Important stuff to know, It is best if you read this page from start to finish.
Important stuff to know, It is best if you read this page from start to finish.
"Do you have any wedding venue selection advice?"
We advise you to select your caterer and menu before finalizing your venue. Although we are experienced at catering at venues ranging from the most posh indoor resorts to the most rustic outdoors ones, your venue necessarily delimits your menu and service style options. Our expertise allows us to assist you in selecting a venue that not only aligns with your preferences but also saves you overall costs.
"I've never hired a caterer before. Can you help me understand key things?"
It's crucial to distinguish between the three types of caterers:
Bespoke Caterers: Custom cuisine unique to you is prepared on-site by star-level chefs who are supported by top-level service staff over a very long day and night. No two dishes or events are quite the same. ✅ This is us !
Truck-it-In Caterers: Cafeteria-quality food with fancy dish names is prepared off-site, trucked in, and served hours old from warming or chill boxes. The caterer gets in and out ASAP. This is the most common model. ❌ This is NOT us !
Drop-and-Go Caterers: Restaurants, pubs, or other brick-and-mortars prepare a range of everyday food off site, deliver it from warming or cold boxes, and leave most of the rest to you. ❌ This is NOT us !
Ask all potential caterers these questions to find out which sort they are:
"Who are and how many staff do you anticipate bringing?"
Listen for not only how many staff and their qualifications but especially how much they are paid.
"What are our cuisine options? Do your clients normally order from a list or create a unique custom menu with you?"
If the caterer offers you a menu list, expect sub-par food.
"When and for how long do you expect to be on site?"
Great cuisine and service takes an enormous amount of time.
"Where will you be preparing the food for our event?"
Great cuisine is cooked right at the event site and served right away.
"How much do couples normally spend on wedding catering?"
The national average is $75 per person. Recognizing that memories of weddings are often tied to not only the love shared but an exceptional dining experience, many couples choose to invest $100 or more per guest on cuisine. However, we understand that menus, venues, events, locations, and budgets differ. Some couples opt to reduce their guest count to ensure a truly memorable dining experience. Reach out in all cases.
What differentiates bespoke catering from other catering options or going out to eat at a restaurant or ordering take-out?
Clients find the investment in bespoke catering to be incredibly worthwhile for the unparalleled experience, attention to detail, and the ability to create a truly unique and memorable culinary event.
Customization and Personalization: Bespoke catering involves tailoring menus to the specific preferences, dietary requirements, and themes of the client. This level of customization requires intensive planning, the utmost attention to detail, and exceptional devotion from us.
Quality of Ingredients: Bespoke caterers prioritize high-quality, fresh, locally sourced, and often unique and premium ingredients to create a unique and memorable dining experience.
Culinary Expertise: Bespoke catering is provided by star-level chefs with extensive expertise and experience. Their skill and creativity play an enormous role in making your event uniquely special.
Service and Presentation: Bespoke caterers offer not only star-level custom cuisine made on site but star-level service by well-paid service staff who deliver detailed presentations in often unique serving styles.
Intensity of Labor: In addition to the high level of planning, bespoke caterers are typically the first to arrive and the last to leave on the day of your event. You are hiring a highly skilled team who takes your event very personally.
Event Logistics: Bespoke catering involves often complex logistics. Events involve not only specific themes and unique courses but coordinating them in often challenging venues. A specially skilled staff member is devoted just to this.
Exclusivity and Exclusiveness: The exclusivity and exclusiveness associated with bespoke catering means that clients receive a one-of-a-kind and truly memorable experience.
Limited Volume: Bespoke caterers take on a limited number of clients and events to maintain topmost quality. This level of dedication is unmatched by other sorts of operations.
How do we go about determining our custom menu?
Creating a bespoke menu in collaboration with you is a process that begins with a consultation. During this session, we pose thoughtful questions, attentively listen, and suggest menu ideas. Our consultations are complimentary, relaxed, conversational, and span from 30 to 90 minutes.
What sorts of questions do you ask during a consultation?
As a bespoke catering company, and if the event is a wedding, the first question we typically ask is "what sorts of food did you grow up eating and what do you like to eat now?" We also like to ask questions such as "how did you two meet?" and "where is a place that holds significance for you?" By asking these sorts of questions and others, we can reflect a client’s story in the food. For non-wedding clients, our approach is more straightforward.
How do I book you and how do retainers and payments work?
Booking us for catering involves several steps:
Completing our catering inquiry form is the best first step.
Schedule a consultation with us, if invited.
Review and comment on the menu proposal and pricing we send through Google Docs.
Sign our catering contract electronically.
Review the invoice and transfer an 18% retainer to lock in your date.
Make a 50% payment 45 days before your event.
The remaining balance is due when we arrive at your event.
As private chefs or menu consultants, the arrangements are case-specific.
Can I see pre-made menus with predetermined prices?
Although we provide past custom menu examples as a reference, these offer only a glimpse into our global culinary range. As bespoke caterers, each menu we present is uniquely crafted through collaborative consultation with you, ensuring a personalized and unforgettable dining experience. Prices are determined by your menu, the amenities at your venue, your event's location, and your desired service style.
Do you offer tastings?
Chef-caterers specializing in bespoke menus, like us, don't offer traditional tastings. Truck-It-In Caterers, which we are not, typically very much want you to do a tasting because what they will be arriving with at your event will not be as fresh or good.
We encourage you to explore us through our photos and reviews and by talking with us. If you wish to experience our cuisine firsthand before hiring us to cater your event, consider hiring us as private chefs for a small gathering. Alternatively, when possible, we can extend an invitation for you to dine at no cost during a catering event in your area, allowing you to savor our cuisine and watch us in action in a real-world setting.
Where do you cook your food?
As chef-caterers who serve bespoke menus, we diverge from the common catering practice of preparing food off-site and transporting it to events in insulated boxes. We prepare cuisine on site on the day of your event. Although this approach may involve higher costs for you and extended hours for our team, we firmly believe that the superior quality of our cuisine justifies this commitment to excellence.
Can you help me understand catering service styles?
How many events can you schedule per week?
To ensure an unforgettable experience, we book only one major catering event per week and give it our exclusive devotion. Much goes on before the actual day of your occasion.
Do you have any hidden fees? Do you charge for travel? How do you handle venue costs?
Our concern is cuisine and people. We believe in transparency and simplicity and are not the sort of caterers who pad up their per-diner price with bulked up fees. Staffing and cleanup costs are all covered. Serving-ware costs are passed through dollar-for-dollar. For any overnight travel, we charge only the minimal reimbursement rates allowable by the IRS. We pass along venue charges leveled toward us straight to you, if any apply. A standard 2.9% bankcard processing fee applies if you pay that way. State sales tax is, of course, part-and-parcel.
Once you receive our retainer, how does communication work?
Once you hire us, we are available via email, text, or phone within a 24 hour turnaround time, usually much less. During the week leading up to your event we will be more difficult to reach because we are very hard at work for you.
How do I estimate the number of diners at my event?
We suggest this formula:
(number of out-of-town invited guests x 75%) + (number of local invited guests x 90%) = estimated guest count
We accommodate unexpected variations of around 10% without concern. Our goal is to make the entire process as stress-free as possible for you.
What are the three most common comments you hear at events you cater?
"This is everything we hoped it would be and more!"
"This is by far the best food I have ever had at a wedding!"
"You and your team go above and beyond!"
Where are you based out of?
We operate throughout Wisconsin, neighboring states, and nationally and internationally. Our bases are in the Milwaukee, Wausau, Rhinelander, and Eagle River areas, and we are developing operational bases in South Florida and Pacific-Asia.
What about bargain-priced whole animal and BBQ caterers? What's the difference between you and them?
Expert Pit-Master/Chef Whole Animal and BBQ Caterers: ★ This is us ★
Bring extensive expertise.
Use top commercial equipment.
Cook meats low and slow.
Serve exceptional side dishes.
Offer signature sauces.
Are certified and insured.
Bargain Whole Animal and BBQ Caterers:
Are backyard enthusiasts.
Use sub-par equipment.
Rush meat preparation.
Offer novice side dishes.
Use store-bought sauces.
Are uncertified and uninsured.
Are you available as private chefs?
Hiring us as private chefs enables us to lavish exquisite attention on the smallest details, ensuring a level of culinary excellence that can be challenging to fully replicate for large catered events. Whether for one day or a month or more, we'd be delighted to discuss and customize every aspect. Your experience will be truly exceptional and we travel worldwide.
Can you work with our wedding planner?
Planners are not usually the contracting party so we prefer to streamline catering between just you and us. We amicably coordinate and keep close contact with planners in all cases.
Can you do events that span more than one day?
We offer package deals for multi-day events, such as a Friday dinner, Saturday brunch, dinner, and late-night refreshments, followed by Sunday brunch, or some combination thereof, up to one month in duration.
What is Chef Steve's favorite professional book recently?
What if I have to cancel or reschedule?
Our cancellation and rescheduling policies are industry standard. The earlier you cancel or reschedule, the less of a strain it is for both of us. We mutually agree to gracefully accept losses in case of unforeseen catastrophe. Our catering contract explains details.
Are there any venues you won't cater to?
We avoid events where fire safety occupancy limits will be exceeded or when there are other non-remediable safety concerns.
Are you certified in food safety and do you carry insurance?
Chef Steve is a certified ServeSafe® Food Protection Manager. His company is an LLC and carries $1-million liability insurance.
Can you consult on my restaurant's menu?
Chef Steve's culinary expertise and local and global cultural knowledge can be the exact thing you need to create a perfect menu for your target clientele. As a chef-educator, he is also available to train staff.
Do you offer discounts?
As much as we love cuisine, we love people more. Around once per year we cater an event at a discount, at our cost alone, or for free. Past situations have included struggling nonprofits, families with a very ill member, volunteer-run community organizations, and first responder and other essential worker groups. We consider any special circumstance.
Can you fill a freezer with a month's worth of delicious frozen meals?
Yes, we can pack a freezer with delicious ready-to-heat custom meals. It will cost significantly more than buying frozen meals at a grocery store because more goes into them. We are well trained and experienced at meeting dietary requirements.
Can you prepare only the meat at our event?
We focus on on-site custom catering and don't normally cook "just the meat" for potlucks.
Do you offer delivery/drop-off?
On rare days when we are not already booked, we can provide a limited BBQ menu to a nearby event.