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Can we approach the head chef from our favorite restaurant to do our wedding?

My fiance and I have high food standards. We want our wedding to have really memorable food, and considered having it in our favorite restaurant. The problem is that place is too tiny for our group (which is shaping up to be about 130 people). Is it weird/inappropriate to reach out to the head chef and ask if he would be interested in catering our wedding? We'd willingly pay him more than an average catering company, but I'm just wondering if that's... offensive in any way. Has anyone done this?

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  1. I don't think it's offensive, but I wouldn't be surprised if he declined unless he has catering experience.

    1. The worse that can happen is he says no. But maybe he'll share recipes or recommend an excellent caterer. Or you could just have your rehearsal dinner there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: viperlush

        We considered it but we live way out on the bay area peninsula and are considering having the wedding out by us. Driving into SF for the rehearsal dinner might be too far.

      2. We tried to do the same but at the restaurant. When our guest list was too big we ended up doing our rehearsal with the restaurant and taking their recommendation for caterer.

        1. I wouldn't, unless I knew him personally. Why not just hire a caterer? The food is not the main event at a wedding.

          1 Reply
          1. re: GH1618

            It's always been the free flowing booze..
            ; )

          2. Unless you don't want to feel welcome at your favorite restaurant again, I would not approach the chef directly. I would speak with the owner/manager of the restaurant and explain the capacity problem with having the wedding on location, then ask if they would cater it. You should not look to undermine them in this process.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jrvedivici

              I second this advice. Additionally, be aware that running a smallish restaurant and catering an event for 125 are two different animals. There are great chefs who might not have the right experience to successfully pull it off. Catering is often a specialty that should be left to the specialists.

            2. Everyone here is giving great advice, but here's one more option - if the chef catering doesn't work out for whatever reason, speak with both the manager and the chef to see about ordering some food for the day, and find a caterer that is willing to work with them. My SIL did this - while her restaurant wasn't able to spare the staff/space/Saturday night, they were able to provide and deliver two main courses and a few salads for the crowd. She was very lucky to find a catering company willing to work this way, but they got paid for their service, staff, the cake, and the bar, so everyone was happy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: NonnieMuss

                A personal chef, who has larger event experience, might be willing to work this way. I've partnered with a restaurant chef to execute some events that he doesn't want to cater, and I don't have the capacity on my own. Everyone's happy.

              2. What we did was have a small family dinner @ our favorite restaurant, creating a custom menu with the restaurant owner/chef and had the reception on the beach. If you have your heart set on working with your fav chef but need to work within their parameters, consider a smaller venue for closest family & friends and then work with a caterer for your reception.

                Congratulations!

                1. Don't ask us, ask the chef! The worst that can happen is that s/he will say no but still feel very flattered you think that much of her/his cooking. The best that can happen is s/he will say yes and you'll have a fantastic wedding supper. Go for it!

                  1. Why would it be offensive?

                    You're offering a commercial transaction to someone whose job is to make a profit for his employer. May well be , however, that mass catering is not his thing.

                    That said, I would make the approach to the employer if that isnt the chef.

                    1. Hi,....(oh nevermind):

                      Why not? Has he taken out a no-contact order against you? He might just be flattered enough to do it for you.

                      Who dares wins.

                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo