Who's gonna cater my wedding? (Peninsula)
I'm getting married next summer, probably in the Palo Alto area, and am looking for recommended caterers.
We're very early in the planning process, don't know how many guests (although something like 130 would be a reasonable guess), don't know what our price range will be, etc. Just looking for the names of caterers who make delicious, fresh, seasonal food. I've been to too many weddings where the food was basically sauteed meat and chicken in creamy sauces, a pasta dish that gets mushier and mushier as it sits in the chafing dish, wilted salads, etc.
So, any suggestions?
Try Hugh Groman Catering (www.hughgromancatering.com). They catered our son's baby naming. They are definitely a high-end caterer and the food is excellent. The owner, Hugh, is a real foodie and it is incredibly important to him that everything he serves is as fresh as it can be. The focus is on the naturally delicious flavors of the ingredients and keeping things simple and elegant. LOVED this food!
We went with Fork & Spoon Catering for our upcoming wedding this September. They're not cheap, but we were really impressed with their menu and their food.
The only guideline we gave them was "Californian", and we didn't change a thing from their initial menu they sent. We walked into our tasting session thinking there's no way they're worth the money they charge, and they totally were. I gladly paid their tasting session fee.
We also looked at Ann Walker catering, which several people liked on the boards, but I didn't think they were all that. They were very nice, but the food was just OK. Typical wedding fare. They were a little more than half the price of Fork & Spoon, though.
I highly recommend Just Us catering. They are based in Palo Alto, and have worked both large and small events for about 25 years now. Deb Cullman and her business partner Hannah are extremely professional, yet relaxed and friendly. They catered our wedding in Oakland--there was no onle else I would have considered, really, because they have catered numerous parties for my relatives over the years and I knew their food would be excellent and their staff top-notch. I actaully received compliments from guests on how nice and helpful the catering staff were. I thought the food was great--though obviously, I did not have time to focus on it as much as I would have liked--we had a buffet, but the beef was perfectly cooked, salmon was not overdone or dry, the salad was perfectly dressed, etc. I think we had some lovely grilled veggies and rice pilaf too. I did not get to taste all the passed appetizers. They can easily do sit-down dinner, but we had almost 200 people and it just would have taken too long.
They are well-known in Palo Alto and Menlo Park and are in high demand; I think their prices are reasonable, but to be honest, I think they gave my dad a price break on the cost. They have done enough work for my parents over the years that I consider Deb to be a friend, but in case you prefer a less biased opinion, I am sure they can provide you with references.
I would definitely recommend Carrie Dove Catering out of Emeryville. I work in Palo Alto and do events with them on almost a bi-weekly basis. They are wonderful to work with and the food's amazing. They do a lot of wedding business as well. It's a husband/wife team and they have a great staff for both front and back of the house. I would consider them to be mid-price. For higher end, consider Grace Street Catering from Alameda. We use them for our high-end dinners. Their service is spot on and the food is so delicious. Their tea service is also lovely. You can't go wrong with either of these caterers!
I don't know how far out of PA you can go but...
We got married at the now closed Mirassou Winery in San Jose. The food was fantastic, and staff was very attentive. they made sure we were served each course first, and actually got to eat the food while hot and delicious. I hadn't realised how rare this was until our friends mentioned it to us. So many people don't eat at their weddings. Who knew.
Anyhow. the chef (Dave Paige) has since moved on to another Mirassou family winery Stephen Kent in Livermore. He fits all your requirements except PA. I also .liked the one stop shopping aspect of the event. They took care of staffing, furniture, wine pairings, food of course, all for a reasonable price.