Planning a Catered Party 101

Plan an event that you’ll get the most from; it’s your party not the caterers.

Planning Your Party

How to throw a great party, 6 things you must do.
  1. Send an interesting invitation.
  2. Greet every guest personally.
  3. Have a signature drink and great food.
  4. Give them something entertaining. Card tricks, clairvoyants, sketch artist, slide show, dance lessons.
  5. Keep the evening moving and on schedule. People like to be told what to do.
  6. Have a set finish, coffee at the door, adult goodie bags.

Well before your party you will need to decide on what style of event you are looking to have.

This is the “Why” of the questions to answer.

Is it an intimate dinner party for a Birthday or Celebration?
These are often sit-down, or “plated” meals in your own dining room.

Or do you want a larger crowd to circulate about for a “casual buffet”?

A new idea for large groups is instead of one buffet table with a spread of food and a long line-up of people, is instead to have “action stations” in different locations where chefs cook to order; Pad Thai, Ginger Stir-Fry Vegetables or other “a la minute” preparations.

Another very popular party idea is “Interactive Classes”. Guests can work hands-on making appetizers, learning chef tricks and then can sit down and relax and be served the main course.

Whatever type of event you are looking for, you will need to have some details available for a quote…

Questions for a Catering Quote…

  • How many people.
  • What location.
  • Buffet or plated.
  • Rentals and staff.
  • Bar requirements.
  • Special needs.

Weddings and large events are of course booked 6 months to two years ahead of time. Large caterers can probably accommodate last minute requests for smaller gatherings, but Personal Chefs get booked up every Saturday night many weeks in advance.

The main point of hiring a Personal Chef is to bring the “Chef Experience” into your home.

As a contrast, when paying for a large Prestige Venue like Casa Loma or the Carlu, for example, of the $200 plus per person budgeted, only 20% or less goes towards the food. So is food an afterthought, or is it the highlight of the evening to you?

With a personal chef, when you spend anything from $45 to $125 per person you get an amazing value for your money. It’s all going toward the food. By definition a personal chef does not use a bricks and mortar location but cooks all the food from scratch on site. The meal is custom fitted to your desires and can be “interactive” with a chef engaging your guests and offering an entertainment factor.

What Style of Party?

*Appetizers and Hors D’Oeuvres

This is a great alternative to the sit-down dinner. You can make a whole evening of appetizers!

The number of appetizers presented is roughly 4 to 6 per person per hour if it is pre-meal, and 10 to 12 appetizers per person as a replacement for dinner.

All natural, “Au courant” style, no fat on toast! (See ChefJono’s Behind the swinging door). for an explanation of ‘Why h’orsd’Oeuvres suck!)

All natural Au courant style, no fat on toast!

*Plated sit-down Elegant Dinner Party (For 4 to 20 people)
  • Packages for $85 per person, 6 courses, Chef served.
  • Try not to crowd too many people at the table.
  • First half of the evening can be interactive, while having a drink in the kitchen with the chef while he prepares hors ‘d0uevers and tells tall tales of the fine food scene.
*Celebration gourmet event (Starts at 2 people for $250)
  • For that special occasion.
  • Eight courses including 3 deserts.
  • Updated ‘surf and turf’ tasting menu.
  • An amazing variety of sensations in order to please discriminating tastes.
*Casual Buffet

(20 or more)

  • Chef Jon only makes use of natural ingredients.
  • Attractive serving pieces with an organic look, no Stainless steel or plastic ware.
  • Can be paper-plate served, but will still have a cheerful colour and style.
  • Salads, ginger vegetable stir-fries, high quality meats.
  • Anything from Hamburgers to Southern Pulled Pork BBQ, but always with chefjono style and standards, even when done with a budget cost.
Action Stations

(Groups of 30 to 200)

  • Lively fresh appeal.
  • Gas propane cookers with huge Chinese woks for stir fries and Pad Thai noodles.
  • Whole roasted Beef cut to order
  • Hot smells and sounds to enjoy.
  • Interactive and fun, as opposed to a static buffet line.

(6 to 30 people or more) 

  • The Wow factor, a chef with sharp knives and keen wit!
  • Lends itself to “Tasting Menus” , great variety and quality.
  • Can include recipes, aprons, and knives, go ahead and get your hands messy!
  • “Way more work for the chef, way more fun for you.”
  • Great for business team building, bachelorette parties, or gifts for the Foodie in your group.


It’s so nice of you to ask.

This is a bit of an awkward subject but many clients do want to know what the tipping protocol is for in-home dining.

For many events caterers often bill a 15 % “Service Charge”, the same way restaurants do for large groups. In a restaurant this is often split with support staff such as bartenders, busboys, hostesses etc. However catering companies frequently consider this service charge a way to help cover administrative costs and some of them do not pass the monies on to the staff.

Chef Jon does not charge a service charge upfront but encourages the client to tip at their own discretion. The industry standard is very approximately 15% for servers and 20 to 25% for the chef.