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Find a chef near Alexandria, VA

Find a chef near Alexandria, VA

59 near you

Find a chef near Alexandria, VA

59 near you

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Top 10 Chefs near Alexandria, VA

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.

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.

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 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.

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 Alexandria chefs
William D.
If you don't experience Chef Tony at least once in your life, you are truly missing out on a wonderful experience. Chef Tony is the most knowledgeable chef and sommelier that I've met. The food was of the highest quality and the conversation was excellent!!
Tony Lawrence - Global Wine ChefTony Lawrence - Global Wine Chef
Thumbtack Customer
Private chef for a wedding/baby shower for a client with special food requests (Autoimmune Paleo Diet). Chef was eager to work with food restrictions and had a fantastic attitude. Guests loved the food and raved about their interactions with the chef. Would hire again in a heartbeat.
Pure Kitchen Culinary ConceptPure Kitchen Culinary Concept
Senodja S.
Chef Chrissy was outstanding!! We hired Exotic Chef Catering for an Open House last Saturday and without a doubt they were the star of the event! Presentation of food, tastiness, service, etc. All aspects were amazing! Guests were still raving about them days afterwards. Thanks Chef Chrissy for making the event a tremendous success! We highly recommend Exotic Chef Catering for your next function. We plan to use them again and again! Thanks!
The Exotic Chef (Personal Chef &Catering Services)The Exotic Chef (Personal Chef &Catering Services)
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Chef Matt as a personal chef for my wife and I, 20th wedding anniversary dinner. We were extremely pleased. Aside from the superb food, Chef Matt was very organized, very professional and soooo friendly and personable. My guests loved his interaction and couldn't stop talking of how great the experience.
Chef Matt Finarelli, LLCChef Matt Finarelli, LLC
Thumbtack Customer
I had a dinner party for 6 for my father's birthday. I worked with Chef Serge to pick a multi-course menu. Making the arrangements was really easy. Chef Serge and his sous-chef were on time and dinner was delicious. Portions were not too big, which is great. Chef Serge cleaned up and the whole thing was very easy. I will definitely do this again for special occasions. I like to cook but never get to fully enjoy dinner parties because I'm busy worrying or working. Thanks!
Pure Kitchen Culinary ConceptPure Kitchen Culinary Concept
Dominique W.
We reserved the Exotic Chef for brunch and we all loved it! She was very professional and easy to work with. The food was definitely a 10/10 with no complaints from my friends and I. I would definitely recommend The Exotic Chef again!!
The Exotic Chef (Personal Chef &Catering Services)The Exotic Chef (Personal Chef &Catering Services)
Jackie W.
Chef Serge was awesome! We hosted a birthday event for a good friend (7 guests) and had a great time. We had 6 small plates all delicious and then crepes! Who knew such great food could be prepared in our tiny kitchen! Thank you Chef!
Pure Kitchen Culinary ConceptPure Kitchen Culinary Concept
Marcus D.
What a wonderful experience! I chose Chef Serge for my girlfriend's surprise birthday, and he more than delivered. From his responsiveness, to selecting the right dinner items, to his jovial interaction with us during dinner, it was a 5-star experience. Learning about his journey from being a chef in France to his experience in the states made us VERY excited to eat, and the food nothing less than DELICIOUS! I'd work with Chef Serge again with no hesitation.
Pure Kitchen Culinary ConceptPure Kitchen Culinary Concept
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Serge did an excellent job. He arrived on time and prepared a fabulous meal for me friend and I. He explained each course, the ingredients and how it was prepared. This was a private dinner in my home and we found his service and preparation of the food was exquisite. Excellent job Chef!!!
Pure Kitchen Culinary ConceptPure Kitchen Culinary Concept
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Paul was professional, punctual and produced an excellent dinner. We certainly will use his services again in the future.
Chef Paul KennedyChef Paul Kennedy
Thumbtack Customer
After agreeing to the service, the chef did not provide the service. This created an inconvenience for me as I am now left without a provider.
Chef Kwon Crumble LLCChef Kwon Crumble LLC
Thumbtack Customer
The chef was rude and in insulting in his communications. I do care how good his food is, you should not let a rude person into your home.
Chef Matt Finarelli, LLCChef Matt Finarelli, LLC
Jonathan O.
Great food at a great value especially in our COVID era. Love the professionalism and the chef staying in constant contact to customize a meal for us and give us updates on timing and next steps
AG The ChefAG The Chef
Thumbtack Customer
Chef PK was absolutely AMAZING!!! The presentation was out of this world. Customer Service on a scale 1-5 was a 6!! Excellent. I will definitely be using and recommending his services! Overall everything was great!
Chef Paul KennedyChef Paul Kennedy
Jimmy O.
Despite her poor taste in jollof rice 😂🤣#naijajollofnodeycarrylast. Chef Chrissy executed on the appetizers we wanted for our small event. I look forward to working with her in the near future.
The Exotic Chef (Personal Chef &Catering Services)The Exotic Chef (Personal Chef &Catering Services)
Sean D.
This is one of the reviews you dither about writing, because you don't want a superb chef to become so popular that he's unavailable for later events! That said, hiring Chris was the best decision for a memorable milestone birthday celebration. He was prompt, responsive, and professional, and above all, the food and presentation were second to none. This was our first experience with a private chef, but we would without hesitation hire Chris again for another special evening. He is truly a diamond in the rough.
Chris WindleChris Windle
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Matt is a great chef and incredibly organized. He has made meals for our family a breeze. We're enjoying more dinners together, and my husband and I have more free time to spend with each other and our children. I feel good about the food we're all eating now. It's fresh and flavorful. I appreciate that we have a couple days to place our order for the week and that all meals and sides come neatly packaged and labeled. I continue to be impressed week after week!
Chef Matt Finarelli, LLCChef Matt Finarelli, LLC
Thumbtack Customer
Such a great expierience. The food was truly yummy and Chef Matt personally delivered the food and put everything away in my fridge! I plan to continue this service as I am able to serve delicious meals to my family while spending very little time in the kitchen and more time with them sitting around the table.
Chef Matt Finarelli, LLCChef Matt Finarelli, LLC
Terez T.
Chef Chris made a 3-course dinner for us at our weekend getaway location. Everything was delicious, seasoned well and the presentation was perfect. He brought everything he needed and cleaned up everything after we was done. We look forward to having him prepare something for us again in the near future.
Chris WindleChris Windle
Victoria K.
Sandra is the best chef I have ever experienced. Everything about the event FAR exceeded my expectations. She added special touches such as a printed menu, ice cubes with edible flowers inside, had her staff take pictures. I will never consider another caterer ever again. Pure perfection!
Creative Visions Cuisine, LLCCreative Visions Cuisine, LLC
Kimberly F.
We were blown away by our experience last night. Chef Karida served us an absolutely delectable Five Star Cusine. The food flavors, coupled with her professionalism and kind demeanor made this an Anniversary of a lifetime. We're already discussing the next event we can hire Sweet Bazil for. Thanks for a great experience!
Sweet Bazil, llcSweet Bazil, llc
Jasmin H.
It was an absolute pleasure working with Chef Scott! From day one, he worked to help me create a specialized menu that would fit the needs of both myself and the guests. He played a large role in adding to the success of my event, and I was reminded repeatedly by those in attendance that the food was spectacular :) I look forward to using his services again in the future!
Chef Scott SunshineChef Scott Sunshine
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Paul was excellent! I threw a surprise birthday party for my wife that Paul cooked for and everyone was thoroughly impressed. We did the 6 course tasting menu and had so much food that we could barely finish the dessert, I don't think I ate the entire next day. We will absolutely be using Paul's service in the future, thank you Paul for such a wonderful event.
Chef Paul KennedyChef Paul Kennedy
Gill M.
Just amazing. Not just a chef, but an entire experience. He heard me talk about my vision, and executed it even better than what I envisioned. He was charming with the guests, respectful of our requests, and left my kitchen immaculate. The food was abundant, colorful, delicious, and enjoyed by everyone. I had my military promotion party catered for about 40 people, and about 60 showed up, and it was still amazing. My absolute highest recommendation!
Talk of Di Town 2 CateringTalk of Di Town 2 Catering
Pam M.
Good morning Chef Celestine, First and foremost, you are wonderful. I had planned to be in the kitchen to learn alongside My grandson. However instantly, even before stepping inside his house, you created a working relationship with Kelly that showed how well you read people (just-turned 12 kids included). I did not want to interrupt that relationship. His exciting 4 hours of flour everywhere pasta class was a spectacular scene, with an encore...magical clean-up, leaving our family of 5 at the table enjoying the MOST delicious from scratch: 3-cheese ravioli with 5-star Marinara, fettuccini in fresh pesto, capresse salad, and garlic bread. Absolutely no room was left for the chocolate chip cannoli, which we devoured anyway. Normally we would have frozen all the left overs for a later meal, BUT so irresistible, it was finished off for Sunday's lunch and dinner. Those recipes will be keepers! Kelly will remember the time spent with you for a lifetime and I expect use his new skills for as long. Thank you Chef Celestine so very much!!! Kelly's Grammy Pammy
Sweet Bazil, llcSweet Bazil, llc
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