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Find a chef near Pittsburgh, PA

Find a chef near Pittsburgh, PA

8 near you

Find a chef near Pittsburgh, PA

8 near you

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Top 8 Chefs near Pittsburgh, PA

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 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.

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.
Reviews for Pittsburgh chefs
Lisa F.
Chef Alex was the first Chef we ever hired and he was the perfect chef for us. He prepared us a very tasty fine dining experience in our home.
Savvy ShefSavvy Shef
Amy R.
Taco bar was a huge success 👌! Food was fresh, delicious and Chef Shaun was prompt, professional and reasonably priced! A definite recommend!
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
Thumbtack Customer
Every course of the 5 course meal was outstanding. Attention to detail is impeccable. I will definitely be utilizing chef Jacob in the near future.
Fixated Food Personal Chef & Catering ServicesFixated Food Personal Chef & Catering Services
Maria T.
He is an excellent chef who went out of his way to meet all of our needs! The food was always meticulously prepared and delicious!
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Jacob was excellent! I would highly recommend him to anyone! He made our wedding AMAZING! All our guests raved about the food!
Fixated Food Personal Chef & Catering ServicesFixated Food Personal Chef & Catering Services
Rohan D.
Chef Shaun provided the perfect meal for me and my now fiancé. We are very appreciative for how special he made a very important night in our lives.
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
Thumbtack Customer
Lots of fun! Chef jake made the girls feel included and special. He also made sure to take care of a food allegedly. He brought a staff member to help. A fun night
Fixated Food Personal Chef & Catering ServicesFixated Food Personal Chef & Catering Services
Richelle D.
ShefShaun was professional, laid-back, and thoughtfully listened to and executed our food preferences. We had an awesome experience using him as our event chef and will recommend his services to our friends and family. The food was excellent and we received many compliments from our guests.
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
Karen S.
My sister’s bridal shower/housewarming went off perfectly because of Shef Shaun. Not only was he friendly and energetic, his skills in the kitchen are indescribable! Everything was homemade, delicious, and beautifully prepared. Our guests left happy and full and we couldn’t have asked for a better chef! Thanks!
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
Maya A.
Chef Shaun catered an event for us at Iron Horse Theatre. He worked with us to develop a great menu- the food was flavorful, fresh and unique! He arrived early and set up and was just a joy to work with! I wish I could submit photos- but the food was too popular and we didn’t find time!
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
Vicky O.
A very nice chef, Marina, came to our home and prepared most of the meals here. She was very personable, a lot of fun. We called to have a chef for our stay-cation. My only issue was the use of processed foods and sauces. Something caused a reaction like gluten intolerance two of the three days. Maltodexterin is one ingredient that will do this. Most people don't realize just how much processed foods are used, or how much it can affect others. I would definitely hire again with more specific requests. My fault that I wasn't clear enough about my intolerances. I read all labels carefully and severely limit processed food, but I cannot assume others do.
Twisted ApronTwisted Apron
Victoria g.
Shaun is an excellent chef! We had an 80th bday party for my mother with 14 guests. The menu was creative and well balanced. Every dish was absolutely delicious. Shaun was personable and his presence was an enhancement to the party and certainly not a distraction. Guests raved about the food and have been calling to say what a wonderful evening it was. I was nervous about how hiring a total stranger was going to work out. Shaun far exceeded our expectations. I look forward to hiring him again - you can’t go wrong with Shef Shaun!
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
Donna D.
Shaun exemplifies perfection. I searched for a chef for a special family dinner party when I visited Pittsburgh and found someone who prepared an exquisite meal and also contributed in so many other ways with grace and kindness. Each course was beautifully plated and absolutely delicious. Shaun orchestrated a truly memorable evening for our family ... we will be forever grateful for those memories. I am including photos I took of each course and a photo of Shaun with the matriarch of our family (a mother of 8, who said it was the best meal she had ever had!).
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
Thumbtack Customer
Shaun, Thank you for an outstanding experience. I cannot commend you enough, from your availability (phone, text and scheduling), to your professionalism, and ultimately your chef talent. From the first time we spoke Shaun assisted me in constructing an idea and an evening that was spot on to what I wanted. I gave Shaun only an idea of what I wanted and he was able to run with it and deliver above and beyond what I even imagined. The details of the event were a guy’s night theme for about 8 men who would be hungry and ready to eat. Shaun constructed a menu of hearty dishes that did not disappoint. This included - Large bacon wrapped shrimp - Smoked wings w/ blu cheese - Filet mignon sandwiches with arugula and a horseradish aioli - Lamp lollipops - Potato Salad - Spinach salad with bacon dressing - Baked beans - Corn bread w/ apricot honey butter Every item was a hit on its own. All of this together surpassed any expectations I could have set. Every dish used seasonings and ingredients that made it unlike any we have had before, showcasing Shaun’s talents as a chef. In addition to food preparation and execution Shaun, brought dishes and platters for a rustic guy’s night theme that added to the presentation and atmosphere. Last but not least, Shaun has a warm personality that makes it easy and comfortable inviting him into your home. For us, he blended right with the guys and was just another member of the group. I have no doubt Shaun could blend with any atmosphere at any event. I could not be more pleased with Shaun and Purple Plate, he will receive my highest recommendation and I will be looking for events to use him in the future.
ShefShaun | PurplePlateShefShaun | PurplePlate
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