Questions & Responses:
Caterer recommendations?(2 responses)
Archived Responses: 

Questions about Caterers See also:

2011 - 2012 Recommendations

Classy vegetarian caterer

Sept 2012

I am looking for a catering co. for a party at home. Someone who can make classy vegetarians dishes. Thanks. anon

Philip Gelb is an EXCELLENT vegetarian chef/caterer. You can reach im at the attached web site. His food is amazing! Everything is from scratch, high quality ingredients, and fantastic flavors!!! I strongly encourage you to contact him and ask him the questions that you need answered. He's also an excellent 'Japanese flute' musician/teacher. chef/caterer. Good luck! Leah

I have been to two parties catered by Margaret Riesen. She specializes in vegetarian dishes. Get her beet hummus. She makes several other items that are excellent, and i'm not a vegetarian. Here is her info mriesen [at] 510-865-2935 stu

I was totally impressed by the vegetarian catering done by Lucy Aghadjian for functions for my son's school (Windrush)--elegant, tasty, and innovative. She can be reached at lucygemini [at] -- or google Lucy Aghadjian catering... converted carnivore

Bar B Que Caterers

March 2012

Has anyone hired Bar B Que caterers for a big party? I am looking at Maverick, Back 40 and BBQ Boys but I would be open to others. There will be about 75 people. I am interested to know if the food was tasty (of course) were the caterers on time, polite etc. I am also concerned the smoke may bother people if they cook on site. Was that an issue at your event? Our party will mostly be indoors. So I do not know if the outside smoke makes its way indoors? I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks. Amy

Phat Matt's is the best BBQ we've had and they cater: Also the nicest owners! Anita

I had Back 40 cater for about 50 people in 2010. They were great. All the food is delivered prepared. They did not cook it on site.I had my food delivered in the morning for an afternoon event. I kept the ribs in the oven on low. They delivered everything from utensils to tableclothes. I didn't have to do anything but put the food out. They were right on time and the food was tasty and there was lots. I would do it again and have recommended them to others. Linda

Best Affordable Brazil Room Caterer

March 2012

I am getting married at the Brazil Room in October and am trying to select a caterer from the list. All of the BPN reviews are a few years old, so I wondered if anyone had recent experience with making the selection. We got estimates from two caterers that were each about $11,000 (including tax and gratuity) for a buffet dinner for about 120 people. That seems like a lot to me...Does anyone know if any of the Brazil Room's preferred caterers are much cheaper? We want to have tasty food and professional service, but it doesn't need to be super fancy, just nice. Thanks! bride-to-be

We used Blue Heron Catering for our wedding. While it was not at the Brazil room, I have been to weddings at the Brazil room that they have catered. Get the baked salmon; my favorite. They also have a variety of vegetarian dishes, and their staff are very easy to work with. One of the things that i like about them, is that if you don't have a wedding coordinator, they can fill that role pretty well. they dealt with guest questions so my bride and I could enjoy the day. stu

I highly reccomend catering excellence. I think they are actually the most expensive, but it actually works out cheaper in the end. They are all inclusive, no added fees here and there. They go above and beyond. The food is excellent. And, you will feel so taken care of. They did our wedding last November and we were so glad we went with them. Jinny

Looking for a local (Berkeley) caterer

Sept 2011

Can you recommend a caterer who works with fresh and sustainable ingredients and who doesn't cost a fortune--I know, that's a tall order. I have several friends (who are not members of BPN) who are seeking caterers for there childrens' bar/bat mitzvahs, and so it would be a bonus if this person had some familiarity with kosher cooking. Ideally, we would like to work with someone who has done a large event and has experience with event planning. Thanks in advance! Lisa

Try The Bread Workshop Their food is excellent, they believe in sustainability, they are local, they give back to our schools and local economy and the owner, Bill, is a really nice person! Jill

I recently used Donna Weinberg/Good and Plenty Catering for my son's Bar Mitzvah. The food was really good, and Donna was great at helping me think about everything we'd need for our event. She's done lots of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and other kinds of parties and events. She's in Berkeley. Liss

We used Blue Heron Catering for our wedding about three years ago. They use locally-sourced foods; much of what we had was vegetarian. They even set up tables and provide linens and tableware. They got us umbrellas for the outside part of the venue and took care of many details. They are an established caterer with a large variety of menus. I'm sure they can handle kosher bar mitzvahs. Their website is stu

For my baby shower, I used Cater Too, owned by Monifa Milon. She is a spectacular cook and food stylist, using only fresh, local, organic produce and ingredients. She made the most amazing finger foods for my shower and the presentation was beautiful. I wish I had taken pictures! She has also catered for kosher clients, and school functions at my sons' school. Her phone number is (510) 789-6901; tell her I sent you! Tatiana

At least talk to Hugh Groman before you make any decisions. He's done events large and small, knows kosher, prepares Real Meals from local ingredients, treats his staff well, is personable, creative and lovely. I wouldn't work with anyone else. Sincere congratulations for your rites of passage! Michele

Caterer for a Tilden Park Brazil Room Wedding

June 2011

I've just been asked on behalf of a non-local couple who are getting married in the Brazil Room for reviews/experience with the caterers on the Park's approved list: AG Ferrari, Ann Walker, The Arlington, Blue Heron Caterers, Carrie Dove Caterers, Melons, Royal Raspberry, Serves You Right, Trumpet Vine, Wild Thyme
Any comments or advice would be welcome.

With the caveat that we got married at the Brazil Room in 1999, we used Blue Heron and we could not have been happier with them. Everything about working with them was great - from the very first meeting where they helped us create our dream menu - to the actual event. The caterer's representative at the event kept us moving through the required events (time to eat, time to cut the cake) and made sure everything ran smoothly. The food was excellent. We are both foodies and delicious food was important to us. Oh,and also, don't know if everyone does this, but Blue Heron set up a little table for us under a redwood tree. After the ceremony,we retreated to the table for some appetizers and a few precious moments alone before jumping in to the festivities. Nice touch. Happily wed and fed

We used Ann Walker Catering for our Brazil Bldg wedding 8 years ago and couldn't have been happier! Ann was totally on the same page as us with regard to seasonal and local stuff (one of our dishes was wild salmon) and also worked with us to honor my husband's Iranian heritage by crafting a dish based on a traditional Persian pomegranate & walnut stew, but unique and modern. I recently planned an event for q work conference and called on Ann Walker. Equally great food, and she and her staff are super helpful with all the little questions that come up. Email me with any specific questions! Alexandra

Carrie Dove Catering is FANTASTIC! We had a party last year catered by Carrie Dove and her team. They did an excellent job! The food was delicious and the service was wonderful. Our guests raved about the food. I highly recommend Carrie Dove Catering! Jen F.

We used Ann Walker for our wedding at the Brazil Room in 2004. We highly recommend her services- from the intital meeting to the conclusion of the event, Ann and her staff were fantastic! We had issues with our wedding cake and Ann helped to mediate the situation and she was personally on-site to ensure that everything went smoothly. We had a consultation and tasting with Ann and everything was executed as discussed. From all of the caterers listed, Ann was by far the best! A fan of Ann

We used Ann Walker to cater our parents' 50th anniversary party (essentially like a wedding), and her company did a fantastic job. They were very easy to work with on menu planning and recommendations and the food was delicious! Her servers were also wonderful. kiki

Caterer for outdoor venue in Concord

March 2011

We are hosting an outdoor venue at the end of the month and are looking for recommendations for a reasonably priced caterer. Ideally the food is organic but not required if it's very good and on the healthier side. Any ideas suggestions are greatly appreciated. We live in Concord. anon 510.725.8356 Chris and BJ created a memorable meal for our outdoor event with 60 guests. Many, many guests mentioned how delicious, healthy and gorgeous it was. They were very reasonably priced and so nice to work with. Ruth

I have been to two events where Margaret Reisen Cooks was the caterer. She focuses on healthy meals with lots of vegetarian dishes. I think she uses organic products and I'm sure her food is healthy as well as delicious. 510-865-2935

I recommend Great Party + Great Food, a full-service party service run by two very creative women who can plan the party, prepare and serve the food, and generally make your party easy, fun, with excellent food. I have used them for at least three parties of all types and sizes. You can contact Judi or Gail at info [at] Enjoy! Sally

2009 - 2010 Recommendations

Moderately priced finger food for a baby shower

August 2010

In November my wife and I will be throwing a baby shower for some dear friends. It'll be a co-ed baby shower between lunch and dinner but we'll be serving food, dessert and drinks. We were thinking sandwiches and sweets that people can walk around with and eat. We live in the Upper Rockridge/Montclair area. Any suggestions of a local, moderately priced caterer or a local restaurant/deli that might be able to help us out? We're expecting about 50 people (35 adults& 15 kids). Thanks

La Med on College Ave. in Berkeley is my favorite go-to caterer. Their food is good at room temperature, which is a plus, as well is vegetarian-friendly. Mary

The large party platter from La Med on College Ave is always a hit, and great finger food. anon

Bartender for a Party

June 2010

I'll be throwing a 40th birthday party bash for my husband and wanted to hire a bartender for the night. We don't want to hire a caterer, or even a bar service that provides all the alcohol and a server. What I want is to be able to buy the alcohol, the glassware, and the mixers and then just have an experienced bartender show up for the party and mix drinks. Has anyone done this before? If so, do you have a bartender recommendation? Thanks!

I've used the bartending services of Peter Hou (510-882-6238 or peter_houAT several times and he's been terrific. My parties have been pretty simple bar fare: beer, wine, a specialty drink like margaritas. I purchased all the beverages, rented the glassware, etc. (He also does catering so he strikes me able to manage whatever kind of bartending you need.) He's a friendly, personable man who was really helpful through out the whole evening and made it possible for us to actually enjoy our own party. I recommend him highly. Rachel

Inexpensive Caterer

April 2010

I am planning a fall wedding in Moss Beach, CA and need some recommendations for a caterer in Moss Beach, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, South San Francisco, Daly City or San Bruno. Any suggestions? The wedding will be outdoor, casual--we're looking for simple but quality food and need it to be affordable. Thanks! jenn

I want to recommend Donna Weinberg and her business Good and Plenty Catering. Donna and her staff have tons of experience with all sorts of catering jobs in all sorts of locations. We used her for my Dad's birthday staged in our back yard and as the name of her business implies - there was lots of food and it was really tasty. Her prices are very reasonable. Natalie

Take a look at Greenleaf Platters in Berkeley. It is less expensive than regular catering because they bring the food ready to go on ceramic platters so there's no chefs on site. You can hire staff as well but that adds on to the cost. The food is all room temperature and designed to be served at room temperature. It's all fresh and delicious and they use local and seasonal ingredients and organic as much as possible. Nothing like your typical plastic black tray deli platters. You can see pics of most of the food on their website. Still not ''cheap'' but high quality at a lower price than a typical full service caterer. N R

Caterers for Birthday Brunch

Oct 2009

I'm hosting a small birthday brunch in late October, and I would like to serve a few hot items, namely eggs or frittata/quiche, turkey sausage and maybe potatoes. Would love the name of some cost-effective and delicious caterers in the Oakland area. We are also open to the idea of picking up the food, if necessary. Brunch on a Budget

Henri Loh (a female!) is a fantastic small caterer -- organic food, super interesting flavors, will work with ANY dietary restrictions. She's totally reasonable. I bought a couple who'd just had a baby a week's worth of meals, delivered, and they raved! She also just did a pre-wedding dinner and I heard glowing reports! Henri Loh: 415-879-1978 Louise

We've had brunch events or events where we wanted to serve finger foods catered by Rick and Ann's in Berkeley. They are located right by the Claremont. They can deliver for a fee or you can pick up. There food is absolutely amazing. I highly recommend the biscuit sandwiches. We've received many compliments about their food and I will certainly use them again.

Lois Moore 482-9212 catered my daughter's bat mitzvah, and a dessert party we had afterwards. The food worked out very well, and she took the whole family's requirements into consideration. Carol

I used Blue Heron Catering for my wedding last year, and I'm pretty sure they handle smaller parties. Their food is outstanding, and they have several vegetarian options. They do office meals, so they can provide a drop-off service without the full-on catering. Maybe they let you pick up. Call Debbie there at 428-0781. Stu

hi ! I'm sorry, I am not too familiar with the caterers in Oakland, but Culinda in the marketplace in Alameda is pretty good. Here is their website: Also, if you are in need of a birthday cake, I know a baker that is especially affordable with the prettiest and delicious cakes. You can email her, her name is Arlene. aklee1104 [at] Hope that helps! camille

I think Rick and Ann's has great food, and they have a catering section here: It's called Ann's catering now. I get platters from them all the time. They have breakfast platters with biscuits, frittata, etc. that you can pick up there, in Claremont, or they will deliver for a charge. Their sweet potato biscuits are the best! ginger

Catered appetizers for small cocktail party

Sept 2009

I'm hoping to get appetizers catered for a cocktail party for about 25 people. Trying to keep costs down so can't do too fancy. Was thinking of Market Hall Catering. Has anybody used them for this sort of thing, or have another recommendation? I'm thinking of setting all the appetizers on a large table, and have another table where drink fixings are provided, and not hire a server or bartender. I thought for only 25 people a bartender wouldn't be necessary, but am I wrong? Also, I found a place in Walnut Creek to rent glassware - any place closer? Thanks for any advice. newby party hostess

I have used La Mediterranee (sp?) on College Avenue (near Ashby) in Berkeley to cater several cocktail type events at my house. They have a nice selection of Mediterranean food, such as dolmas, hummus, slices of levant sandwich, small chicken legs, and other finger foods. Prices are reasonable and the food is very tasty. If you order a platter or two, the food comes ready to serve on a disposable platter (although I typically transfer it to my plates for serving). I usually pick up, so don't know whether they deliver. L

I love Market Hall Caterers! I've used their catering service for many years for everything from big cocktail parties to small, sit-down dinners. The food is always fresh and delicious, the presentation is beautiful and the staff is incredibly helpful. I highly recommend them! The number is 547-4066. Jen F.

Catering Home Dinner Party

Sept 2009

Any recommendations for a caterer or restaurant in Oakland/Berkeley that will cater a home dinner party (we're serving buffet style)? We live in North Oakland. Party size 14-16 people. Open to most any cuisine. Thanks! K

You might want to consider Hands On Gourmet ( They come to your house and put on a fun, hands-on cooking class with you and your guests, then you and your guests enjoy the meal and they clean up. It's a great group activity and the food is wonderful. Anne

Melissa is an amazing Chef (ex Chez Panisse), now on her own. She is very friendly, professional and her food is divine. Tracy

We used Hugh Groman's Greenleaf Platters for our small wedding and they were fantastic! Delicious food, beautifully prepared. Rebecca

I had Anotnio Capezzuto from Cucina Partenopea cater my last birthday party dinner and it was FABULOUS! Antonio has moved here recently from Naples and is an incredible and authentic Italian chef as well as being very pleasant to work with.

My incredibly difficult to please Italian born family ate every bite and were singing his praises by the end of the meal. We all said that the meal reminded us of the movie ''The Big Night''.

His prices are very reasonable and the quality is exceptional. He came and cooked the meal and cleaned up everything afterwards. Coming from a traditional Italian family where I cook all the meals, I loved having someone else do all the work especially a man! You can contact him at You will not be disappointed. Linda M

I would like to recommend Gourmet By The Bay Personal Chef Services (510) 703- 8618 in the Berkeley, Albany area.. Shoshana Klein, who is the proprietor, has been working as a Personal Chef for years and is amazing! Her food is always fresh and delicious. She uses seasonal and organic ingredients in all her dishes and cooks foods from all over the world. she also does a lot of catering for big and small events which are phenomenal!. Again, I highly recommend this company, Lauren

The catering wing of Rick and Ann's restaurant does nice stuff. You can also order catering from AG Ferrari.

2007 - 2008 Recommendations

Catering, is there an inexpesive way?

Oct 2008

A good friend of mine is getting married next summer in Mill Valley. The have a lot of friends and plan to have upward toward 150-200 people attending their wedding. However due to the high price per person for catering fees, they may not invite as many as they'd like. Prices they have been coming across have been in and around $25/person (on the cheap side). Average is probably about $50/person

I was wondering if anyone knew of an inexpensive caterer that would serve the Marin Area. The couple is not too concerned with ''quality of food'', but would like it to be good. I was thinking of an ''up and comer'' caterer that would like more experience, or just a reasonably priced caterer.

Looking at a price more along the lines of $10-$15/person. If you know anyone like this, or if you have a recommendation for one that is around $20/person, please reply. Thank You!

A.G. Ferrari catered our wedding and they did an excellent job (and, it was affordable too!)--we highly recommend them! ...

Here are some thoughts for your friends...

*Downsize the guest list. I know that is hard, especially the older you get -- you just really do have more friends. But, I think that all of us understand the financial realities of hosting a wedding reception.

*Go casual. Find a site that allows you bring your own food and let the Costco frozen food aisle cater the reception. I LOVE fancy events as much as the next person, but I love events with my friends even more...I would taken frozen lasagna with the whole gang any day.

*Get a group of close friends of the bride and groom together and cater the meal yourselves. The bride and groom are still going to have to have to hire staff, to serve and other things, but the cost of food would be pretty low. -anon

Try Greenleaf Platters in Berkeley. They deliver delicious fresh food on beautiful ceramic platters. They lay it all out and then pick the platters up. You save money since there's no staff but the food is much better than your typical platter delivery. nr

Yes! Hire your favorite local restaurant. We did this, and not only was the food great, and the service great (because the owner knew us), he didn't charge us that ridiculous ''service charge'' that caterers do that can literally double the cost per-person.

We rented equipment from Alameda Rentals, and he supplied the wait staff and we tipped them (though there are companies that provide wait staff for hire).

This requires a site with a catering kitchen, of course. Good luck!

My husband and I used Arnon Oren from Oren's Kitchen for our August 2008 wedding dinner at the Presidio Yacht Club in Sausalito. He was professional, lovely to work with and willing to help us create the wedding feast of our dreams in which he and his staff prepared and served the 2 main courses and the side of potatoes while we had friends orchestrate a lavish pot luck of other sides and salds. It was a true team effort that allowed for plenty of food and significantly less expense per person. His wild salmon in puff pastry, Niman Ranch New York strip roast and au gratin potatoes were delicious!! His phone number is 510-847-6265. Ellen

Good Caterer for Wedding

Sept 2008

I am looking for an excellent, inexpensive caterer for a wedding. We would like Mediterranean food but are flexible. The meal would be buffet style and for between 75-100 people. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Liz

Try Jasmine Catering anonymous

I got married at the Brazilian Room in Tilden 5 years ago, and we used Ann Walker Catering, of San Anselmo. Ann was great - really flexible, easy to work with, excited about doing something interesting with us (we wanted kind of a Persian fusion menu since my husband is Iranian). And the food turned out wonderful! People still tell me how they remember the food at our wedding. The prices were reasonable as wedding catering goes, but you know how significant a part of the budget the food can be! (An acquaintance recently got married and used Ann Walker and was very happy with her, also.) Good luck! And let me know if you have any questions. Alexandra

Try Hugh Groman Catering, The food is DELICIOUS, elegant and they use mostly organic and local ingredients. It is on the high-end price wise, but worth it. nr

Caterer for 50th birthday party

May 2008

I am looking for recommendations for a great caterer that can supply large platters of tasty food for a fun but casual 50th birthday party. We're planning on around 75 people. Thinking of something like Whole Foods, but maybe with a waiter/bartenders and a bit more on site support. I don't see anything like this in the archives, so your suggestions are most welcome. Thanks! Party Platter Planning Plebian

Hi! Rick and Ann's does great platters, but unfortunately no on-site staff. Event Planner

We used Hugh Groman Catering for our wedding, they make platters in a side business called Greenleaf Platters. The food was fantastic. We hired a person off craigslist to be the server. Rebecca

Your party sounds similar to what I did for my 40th birthday party. I used Rick and Ann's in Berkeley (510.649.0869) to cater the food, and at their recommendation hired servers from Hostess Helpers (866.728.8485) to work the party. Everything was fantastic. Cindy

The Arlington located in Kensington has beautiful platters and outstanding service. People are still talking about the amazing presentation of the hummus plate months after our event. Karen

I can recommend a a very good caterer whose food is really special. . . delicious, creative, and beautiful. He's been cooking/catering professionally for many years and has lots of good ideas for what to serve. His name is Bob Waks and his email address is bwaks[at] Happy birthday! stephani

Caterer for appetizers/desserts at reunion

March 2008

Hello! We are planning our 20th year class reunion and wanting a recommendation for a delicious, but reasonable caterer to provide appetizers/desserts. The reunion will be held in Albany...Any suggestions? Thanks! Tracy

We were very happy with the job Hugh Groman and Greenleaf Platters just did catering our school silent auction. The food was delicious and beautifully presented, and he was very easy to work with. If you need staffing, check out, and if you just want the food go to www. Heidi

There is a great platter delivery service called Greenleaf Platters. The food is very high quality and they deliver it on beautiful ceramic platters and even set the platters up for you. Then they pick up all the platters and compost all the food and disposable plates/cups/utensils so there is no waste. You can order online and see pics of all the food on their website The owner, Hugh can help you figure out what and how much to order. We used them for a baby naming and they also catered my older son's preschool auction. The food is much more fresh and delicious than your typical platter delivery from a restaurant or deli! nr

Lucy - sorry i don't remember her company's name - but she's the owner of a small and wonderful, organic, healthy catering service. Her number is 508 9105 or 843-4056. Betty

I have Used Shoshanna Klein, ''Gourmet by the bay Catering'' for several events that I had in the past and I really liked it. she is experienced and uses organic fresh ingridiants. the most important thing is that she will meet your needs. I loved her food and the way it was served. her e-mail is gourmetbythebay[at] and phone is 510-703-8618 Tali

Wedding Caterer in Walnut Creek

Jan 2008

We are planning a small wedding this summer to take place at the Gardens of Heather Farm in walnut Creek and would like some more recent recommendation for a reasonably priced caterer who is reliable, provide an excellent and friendly service setting up a beautiful looking buffet with very tasty foods. Has anyone used Elegant Occasions in Martinez and could please give me a feedback. Also Culinary Excllence, I've seen some very good but older recommendation here but I think they might be under new ownership??? Other names on the Gardens preferred list are Blue Heron, Englund's, Glass Onion, Sunrise, Wild Thyme, Wilma Loft and Serves you Right. So any feedback on these would be most helpful to us. We'd also love recommendation for great wedding cakes with non-butter frosting preferred. Please respond to leeor

We used Blue Heron to cater our wedding and have been recommending them ever since. Really good food (we still get compliments years later), excellent service, very organized staff. I felt like they were our default wedding coordinators, helping us plan the whole day. Have a great one!

Check out Oren's Kitchen He is an amazing caterer and does cater weddings as well as other events. Tammy

Hi- Call Patrick David. They are outstanding. They have done two events for us (and a third next month) and the food, presentation, staff, everything was amazing. I would pass on Wild Thyme. I used them twice and once while specifically asking for peanut-free they brought PB and Jelly sandwiches for kids -- huge no no for me. And they once brought frozen hamburgers, warmed them in the mini toaster and called them deluxe mini burgers. Gross. Call Patrick David! in love with Patrick David's scallops

I recommend Blue Heron Catering 428-0781. Speak with Debbie Pfister there and ask for the roast salmon. they serve it mostly whole on a platter and it is wonderful. The staff is very organized and easy to work with. They are experienced and I think you will be pleased. I have sampled their food a lot because I'm a videographer. Stu

April 2008

Re: Caterer for Stinson Beach Party
I work regularly with Hugh Groman Catering and can't say enough good things about him. If you don't need full service catering, he also runs Greenleaf Platters, which is a more casual offshoot of his company. Tell him I sent you! denise

Caterer for outdoor wedding

May 2007

Re: Outdoor wedding on a budget
We had a GREAT caterer (for an outdoor wedding/reception) - Wildrose Catering ( We talked with Greg. He was totally accommodating even though it meant less money for him (we only wanted side dishes, no liquor etc), the team of people he brought worked their buns off, and the food was fantastic. Our guests all raved about the food, and it certainly was better than any food I've had at any other wedding. It wasn't cheap but we don't regret a penny. loved our wedding

Caterer for professional dinner in my home

March 2007

I would love recommendations of full-service caterers for a professional dinner event at my home. There would be about 50 women who are in town for a large professional meeting at the Moscone center and I plan on inviting them to a dinner in Berkeley. I am looking for somone who prepares good food (could be ethnic) but which would appeal to people from all around the country. sheri

Hugh Groman Catering is excellent! Highly professional and delicious food. He has catered 3 professional event dinners for a friend of mine and she was very satisfied with the food and level of service. Dana

Arnon Oren is a talented caterer. He worked at Chez Panisse at one time, and was the Chef for Cafe Cacao during its first year of operation. He now works as a caterer exclusively. He catered a Thanksgiving dinner for us, and his food is fabulous! He's a very pleasant person to work with. His phone# is 510-237-1230 email is arnon_oren[at] Deni

Try Blue Heron Catering in Emerville or Oakland. (510) 428- 0781 is the number and is website. I used them for a formal holiday dinner this past December was truly impressed with the food (it was actually hot when served to everyone!) and service. I worked directly with Debbie, the owner, but everyone there gave great service. Not overly expensive, and definitely on the higher end of caterers. Chanel

Lois Moore (Lois Cooks 482-9212) cooks fresh, healthy food in a variety of styles, and is good at working out a menu for your guests. carol

Oct 2007

Re: Crepe catering
Try Chef Dan: Leff He specializes in this kind of small-party catering. Laura

April 2007

Re: caterer to set up chocolate fountain
I would recommend Kari Brandt for your catering request. Catering chocolate fountains for weddings, parties, etc. is her specialty. I'm sure she would do a superb job. My friend is still raving about the chocolate fountain set-up she prepared for her at her wedding. She said it was a huge hit! Kari's web site is: http:// and her phone is 925-324-8554. Melissah

2005 - 2006 Recommendations

Caterer/Chef/Cook for small family gathering

Dec 2006

I would like to have a small dinner party with our extended family for my husband's 40th birthday. We have a total of 10 adults, 12 kids ages 2 to 11 yrs. old. This is a fairly small affair but I don't have the time to make a fabulous meal while taking care of my 3 small children. I would like hors d'oeuvres, salad, fish and meat entree with sides, and cake/dessert. The food can be cooked at my home but I would prefer all the prepping to be done elsewhere- goal is to have great food, less clean-up, and more time to enjoy our guests. Can anyone recommend a chef/cook or a caterer who would consider doing a fairly small party? What other ideas do you have for how I can get this executed? Thanks! Lynn

Lois Moore, 482-9212, caters dinner parties, as well as weddings and and other large events. cd

Try Market Hall Caterers in Rockridge. You can find their menus on line. I think it's; if not Google it. They can do the party as fancy or simple as you like and the food is great anon

Rick & Ann's in Berkeley is great for this type of thing. I don't think they offer servers and such, but, you can get excellent food that is presented nicely at a reasonable (not cheap) price. Rick & Ann's Fan

I highly recommend Planet Coffee and Catering in San Leandro. Mariese (the owner) is a graduate of the CIA and uses fresh, seasonal and organic items. The food is wonderful!! She puts together beautiful platters for small to large parties. The number is 510 351-5527. You can check out them out at 1423 E 14th Street. Let her know that Amy recommended her! Amy

I have found a real gem of a caterer that I'm pleased to share with this list. Leah provides my family with after school care for my pre-teens and serves as chef of our evening meals. She also does catering for groups small and large, and has a group of people she calls upon to help with larger events. She was originally trained as a sushi chef, but obviously her repertoire extends far beyond this. She prepares creative, healthy, well rounded meals with an emphasis on organic. Great personality, great cook. I'd highly recommend her. Feel free to contact me for more info, or contact Leah directly at zonis.leah [at] Valerie

Turkey dinner from Safeway or Albertsons

Nov 2006

Has anyone purchased in the past those turkey dinners from Safeway or Albertsons? How was the taste of the food? What are the drawbacks to this? I don't want to spend money on bad, dry turkey with so-so sides. Please give me your 2 cents!!! teri

We just did a ''basics'' meal package for Thanksgiving from Boston Market and it was great. Everything comes cold and you just heat everything up. You can get a ''basic'' meal or the ''works'' and you can also add any extra side dishes you like. We had low to medium expectations going in, and were pleasantly surprised. I chose to go with Boston Market over the supermarkets as I thought there was a higher chance of the food being decent since they do this everyday and not just a couple times a year. With the exception of the turkey and the gravy (which were excellent) I would not say the food was as scrumptious (or to my liking as much) as if I had made it, but it was all very good and so worth it so that I got to play with my kids all day instead of spend the day cooking and cleaning up.

I really recommend the dinners! I am british and would not know which end to begin with a Turkey! As my kids got older and wanted a traditional thanksgiving dinner, I decided to try the dinners from Albertsons. For someone who does not like to cook, I had no inclination to try and learn how to cook the numerous things that go into cooking such a dinner. We get the basic dinner from Albertsons for around $45. This year I got a nice surprise when I went to pay and they had a $5 preferred member savings, so I only ended up paying $40. It's really a good deal, and the dinner is pretty good. Having eaten at friends houses, I have always found turkey meat to be very dry. The albertson turkey is not dry and tastes fine. The meal is ready to go and just needs to be heated. In the basic meal, you get a 10-12llb turkey, mashed patatoes, stuffing, gravy, rolls, and an apple pie. We always get extra mashed patatoes, and this year I also got a ready made green bean casserole and sweet patatoes and canned jellied cranberry sauce. It's really easy, just heat and eat! You can also get a deluxe dinner, that has more extra's and a bigger turkey. We have purchased the dinners for about three years now, and will contiue to get them. anon

My mom had a Safeway turkey dinner for thanksgiving a couple of years ago, and it was delicious! Moist turkey, good though basic dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce (not the canned type) and I think green beans also. I was pretty suspicious, and was dreading the whole thing, but it was actually a little better than my mother's usual turkey dinner (she's not always consistent). And there's no way you can know it's not homemade if you aren't told. It wasn't very expensive either janet

I'm glad that the other person who responded to this question had a good experience with the Safeway pre-cooked turkey dinner. My experience was quite the opposite -- I got it two years ago, and thought it was absolutely DREADFUL. Maybe my expectations were too high -- I somehow imagined I'd be getting a freshly cooked meal, with the turkey and sides all still hot out of the oven. Instead, it turns out that these meals are cooked, frozen, and then thawed by the time you get them. They're not re-heated so you have to do that yourself. Reheating an entire cooked turkey takes a fairly long time -- and, to keep the moisture in, they give you a great big ovenproof plastic bag in which you reheat it. This is fine if you like very stringy turkey that looks and tastes like you boiled it. The side dishes were all too salty, at least to my taste, and the pumpkin pie was blah. In the end, it wasn't that much less work than cooking the whole meal from scratch, significantly more expensive, and, at least to my taste, it was AWFUL. Never again! Diane

Caterer for wedding at the Brazilian Room

Oct 2006

My son is getting married at the Brazilian Room next fall and is trying to pick a caterer. Has anyone had any experience with the following companies? The current reviews on some of these are a few years old. Serves You Right, Carrie Dove, Miraglia, Melons, Royal Raspberry, Ann Walker, Wild Thyme, Shais
Thanks! Jim

We went with Serves you Right (2002) they were awesome! Service was great before wedding with planning and then also the day of the event. Everything went very well skipp

We are also getting married at the Brazilian Room and, to be honest, the decision of choosing a caterer has been an agonizing one. After two months of meeting with practically every caterer on the list, we ended up going with AG Ferrari -- I highly recommend them if you want a light luncheon. Now, to answer your question, here has been our experience with the caterers you listed:

Serves You Right: nice down-to-earth husband and wife team. They will NOT let you taste the food that will be at the wedding -- it cuts costs for them. You can attend their tastings but those foods may or may not be on your menu. In my opinion, this is a huge leap of faith considering how much money you spend on food.

Carrie Dove: nice people (husband and wife team), more on the pricey side.

Melons: most expensive on the list. Photos look fantastic but you'll pay a fortune. We contacted them but they never returned our email or phone call.

Royal Raspberry: our friends had their wedding catered by these people and they were happy with the end product.

Wild Thyme: see Ann Walker comment. Masse's Pastries recommended them so I would think they would be good.

Shais: one of the cheaper caterers on the list. The chef is into mediterranean and thai cooking as well as his hummus paintings. The woman who works with him is very nice.

More important than what caterer to go with is to have an idea of a menu and budget BEFORE meeting with caterers. I hope this helps! Best of luck in choosing a caterer! anon

Ann Walker catered our Brazil room wedding in 2002. We interviewed one other (in West Berkeley), but for us the decision was easy since we knew we wanted family style tapas served at our wedding, and Ann Walker had written a book about tapas. We found them very easy to work with, and everyone commented on the food. Ann Walker and her staff helped to make ours the best wedding most folks we know have ever been too :)Good luck with the planning, and enjoy your son's wedding. Jessica

Dear Brazilian Room Wedding: I am sorry to report I was very unhappy with Wild Thyme. I tried to contact them to cater my wedding at the Berkeley Rose Garden. They did not FAX the menu to me. I spoke to two persons. They promised to get back to me. They never did. I understand they were moving from Berkeley to Walnut Creek. However, I never received a follow up telephone call. I could not get a menu either, by mail or by FAX. I ended up using Marilyn Rinzer who owns Poulet in North Berkeley. She was helpful and fabulous. She even had suggestions should it have rained since I had an outdoor wedding. I love her because I was a young, naive and overwhelmed bride. She was wonderful locke

Not to complicate matters, but another caterer to consider is Delicious ( in Marin. I contacted both Delicious and Shai's for a simple buffet luncheon after my son's bar mitzvah, and the professionalism of Delicious won me over. I was able to select the menu and do all of the business over the phone and via fax. On the day of the event they were great. I greeted them when they arrived, and the next time I spoke with them was when they were handing me packaged leftovers to take home. The food was great, the buffet looked beautiful, and the service was excellent. I highly recommend them. LP

We had our wedding in 2003 at the Brazil Room and used Serves You Right. We wanted vegetarian food--which they did well (some guests said they didn't even realize there was no meat, and others that it was the best vegetarian food they'd ever had)--and their price was far below the other firm we considered. The owner was good to work with in general. My only complaints--and ones I didn't think to inquire about at all before the wedding--were that they didn't staff the ''bar'' the whole time (it seemed like just after the ceremony and the early part of the meal) and they returned the cake to the kitchen way, way too early (not everyone got some even though there was plenty of cake). Another thing that I noticed is that I wanted long rectangular tables (which BR has) and the owner kept steering me to the rounds and intimating that tablecloths would be a problem. I did some research and realized that she could just as easily order rectangular tablecloths (I didn't mind paying a bit extra). Once I was firm, there weren't any issues. All in all the wedding and party were lovely. Enjoy!

I didnt see your original post, but wanted to respond about one of the caterers you must have asked about. We hired Ann Walker catering (based in Marin) to cater our wedding reception at the Log Cabin (in SF on the Presidio) and we were absolutely thrilled with them. I have to tell you that everyone truly raved about how yummy and fresh the food was. I was surprised to hear they were not responsive to someone as that was not our experience. They were collaborative, creative and totally happy to work with us in every way. They grilled salmon on the outdoor grill and it was just fantastic (along with asparagus and some other veggies). My mom's friends were bowled over by the salmon, the wonderful cheese plates etc. They even packed a little picnic basket for us to take with us as we were leaving since they know that the bride and groom often don't get to eat at their own reception. Just thinking about their food makes me want to get married again (or at least throw a big party). Another huge plus: they were very reasonably priced. Please feel free to contact me if any questions Trish

I didn't see your original post. but I got married at the Brazil Building last summer and at first was disappointed that we had to use one of their caterers (or do something very difficult and pay a lot of money to not use one of them). I was amazed at how much some of the contracted companies' food resembled something I might get on an airline, but we used Trumpetvine because not only was the owner super nice but also because she used local organic stuff when she could. It was definitely more expensive, but the food was memorable for how good it was--really interesting dishes. The tasting meeting was great fun. I think the owner's name is Deborah. Good luck Emelie

Catered chili for Western party

Oct 2006

I'm part of a committee planning a farewell party (on a budget) with a ''western''-theme. We were thinking chili and cornbread might be something to serve that could feed a lot of people without costing too much. Any ideas on where to get that catered (or have a yummy recipe for cooking it in bulk)?? Howdy Partner

The best chili that I have ever tasted was the chili at the Warehouse Cafe, a funky place in Port Costa. I have not been there for a while, so I don't know if it is still available, but you might check it out. They might give you the recipe; but if not, it is worth going there and buying a large supply for a party. The place may only be open on Friday and Saturday evenings, and, although the atmosphere is funky, the food is excellent and reasonable in price. They also have one of the largest collections of beers (draft and bottled) in the area Robert

A Woman Called Sam Catering makes the BEST Chili and cornbread EVER in the entire world. She'll do meat or vegie. Her e-mail is awomancalledsam[at] Have fun. Great idea anon

Caterer for a party in my home

Oct 2006

Hi, I'm in need of a good caterer for a party at my home(Oakland)11/03 - does anyone have a recommendation? Thanks, Robin

I HIGHLY recommend Hugh Groman Catering in Berkeley. The food is outstanding with an emphasis on simple, fresh, delicious food. It is definitely high end but you get what you pay for and they take care of all the details so you can relax and enjoy your party. I have been to one of party they catered at a friend's house and then used them once myself and both times people were commenting it was the best catered food they'd ever had. YUMM nr

Try Rick and Ann's

Call Hugh Groman at Hugh Groman Catering. His food is delicious and he does a top notch job. Hugh Groman, 510.647.5165.[at] Kimberly

This may not be what you're looking for, and they may not serve the East Bay, but I want to let you know about a very good catering experience I had recently. A political group that I'm involved with used La Cocina in San Francisco to cater a fundraiser, and we were very happy with the results. La Cocina helps jumpstart low income people into catering by giving them access to commercial kitchen space. We gave them our target budget (we wanted appetizers and bartenders)and they provided us two proposals from two different women. The food we picked was very tasty, the service was very attentive, and we were very pleased. I'd encourage you to contact them, or email me if you'd like more info. La Cocina is at 2948 Folsom St. (415) 824-2729; website: You can also do a Google search on them to get more information about La Cocina's services summergal

I highly recommend Cynthia Bloebaum, who used to be a chef at XYZ Restaurant at the W Hotel in San Francisco. Cynthia has also taught food and wine pairing classes through U.C. Berkeley Extension. She is absolutely fantastic at preparing foods that bring out the best in wines. She has catered parties for my husband's company at very reasonable prices. Call her at 658-1571 A food lover in Berkeley

Anyone used Rick & Ann's Catering Service?

Sept 2006

Hello, has anyone used Rick and Ann's Catering Service? We need to cater a business open house for about 150, needs to be nice but on a budget. Any thoughts about them or others, would need to service Alameda. Thanks so much! Joni

I haven't used Rick and Ann's, but if you would like to explore other options, I have experienced the wonderful catering of Hugh Groman, and would highly recommend him. I know you indicated you are on a budget, but since that is very subjective, you might want to contact Hugh and see if it is within your range. Hugh Groman Catering. 510-647-5165. hugh [at] Kimberly

I've used Rick and Ann's for two parties in my home. They were helpful with menu suggestions and the food was wonderful. We've used them for a brunch and a lunch and each time it was great. Although if you're looking to save money, I don't think they are the cheapest caterers around, but are reliable and good satisfied customer

Thai or Vietnamese Catering for Lunch

April 2006

I'm catering lunch for the teachers at my daughter's school, and thought doing Thai or Vietnamese would be a nice change (usually it's sandwiches). I need a recommendation for a good and easy to work with restaurant in north Oakland or south Berkeley. anon

Saigon Express is a great little family run Vietnamese place in Berkeley. Though I've never hired them to cater an event, I know that they do have that service available. I'd give them a try. Here's their info: (510) 486-1778 2045 Shattuck Ave Berkeley, CA 94704 Jina

We just catered a birthday lunch from Banana Blossom which is a Thai restaurant in the Glenview district (on Park Blvd between hwy 13 and 580). They were very nice to work with and the food is always great from them. In fact, a number of people at the party commented on how exceptionally good the food was and that they were going to have to visit the restaurant. roxanne

Vegan catering

March 2006

I am planning an adoption party, in a park, for some adults (less than 50, but exact number not yet set) and maybe 10 to 20 kids and a few babies. I want a caterer to bring finger foods/appetizers, maybe five or six selections, with enough for everyone to have one of each, and one or two desserts, all vegan. It will be in Berkeley. First, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced caterer who offers vegan food? Second, can anyone give me an idea of a reasonable price? I've NEVER hired a caterer, and am clueless here. Thanks! m_l

I bought sandwiches, salads and cookies for my son's arrival party at Whole Foods. I specified vegetarian; I presume they could do vegan, though they don't offer tofu or other such non- meat, non-dairy protein (why doesn't anyone??). Cost for 20-30 people was around $400 (is that reasonable?). I went pretty much by WF's estimates as to how many servings were in each item--at the end of the party, sandwiches were all gone, though there were lots of salad leftovers and some cookie leftovers, so next time I would under-order the salads.

Rick and Ann's catering menu tells you which of their dishes are vegan. See their website - they have the menu online. We've used them a bunch of times and their food is really great. They have a nice variety - spend a lot or spend a little. You can order it and pick it up yourself (near the Claremont Hotel) or they will deliver. Ginger

The best vegan caterer I know of is Back to Earth Organic Catering, based in Berkeley. They have done many vegan events for me and for my company in the past. They are extremely talented and make awesome vegan desserts as well. Because they are entirely organic, and they pay their staff well, they are probably a little more expensive than other companies, but in my opinion, well worth it. Also, as a very joyful vegan who loves food, it was hard to find other caterers who could really prepare inspired vegan options. Their info is:, Phone: 510.528.3987

My other recommendation for a smaller event that doesn't require much serving staff-- Ali Ghiorse, Savory Thymes, (415) 388-7151. She is also exceptionally talented and easy to work with. I've mostly worked with her for dinner parties of 20 or so people, or luncheons where people serve themselves. She does exclusively vegan food I think. Alissa

Here is a list of caterers who come recommended by a close friend of mine who is vegan. She also recommends checking with your favorite veg or veg-friendly restaurant (she likes Golden Era) because they tend to be less expensive to pick from already- existing menu items than to hire a caterer to customize a menu for you. Indian restaurants, Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, etc. are good choices for variety without a huge cost. That said, here is a list of caterers: Caterers Daily HarvestVegan/Organic chef[at] 707-874-2300 Based in Sebastopol, Daily Harvest works with local organic farmers for fresh, sustainable produce and has a diverse selection of menu options. InBloom Foods Vegan/Organic/Raw 415-482-9727 Delicious raw, gourmet vegan cuisine. No Worries CateringVegan Vegan Filipino cuisine, featuring gluten, tofu, and soy protein in traditionally meat-based dishes. noworriescatering2003[at] 510-219-1843 Pa-Raw-DiseVegan/ Organic/Raw Raw organic gourmet cuisine, based in San Francisco. goodbryan2000[at] To Your Health CateringVegan 415-665-8155 marc2swan[at] San Francisco

I've used Zatar on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley for vegan catering. Very yummy Mediterranean finger foods. As for the price of catering: your cheapest option is going to be platters from Costco. For finger food from an actual caterer, I'd say the range is from $12/person for a mimimal spread to the-sky's-the-limit. Ways to cut costs include ordering food for less people than you're actually expecting (caterers always err on the generous serving side, and most people don't eat one of everything that's offered), and buying your own drinks rather than having the caterer provide them. Other things that add to catering bill: delivery & set-up; servers; clean-up; bringing utensils, plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths, etc. If you are trying to cut corners, be very specific about what you do and don't want them to provide. Have a great party! Auntie M

Caterer for a sit-down lunch

March 2006

Hi I need a recommendation for a caterer, I'm having a sit down lunch for about 50 people in our home. We're located in the Lamorinda area, looking for gourmet california cuisine. Thanks, Lamorinda Mom

Hi! I highly recommend Grace Street Catering. Call Erin at 510/523-1600. They are high end, but worth every penny. Great food and excellent service. Helena

I can highly recommend Barbara Llewellyn of Barbara Llewellyn Catering and Event Planning. Please visit her website at or_caterers_catering_4078.html or She has great food and wonderful service thats reasonably priced. a definite fan

I love Hugh Groman Catering for California Cuisine. He does parties in the East Bay and he is fabulous. The food he makes is always above and beyond delicious, his staff is always very professional... I can't say enough good things about him as a caterer. Hugh always cooks the food and attends every event he caters to make sure all is going smoothly. Check out his website at His number is 647- 5165

I highly recommend Hugh Groman Catering. Hugh catered a party for my dad's birthday last year and he did an incredible job. The food was outstanding, the presentation was beautiful and the service was amazing. I was really thrilled with the entire process, from start to finish. Hugh's website is, his phone number is (510) 647-5165. Jen

Hi- Oh how fun to have a sit down catered lunch. I have a great recommendation for you- Darius at SpringLoaf Catering is fabulous. Always fresh food, always innovative, always within your budget. I've worked with him several different times both for my personal hire- (one time for a Ladies Baby Shower brunch, another for my husbands 40th birthday, and sadly for a friend's funeral,) and for work. Please call him, and let him know that Michelle Blakeley referred you. Or call at (925) 962-9369. Best, Michelle

Lucy Aghadjian, (510)843-4056. She caters my school's board meetings and catered my company's Christmas Party. She will work closely with you on food choices. Uses Organic, Natural, in-season foods only and everything I have tasted has been supurb. Not to mention, she is really nice and great to work with.

Call Traci Prendergast at Chickweed Catering. I went to a 40 person garden party she catered and also used her meal delivery service. Excellent, natural, terrific sauces. Veggi options. Some of the best food I've had. She has a website at: and you can reach her at 510) 282-7605 chickweedcatering [at] Stu

You must check out Hugh Groman Catering for your lunch event. He is very high quality, excellent food, presentation, and service. I've had his food at 2 different events and both were amazing. Dana

I would recommend Jasmine Catering. Oded Hilu is the chef who runs the business. He has catered several things for us, including a dinner birthday party and everything was great. He has a degree from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in New York and it really shows, the food looks really pretty, he has ideas for really interesting and yummy combinations that I wouldn't have thought of in a million years, but he will work with you and cook your favorites or suggest things. There is a web site and the phone number is 845-4378. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like more information. Latromb1

Try It's run by Tasha DeSerio who worked at Chez Panisse for several years. Cathy

Hugh Groman catering in Berkeley is excellent. You will love his food and his approach to making a lovely experience for your guests. 510 647-5165 Melanie

I would like to recommend Jasmine Catering for your sit-down luncheon for 50 guests. They are a wonderful company that makes delicious dishes and are extremely professional and great to work with. Oded and Sacha will go out of their way to listen to your needs and make your event exactly as you wish it to be. Oded is able to accommodate any menu you desire and you will be amazed at how good his food is and how many complements you will get regarding presentation, taste and professionalism with this wonderful catering company. I used them for my son's sit-down Bar Mitzvah dinner and have been to other events that they have catered and their food is far beyond the regular fare. They cater for weddings, anniversaries, small intimate dinners or whatever your needs, are respectful and leave the place better than they found it. Please feel free to contact me, and view their web site, ~Sue~

July 2005

Re: Catering - Central or South American Food
Try La Paz on Shattuck Avenue. Really good food, very accommodating owner. Ann

July 2005

Re: Catering - Indian food in Berkeley/Albany
I have attended 2 parties catered by Wah Ji Wah on 3849 Thornton Avenue, Sunset Village, Fremont, CA, 94536 510-742-1690 The food was amazing--lots of variety, many dishes beyond the typical North Indian foods, beautifully presented. Their grilled meats and veg are great. They bring the grill on site and prepare the meats and vegetables in front of you. Anon

June 2005

Re: Catering or hired help for BBQ
We have used Back Forty in Pleasant Hill. They have a range of options for catering, fully serviced & staffed & pick up and go, whatever suits your needs and budget. I also ''highly'' recommend looking into the Kinder's Meat and Deli, newly opened in Hercules (there are several around the east bay). We just did a great backyard party and picked up our menu items (pre- ordered) and it was great. Give them a call. These were both all american BBQ style, not ethnic, but totally delicious! Kerri

2003 - 2004 Recommendations

High-end Catering/Bar Service

August 2004

I live in the Berkeley area and am looking for a high-end catering service. Ideally, they would prepare and serve savory appetizers at my home for about 40-50 people over the course of 3 to 4 hours as well as provide bar service. Any recommendations? amj

Hi! I am an event manager at UC Berkeley. For the last 9 years, I've used Grace Street catering for all of our high end events and they are fabulous. You will be extremely pleased with their service and food. Call Erin at 510/523-1600. Helena

Caterer for small dinner party

April 2004

I am looking for a caterer for a dinner for about 7 adults. I'd like someone to come to my house to cook, serve and clean up after dinner. We'd like some tasty hors d'oeuvres, the main meal with maybe a course or two, and then dessert. Nothing too elaborate. I have looked at the archives but didn't see anything that seemed right. Thanks for your help.
Want to spend time with my guests

Lois Moore is expanding her catering business -- she might also be open to doing some personal chef work. Her number is 482- 9212.

A Woman Called Sam does catering for small and large parties. Her e-mail is awomancalledsam AT She is a FABULOUS cook, absolutely conscientious, will totally take control and get the job done so you don't have to worry about a thing. Tell her June sent you. Have fun. June

Hi. Ida Shen might be ideal for your dinner party! Her food is wonderful as is her style... Contact her at ida AT and tell her Wanda sent you...and have a great time with your guests! Wanda

A new catering company which I've been using for work (for small gatherings) is Pass The Peas. It's a group of young guys who all bring a little of their own cultural take to their menu. Their prices are competitive and they are really trying to make a go of it. You can call Micheal 510-532-7030. Another guy I use is Gabrielle at Two or More catering 415-922-3755. I have never been dissappointed with the service or quality of either one. Have a fun party! Juliette

Mary Lou Allen lives in No. Berkeley and is a chef, and a cooking teacher (and I think she also trains cooking teachers). We hired her to teach a short series of cooking classes in our home for our anniversary present to each other, and it was great. More importantly, I've eaten a dinner that she cooked for a dinner party, and it was fantastic - not overly fussy, just simple, elegant and delicious. While she does not make a business out of catering per se, I know she does it occasionally and would be interested in talking to you. You can reach her at 510 558-8710. Bon Appetit! food lover

Culinary Excellence Catering

March 2004

We are thinking of using Culinary Excellence Caterers for a big family event. Has anyone ever used them, and would you use them again? THANKS! Berkeley Girl

Culinary Excellence catered a friend's wedding in 1995 and when I got married in 2001, we used them as well. We received MANY compliments on the food and would highly recommend them. I also recommended them to a friend who hired them for her wedding and she was also very pleased. Klaus, the owner, was very helpful and professional. Maya

We used Culinary Excellence Catering for our Sunday Brunch wedding in 2000 and they were fantastic!! Not only would Klaus make anything we wanted, he also suggested many great ideas. Everyone loved the food and the presentation. I would highly recommend them for any catered event as they do a great job, are so easy to work with, and are very reasonable. I did a lot of research to find a caterer for our wedding and was really impressed as they make you feel like family. Suzanna

Coffee service for a conference

March 2004

Do you know of a service that can deliver coffee for 400 people to the UC Berkeley campus? My husband is on the organizing committee for a conference that will be held on the UC Berkeley campus in September 2005. They cannot find a business willing to be responsible for coffee service during the conference. They require coffee, hot water, juice, etc, 2 times a day for around 400 people. (Peet's will sell them the coffee, but they will not deliver.) Can you recommend a coffee service that could do this? Kirsten

I hope this works out for you -- there is a place called Associated Services in Concord that may be able to help. Their # is (925)932-2739. The owner there has ALWAYS been very kind toward our school (Christ the King) when it comes time to do our festival every year. We get all of the necessities for coffee service from them and they are FABULOUS. I hope that this is the sort of thing they can help you with as they are very nice people. Bob is the owner and if you call them, please tell them that Trish from Christ the King sent you -- I'd like them to know that we appreciate them and are spreading the word about how great they are! Good luck! Trish

Caffe Roma often does this for campus functions. Probably nearly any of the local cafes would (Strada, Roma, etc)

You can also try Housing and Dining...They have a website here:

For coffee service, try Espresso Subito 527-7330, They provide a fabulous very professional coffee service. Deborah

Caterer for school lunches

June 2003

I am doing a project. Are there any caterers who offer parents a convenient and healthy alternative to packing a bag lunch for their kids? I am looking for a caterer that would deliver healthy lunches daily to the kids' schools.

I know Bentley School uses a service called Lunch N Munch. I haven't eaten the lunches myself but they look good. I think you get a menu and can choose what you want on different days etc and then they deliver. Leah

Redwood Day School (Oakland) uses Lunch n' Munch. The selections seem pretty healthy to me, although we haven't yet made use of the service. You can call RDS at (510) 534-0800, and someone there might be able to give you more info. LA

Lunch n'munch delivers ''bag'' lunches to our school daily. You sign up for them a month at a time, and each day you have 3 or 4 different options to choose from. It is catered by, I am pretty sure, Kensington Bistro. You can call them at: 510) 232- 4013 Shahana

St. Paul's Episcopal School in Oakland gives parents the option of buying lunches from ''Lunch 'N Munch.'' They deliver healthy bag lunches and give kids at least three options of entrees everyday. Call the school to get the contact information. Diane

Looking for Party Help

May 2003

I'm having a party at my house Saturday night, June 28 and am looking for 2 -3 hostess helpers. I have a chef preparing the food, need help with maintaining buffet, serving beer and wine and clean up. We're expecting about 100pp. Also, can someone recommend a good party rental store for glasses, tables, chairs,etc? Thanks Jeanne

You might want to try Classic Party Rentals in the South Bay. We used them for Thanksgiving this past year (about 20 people) and they had very nice equipment and a good selection. I don't know if they are inexpensive but their prices were comparable to other companies and they seemed to have a broader selection. You can have a look at -RK

Servers and Clean-up Help

June 2003

I am looking for someone who would like to earn some extra $$ helping serve appetizers and clean-up after a party for approx. 80 people. Party should last about 4 hours and will be held Friday, July 11. Does anyone have any recommendations?? Thanks. Judy

I used this outfit about seven years ago for my Berkeley wedding and was very pleased: Hostess Helpers 2070 10th Ave San Francisco, CA (415) 665-9313 We had them do everything (and more) caterers would do, except the food was supplied by someone else. - Charis

One of the best ways to find servers/clean-up persons is to advertise at the California Culinary Academy (CCA) on Polk street in San Francisco. They will list your ''job'' or ''jobs'' on a bulletin board for students who would like to make extra money. It's a great way to get experienced people/those who need more experience at a good $$ rate. You can also advertise for a chef/cook to do private dinners at your home. Maya

Vegetarian caterer for small wedding

Jan. 2003

I am looking for a caterer for my small vegetarian wedding reception (only 25 people). My son (two years old) and his cousins (two under 8 years old) will be there. I need an affordable caterer who can also provide or coordinate the rental of tables, chairs, place settings, and linens. The wedding in late April, 2003. Every place I have called is either WAY too expensive or won't cater such a small event. I need help! Drennen

Blue Heron in Oakland catered my wedding and, though I don't know if they are exclusively vegetarian, the food was fantastic, much of it was vegan (at my request), they provided linens (etc) and even a wedding coordinator. They did such a great job my sister hired them to do her wedding. For hers they set up an outdoor (yes, vegetarian) grill. It was, again, fantastic. I have no idea if they'll do an event for such a small number of people nor on such short notice. Good luck. Molly G

I highly recommend Doris Bowen. She has catered small dinners and a larger party for us. The food is always delicious. She worked with us to come up with a menu within our dietary restrictions (she even catered a beautiful Passover dinner -- her first venture into Jewish cooking!). Although she works alone, she has access to party rentals and can hire assistants. Doris' number is (925) 648-3329.

A while back, we had a catered lunch at my office, with about fifteen people served. The vegetarian (with vegan options) caterer was called ''Mrs. Dish,'' based, I think, in Emeryville. I couldn't find her on line just now, but I remember that the food was really good, and also reasonably priced. The other vegetarian-friendly caterer with whom I've had experience is Shai's in Kensington ( I don't know if they do really small parties, but you could call and find out. The food is delicious and the presentation is really spectacular -- their hoummus platter is a beautiful work of art! Alexa

Caterer for Party of 200

Jan 2003

I am looking for caterer reccomendations for a large party of 200 in Pleasanton in September 2003. Anybody have any suggestions that won't break the bank? Thanks! Juliette

My husband is a chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and also has his own catering business. He caters private parties from small dinner parties to larger parties like the one that you mentioned for 200 people. He specializes in seasonal organic cooking from simple to fancy. His name is Arnon Oren: arnon_oren AT, ph: 510-237-1230 Tammy

You might try Classic Catering in Pleasant Hill. I have used them a few times and they are always very willing to work within my budget. I will tell them what we are looking for, they give a price, then if it above the budget , I'll say, ''My budget is $XX.XX per person; can you work with me?'' Jackie is the woman you need to speak with. They are professional, courteous, and very amenable to whatever your needs are. They are not a huge outfit, but the food has always been very good and the staff, excellent! Good luck, and feel free to contact me with any questions! Trish

Try calling La Bocca Fina in Hayward. I've used them quite a few times for large (350 people) to smaller affairs(50-60). Teri, the owner is wonderful! She is a true professional, handling all my parties efficiently. She knows the true meaning of customer service! Which allows me to relax during the parties and have a good time as well. Her food is always creative and extremely tasty. She'll help you come up with a menu for your budget.

Generally with catering the bulk of the money goes toward hiring the staff to set up, cook, serve, keep things running smoothly, etc. and just run the party. If you want to keep your costs down and do more of this yourself, you may want to consider going to Whole Foods or Picante or someplace like that where they will just make the food. Then you pick up and do the rest. However, if you want a full service caterer I highly recommend La Bocca Fina. Their number is 510-264-0276. allison

I would like to recommend La Bonne Cuisine, a French Catering company located in Berkeley. I am working for them and have seen many large parties they have organized and they are unbelievable ! The food is great (they only use organic vegetables and meat without hormones), the service is really friendly (you feel like dealing with a family) and they are really creative in terms of presentation and decoration: their flower arrangements are really unique. They can help with a lot of ideas regarding the place you are looking for, the invitations, the theme...They have many references and can really be a great added value. Christophe, the Chef really knows what is talking about. They also organize the French summer camp in Tilden Park and some cooking lessons for kids (in French !). Last but not least the prices are not going to break your bank ! If you want a free quote or some more info call me at (510) 549-3760. Bon appitit ! Laura

We used a caterer for a wedding celebration in Kensington last summer and were very pleased with the results. We were on a tight budget and couldn't afford a high-end ''gourmet'' caterer but did want good food that would appeal to both adults and kids. The owner was extremely helpful, the price was right, the staff was friendly, and everyone commented on the delicious food.
Stephen Nicol Red Robin Caterers 489 Magnolia Ave. Larkspur 415-924-0956

I would highly recommend Culinary Excellence located in Concord. Claus (the owner) catered our Sunday Brunch wedding in 2000 and was so friendly and helpful. He has tastings every month and if there is something special you would like that is not listed on his menus, he will gladly make it special for you (even family recipes). He has been in business for many years and he makes you feel like part of the family. AND his prices are totally reasonable!!! His website is: Bon Appetite! Suzanna

I know of a really great caterer based out of Berkeley. His name is Hugh Groman, his business is Hugh Groman Catering. His number is 415-250-1361. I actually have been to 2 parties that he did because after the first one at my friend's house, one of our friends liked the food so much that they hired him for another party I was invited to. The 2 parties were very different. One was a casual more picnic style and one was a sit down very extravagant dinner, so I think he can probably work with you on a menu that suits your needs and budget. Per my friend, he was easy to work with and very personable. His food was some of the best I've had. Good luck with your party! Nina

Owner/Chef Terry Paulding does a wonderful job of catering for 30 and over. She will come up with innovative and eclectic menus that don't break the bank. She and her staff are extremely professional but down to earth. She put on a sophisticated Spanish dinner for us that was elegant yet simple. The evenings conversation continued to revert back to the food and presentation. Terry can be reached at 510-594-1104. Trish

I recommend Tina Ernano at Beans Catering. Beans Catering uses fresh, seasonal, and organic (when possible) produce. They provide menus ranging from Asian influenced cuisine to regional Italian specialties. They can do small or large parties and also provide home delivered meals.Contact Tina at tinaernano[at] Danielle

2002 & Earlier

Caterer for a baby shower

June 2002

I would like to get a recommendation for a local caterer. I'm having a baby shower for a friend in about a month and would appreciate a name of a person who could cater that. After looking over the postings on the recommendations page and speaking with some of the caterers listed, it seems like the caterers I liked are already booked for that date. So any others that could be recommended would be appreciated. Thank you Katie in Rockridge

If you are just looking for someone just to prepare the food I recently used Rick and Ann's in Berkeley and thought they were excellent. My party was for 20 people and a friend also used them for a party of 80+ and was also very happy with them. They have an excellent menu, everything can be served at room temp, they will deliver, are very helpful in menu planning and I found them to be very reasonably priced (I don't think our bill even came to $150 and we had tons of leftovers). Nearly everyone at our party commented on how good the food was.

Try Fete catering at 510-655-9390. Duncan McCreight is the owner and is really good. He's done a number of events for me including baby showers. Good luck. Kristi

I've had very good success here on Campus using Bubi's Catering. They are located at 2530 Tenth Street in Berkeley. Their telephone number is 510-549-1759. They have a nice menu, from sandwiches through quiches, egg rolls and lasagne, with many meat and vegetarian options. And they make their own cookies, which are WONDERFUL. They are one of the few caterers I have found in this area who will still cater breakfast. I have dealt in the past with Jim Kehl, who is just a wonderful guy. Last year he drove my husband's car keys to our home in San Leandro when I accidentally took them with me to Berkeley at 7am! Great folks. Dawn

I would like to recommend my neighbour, Joel Goldfarb. You can contact him at: Joel at Tel 925-943-2378 - Richa

To the person who is looking for a caterer, I strongly recommend a friend of mine who has a catering business in Oakland. Her name is Namie Shin and can be reached at 510-332-1839. She's a great cook and has been a caterer for several years. She caters lunches, weddings, baby showers - and all at very reasonable prices. Give her a call, I'm sure you'll be very happy with her work. Robyn

I highly recommend the team at Lalime's/Jimmy Bean's; they catered our wedding rehearsal dinner. It was fantastic. You can visit their website at or call Haig Krikorian at 510-559-7023. Christine

I would recommend Terry Paulding as a caterer that will come to your home for a party. She also teaches wonderful cooking classes in Emeryville through the Piedmont adult school. Her number is 510 594-1104 Dawn

I highly recommend Skip and his crew at Innovative Restaurant Ventures. Skip catered my wedding and friends loved it so much, he catered 3 of theirs as well. I think he would do a baby shower too. His pricing was far below any other caterer I had found and his food was outstanding. You can reach him through one of his restaurants; Girasole in Danville (925) 484-1001 or The Big Horn Grill in San Ramon. Nicole

I used Rick & Ann's catering at the last minute (2 days before) for my sister's shower. They were great, the food was great and reasonably priced (comparatively). They were nice and helped me pick how much and what food would be good. Everyone loved it and thought the food was delicious. Hileslie1

I can recommend a caterer Chez Ellen. She's cooked for a few of our parties, including a baby shower. The food is fantastic. Ellen offers a personal chef service as well cooking in your kitchen or having fresh dinners delivered. Her number is 428 CHEF (2433). you can write me with more questions. paula

We were really pleased with Shai's which is located on the Arlington in Kensington. He was very reliable, and you can go into his restaurant and taste the food in advance. I thought his prices were reasonable, and he really worked with us to bring the prices down. Daphne

I used Sunrise Catering in Walnut Creek - very reasonable and good food. Plus with a certain minimum order you get a server/cleaner person. You also might want to check out Rick & Ann's catering. Lisa

Caterer for a BBQ

May 2002

I'm looking for a barbecue caterer who will come and do the barbecue at my place. I went to a party back east where a caterer brought a trailer that was a huge barbecue grill and rotisserie pulled behind a pickup truck, plus all the ''fixins'', and I'l love to have that at a housewarming party that I'm planning. Does anyone out there have any recommendations? Thanks! new home owner

I went to a Neighborhood Picnic which was catered by Everett and Jones. They brought *everything* and it was really, really popular. E has in many people's opinion, the best BBQ in the bay area (some people think Carmen's in Hayward is better, but they are just wrong!). Flints may also do a similar deal, though they have some consistency problems BBQ Lover

Pearlie's restaurant could probably do this. They now own a restaurant but they used to be a catering company with the most amazing (and affordable!) food. Pearlie's 5885 Bancroft Ave at Seminary; Oakland 510-569-1394

Try Backforty BBQ in Pleasant Hill. I had used them last June for my husband's surprise 40th and everyone loved it! My girlfriend used them for her wedding last summer also. They have a range of catering plans. They will come on site with big grill and serve up buffet style, deliver your just of the grill hot items and sides in trays, or you can pick it up. They charge by the person, and I found for the amount of grub we received, was a very reasonable price price. Includes plates, tablecloths, utensils and wet-napkins for those oh so good BBQ ribs. A complete package for throwing a down home party. We loved them and will definately use them again and again. They have a web site , I think it is it out. Note from Myriam: Website is: Kerri

To the person who inquired about Barbecue Catering, the Great American Bar-b-Q Company in Alameda on High Street has a huge portable grill that they take to catering jobs. Katie

Japanese food

Nov 2002

I am looking for a caterer who does Japanese food WELL. Looking for sushi / terriyaki / tempura. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Nina

You can try a little Japanese store/caterer on Dwight Way just above Shattuck. They've catered a few work parties in my office and done a fine job (and this according to native Japanese co- workers). Their name escapes me right now, but they're pretty easy to find (in person, obviously). Nina (too!)

The Dwight Way shop referred to by the previous response is Musashi. Manpuku on Telegraph is comparable (both in Berkeley). There is also a very nice deli on San Pablo in El Cerrito in the same mini mall as Katanaya restaurant. The above are affordable bento (i.e., lunch box) type shops. For higher end catering try Genki on San Pablo in Berkeley. GF

You should definitely contact Cubby Nakamura at Tokyo Fish Market on San Pablo Ave. His food is great. I don't know about the tempura, but his sushi, sashimi, etc. are wonderful. And, he is an extremely nice guy. Teresa

The name of the great Japanese caterer is Musashi, on Dwight Way in Berkeley. They're fantastic. Susan

I have a different perspective on Musashi - for which a number have sent high recommendations. For 5 years I've work within a block of the store so it's convenient to pop by for quick bite. But I rarely do unless I'm really rushed for time. Musashi sushi is bland and almost all tastes the same (was that eel or tuna I just ate?).

The sushi at Joshuya (corner of Dwight and Telegraph) is a little longer walk but ooooh so much better! The fish is fresh and flavorful and the staff wants to help (though they generally do make a mistake). Joshuya where we get our sushi company-wide lunches.

My experience with the Musashi staff is poor (with the exception of a few gems who don't stay employed there long). The fellow, whom I believe to be the owner, is very abrupt.he's rarely there, though.

Since my day-to-day enjoyment of the quality of staff and food at Musashi is rather low, I've never gotten them to cater - though their prices do look tempting. Since there are good recommendations, maybe they use their better fish for the custom catering jobs and the day-to-day orders get leftovers! -a musashi neighbor

Kosher food

Nov 2002

Can anyone suggest an excellent kosher caterer? Expensive is okay. Thank you

''A Woman Called Sam'' (that's the name she uses) does kosher catering. Her e-mail address is awomancalledSam at June

I would recommend Oded Hilu for kosher catering. He's a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA-the original one in Hyde Park NY), and can make great kosher food for 2 people or two hundred people. I found him very easy to work with and flexible with last minute changes. You can contact him by email: Odedly at or call (510)845-4378. Have a great celebration!

Lois Moore 482-9212. She usually cooks out of the synagogue or client's home and can make traditional Ashkenazie food (great gefilte fish, latkes, etc...) as well as California food (baked salmon, roasted veggies, aram sandwiches) and Israeli dishes. Carol

Alan Finkelstein (510-845-8275) is a great kosher caterer. His food is fabulous and he's easy to work with. Claudia

UC campus event

November 2002

I am looking for a caterer for an event that will take place at Haas over two days in mid-November. We will be meeting in the Wells Fargo room at Haas. I was warned that Haas is really picky about letting caterers into their facilities. I was told that Paul Jenkins at White Hat Catering has done some Haas events. Has anyone used him? I read the Caterer recommendations in the archive but he isn't mentioned. Most of the UC event caterer recommendations seem to be a few years old. We will be about 25 people for two breakfasts and two lunches. Any ideas? This is my first time organizing food for a campus event--anything else I should be aware of? Thanks in advance -- Sojeila

Try Travelin' Joe Espresso Catering, which specializes in on- site espresso bars (regular and decaf coffee, espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, etc. to order) for meetings and other events, but can also do breakfast and lunch catering (anything from bagels and cookies to a to-order hot waffle bar) along with the coffee. They've done a few events at Haas in the past, and also provide catering for other UCB departments. Ask for Bill at 510-843-8730 or check out their website at CC

Our department orders and picks up food, etc. from Andronicos. The food is very good and I think it's less expensive than other places (although money may be no object at Haas :). But you have to do a bit more work yourself (set up tables, do flowers if you like, remember to get decorative items, etc.). But we enjoy our receptions. Best of luck Linda

I am an events manager in the University Events and Ceremonies department on campus and have done many events at Haas. I don't know what your budget is, but if you have a budget for full service, I highly recommend Grace Street Catering (510/523-1600, tell Erin Helena sent you). High quality food and unbeatable service. If you just want drop off service, I recommend Rick & Ann's (yummy bakery goods) or Stella Nonna (awesome boxed lunches). Jimmy Bean's is also good and they run the cafe located in Haas. Jimmy Bean's can work within your budget and service needs. (I don't have any experience with White Hat.) Helena

July 2004

I would like to recommend very enthusiastically a gifted caterer--Susan, ''The Jewish Martha.'' Susan did an aesthetically-pleasing and delicious-tasting brunch for me--frittata, scones, homemade jam, coffee cake, fruit skewers with marscarpone dip. As well, she was timely and courteous and very conscientious. On another occasion, I ate at a friend's 10 guest dinner party, for which Susan had catered. Again, everything was delicious and beautiful--lemon garlic chicken, roasted garlic potatoes, a mixed green salad with the most amazing citrus vinagrette, and a luscious apricot cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream--and, get this, the apricots were organic and from Susan's tree. Susan is emboldened enough to accept new clients. She is reachable at 510-420-8471. A Foodie

Feb 2004

My cousin recently started a new catering service which I'd like to recommend. Ideally suited towards baby showers, baby namings, wedding showers and adult birthday parties, TheCrepeChef will deliver crepes warm and fresh to your event. His recipes are not your standard jam, cheese or apple generic variety. Instead, he suggests Crepe Cafe Au Lait - Mocha with a splash of liqueur and Hawaiian brown sugar to lightly sweeten, or Crepe Luau - A south- sea island specialty - coconut, pineapple and rum, or Cheese Enchantment - Variety of European cheeses for a zesty fulfilling crepe, or Tomato Temptation - Roma Italian tomatoes, onion, olive oil and black pepper among others. For that extra flair he will flambe selected crepes at the party. For your next party, contact TheCrepeChef : (650) 303-1092 or crepechef AT Tali

Nov 2002

In looking for a caterer on this site I noticed there aren't any recent recommendations. I would like to highly recommend Hugh Groman Catering in Berkeley. He catered my birthday party and I've been to 2 other parties that he catered. He does an EXCELLENT job and works closely with you to personalize the menu with food you love. He also cares very much about the freshness and quality of the food he serves. Lastly, he is just a lot of fun and makes planning the party stress free! His number is 415- 250-1361. Nina


I have a reccomendation for a caterer. Her name is Corinne Kinczel. Her company is called CEK productions. She does personalized catering and festive occasions (aka: parties) :) She will travel all over the bay area,she is reasonably priced, and the food is wonderful! Her # is 510.326.4084

I'd like to recommend Art's Cafe as a fantastic caterer. I think many portions of their catering excelled my wedding caterer which we paid five times higher for in Santa Barbara, including presentation. We've used them twice, each time very impressively presented, and the food was delicious. People were raving about it and asked who this caterer was. Several guests told me they went back for third and fourth plates! Also, other friends have used them and were delighted by their quality and incredibly low rate. For example, their rates may have gone up, but I hosted my son's birthday party of about 40 people for $500 for food only.... and they prepared several delicious entrees, a gorgeous fruit salad, sushi platter, a whole salmon, japanese noodle salad, and more! We also had enough food left to give a way and eat for an entire week. Please don't tell them I thought they were inexpensive b/c I don't want to see higher prices next time we call them. It's o.k. to say that Susan JunFish recommended them, however. Their food is not super fancy like for example what you see from the chefs coming out of a Culinary Academy, but it's better than most foods I've had in restaurants in Berkely and surrounding areas. They run a simple looking hole in the wall cafe in El Cerrito, which does not represent how their catered food look like or taste like. They are also very nice people so I hired them to serve our guests as well. Enjoy! Susan


Looking for a caterer: I am looking for a caterer for my son's bar mitzvah this spring in Oakland. I am looking for someone who will do a mixture of providing some of the food and presenting some of the food that we (and our friends) will be making - and who is not too expensive and would also be open to using the help of some young adults who we will hire to help the caterer! Does anyone have someone to recommend?

I've been very pleased with Tricia O'Brien Catering. She's in Oakland and can be reached at 420-0958 or tobcaters at She catered a party for us and I also hired her to teach a cooking class to a group of friends (it was really fun!). Friends who attended my events that Tricia catered have also used her since they enjoyed her food so much. Her presentation is great and she is very flexible to help plan

I heartily recommend Terry Paulding to anyone who is planning a party or dinner. She has a wonderful range of diverse ethnic menus to which she adds her own innovative twists. She also teaches several cooking classes at Piedmont Adult School. Call Terry at 510-594-1104


From: Janeen

For the caterer recommendation, I'd like to recommend Trumpetvine Catering. They are here in Berkeley and in the book. We used them for our wedding nine years ago and I still get compliments on the food that we had. We did have lots of hors d'ouvres too. Good luck.

I would highly recommend Carter Brown Catering. The chefs have great experience (backgrounds include Bay Wolf and Chez Panisse) and are very creative. They'll provide expert catering and coordinate any size event for you. They can be reached at 925- 600-8827 or on-line at carter_brown_catering at Their food is fantastic!

I've used Poulet for a brunch, 2 lunches and a buffet style dinner. I discovered them through a wedding I attended several years ago. The owner Marilyn is a very pleasant, creative and responsive person to work with. She's willing to discuss different menus and ideas, brainstorm about ways to save money on the bill and has a great staff of people that work for her. The food is excellent. You can have them deliver and serve the food or you can pick it up. The dinner I had them do was for a birthday. She said they could do the cake but it would be somewhat expensive and suggested I might want to order it from Virginia Bakery which is located across the street from Poulet. They actually picked the cake up for me and delivered it to the party at no extra charge. Just one example of how flexible they are. Their phone number is 510-845-5932 and they're located at 1685 Shattuck Avenue.

A catering referral-- I used Bread and Butter Catering phone 741-1680 fax 741-1681 for my In-laws 50th wedding Anniversary (150 people) and they were great. They also handle small events as described in the request.

Santa Fe Bar and Grill caters beautifully.

Try Chestnut Tree Catering, 1012 B Grayson St., Berkeley, 849-0681. I have used this company several times for our Dept. events and their service is tops, food is great, and prices are within reason, i.e. what others around are charging, but with better quality of food. Lucy Montanez, SIMS

I've used Blue Heron Catering. 836-0303 Absolutely fantastic hors d'oeurves, great service and attention. we had them for our house warming party for 80+ people. They set up, refilled trays, cleaned throughout the party and after. We even had great leftovers. By all means give them a try.

I can highly recommend Julia Wildwood. She has catered several events for us, is quite reasonable, and is a pleasure to deal with. She lives in Berkeley and her number is 845-2515.

Market Hall Catering in Rockridge is excellent! You can cut expenses by picking up your order or, they deliver. I have never had anything bad and she has lots of substantial finger foods for a stand-up dinner. All the produce comes fresh and beautiful from Market Hall produce. Also, the portions are so generous that I have taken to cutting down the number of people I report are coming by about 10% - 20% and we have never run out of food. Market Hall catering: 547-4066

Yes, try Market Hall Caterers, ask for Susan Lieber, 547-4066. her company is part of the Rockridge Market Hall and they are extremely popular and yummy. Good luck.

WARNING!!! I would like to respond to the person recommending Market Hall Catering. I will never use their services again. I had to arrange a very important catered function for a Hitchcock lecture last spring. I had used Market Hall Caterers previously and found them quite good. I made the arrangements well in advance, had been in contact with them and everything was set--except they didn't show up!! We called--they didn't return the phone calls. Their courier service called us to say they had car problems. They still didn't show up. They kept saying they would be here in 15 minutes and didn't.they were 2 hrs. late. It was an absolute nightmare. I had 75 people who had attended a very important lecture by Lord Colin Renfrew and there was no food, drinks, utensils NOTHING!! After continually calling them and the courier service the food arrived -- when the reception was over! We never received an explanation, an apology or anything. It was the most unprofessional group of people I have ever seen--who took no responsibility for ruining an important function. Beware. It was very embarrassing.

I know a great caterer, Janet Lash, who has done several jobs for the School of Public Health, and also did a Boalt fundraiser, was hosted by an Oracle employee, who is also a Boalt alum. Although Janet is located in Palo Alto, she provides services to the entire Bay Area. She can be reached at: Phone: 415-856-6320 Pgr: 415 568-8340 or E-Mail: AVSO at AOL dot com Good Luck with your party.

In response to your inquiry about a caterer, I'd like to suggest my former babysitter, who now works at Andronicos and cooks for a group of priests in Berkeley. Her name is Deborah Carson of Just Cater It. Her phone number in El Cerrito is 528-8489, and pager number is 309-6831. She's catered many private functions for UC folks (parties, weddings, dinners, etc.) and have also catered for UCOP meetings. I have told her that I would be referring her to you. If you would like to give me a call, I can be reached at 527-3427. Hope it works out or that you find someone good.

If anyone is looking for a personal caterer, my husband John Finley caters dinners/parties for a very reasonable rate. He has many references from around the states. Local references can be obtained from the University Art Museum. Or you can call him for any inquiries at home 510.525.2661 or work 415.291.0808.

From: Aleta (3/98)

Glass Onion, 2824 7th St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 510-848-3548, Fax 848-0724. Ask for Gloria or Tom. Cost $10.00 - $16.00 per plate. SAMPLE: Grilled breast of chicken with red wine & mushroom sauce, rosemary new potatoes with garlic & pearl onions, baby mixed green salad with raspberry vinaigrette, green beans almondine with cracked pepper, new york style cheese cake. mmm mmm good all for $10.00 per plate. Price includes utensils, drinks, and they deliver! I recommend them for your next staff/department/family gathering!

Editor Note As of Feb 2006, the address for Glass Onion is:
Glass Onion Catering 510-848-3542 1-800-My-Lunch 2832 10th Street Berkeley, CA 94710 Owners: Tom & Gloria Atherstone
per email from Brandy Turner 2/21/2006 -