionalism.
Renegade OutpostRenegade Outpost
Thumbtack Customer
We were really excited to use Most Wanted Chef for a company holiday party, but unfortunately we never heard back after the initial phone call. The chef said she would email menu details and when I reached out to her again asking for more information, she promised to email same day yet never followed through. Coming from someone who is also a chef in food service (pastry chef), I understand the process of catering and know a response, any response, is always appreciated.
Most Wanted Chef LLCMost Wanted Chef LLC
Hatty O.
My family and I enjoyed and loved the food made by Chef Rasheem.
Rasheem Food With FlavorRasheem Food With Flavor
Jake R.
Amazing chef & delicious food! Can't go wrong hiring her. :)
Michael B.
Chef Stenneth and team did an amazing job! The team put together an amazing menu and the food was delicious! The Chef was easy to work with, responsive, innovative and professional. The team was professional, fun and attentive. We had a sit down plated meal for close to 30 guests. The desserts were just as amazing as the food. I have worked with Chefs most of my career and I wish I could work with them more often. All these arrangements were made from out of state and I was not nervous at all. You're in good hands with this chef and team!
S.G.S Catering & Private Chef Services LLCS.G.S Catering & Private Chef Services LLC
Paul R.
Chef Jeffrey really knocked it out of the park! We found JP Fine Foods on the internet and read reviews. We hired Chef for a 40 person cocktail party with passed hor douerves as well as a bartender. Everything was outstanding!
JP Fine Foods LLCJP Fine Foods LLC
Rob c.
Chef Jeffrey was outstanding! He blew us away with an amazing crew, great energy, great service, and most importantly beautiful delicious food! We will definitely use Chef Jeffrey again for our private dinner affairs.
JP Fine Foods LLCJP Fine Foods LLC
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