Frequently Asked Questions

General Catering Questions

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If you want to do it the easy and enjoyable way, let’s talk! How can I help find you the perfect support?

Once we establish that we have the date available and that we are a possible provider for your event, Chef Kristen will invite you to join her in a 30-minute clarity call. By the end of the call you’ll come out knowing what you need for your event and if we are the best service for you or if we can refer you to someone who can better serve you. If we are a good match, we can talk through budgets, packages and how to get you the best value to match your vision.

Chef Kristen has been catering for over 20 years professionally and even longer for family and friends. Her first wedding was in 1997 for her cousin and she remembers hand copying all the recipes from library books before we had the internet! We have some glowing reviews on The Knot and our Google Business Page, Chef Kristen Catering.

Besides the incredible food, in season and cooked fresh to restaurant quality, I would say our service to customers from start to finish is above and beyond most or all of our competitors. Chef Kristen starts with the clarity call to make sure your vision is clear and that we are the best match to serve you. If not, we will point you in the right direction. If we are, we will help find the perfect package to serve you and your group. You can trust that we will cover every detail to make the experience easy and fun from the first phone call to the last bite!

Another great benefit of choosing us as your caterer is that you are supporting so many small businesses with every dollar you spend! Not only do we work with amazing service providers, but many of them are business owners themselves. We buy as much locally as we can and give back to our community in so many ways! Vote with your dollars and keep that money in the Rogue Valley!

We specialize in groups of 50-200, but can also accommodate smaller groups, as long as we meet the minimum costs for each package. The largest group we have ever served was 225 with full appetizers service, a buffet dinner and desserts.

This depends on the size, style of service and quality of food you are looking for, as well as how much you want to take on versus how much the caterer does for you. We HIGHLY recommend letting the professionals do as much of the work as possible, so you can fully enjoy your event and guests.

Chef Kristen Catering provides the best seasonal food in Southern Oregon, so that is already priced into every quote and we have different levels of service for you to choose from. For groups over 50, we require that staffing is included in your cost to make sure the food is getting managed properly for safety and guest satisfaction, keeping hot food hot, cold food cold and everything looking beautiful from start to finish. Find specific information in the Pricing and Packages section.

The list is huge and it changes frequently, but here are some of our featured local favorites!

Most of our fish comes from our friends at Port Orford Sustainable Seafood. Produce comes from Barking Moon Farm, Fry Family Farm and Whistling Duck. Bread comes from Rise Up! Artisan Bread. We love to get cheese from Rogue Creamery and Rumiano. Honey from the Bee Girl Org. Beef from Plaisance Ranch. Seasonal favorites include many more friends and neighbors!

If you love a local producer, let us know and maybe we can source from them for your special event!

Much of the food is prepared and cooked in our commercial kitchen in Jacksonville, but we do love to finish things and cook on-site for the premier buffet and dream dinner packages to make sure we are serving the freshest and best flavors possible.

When cooking on-site, we will do a site visit in advance and find the best place to pop-up our mobile kitchen, which includes a large propane grill and 2 propane stoves, tables for prep and room for our coolers and hot boxes. The menu is dependent on what we can do on and off site.

We have enough dishes and silverware to serve up 50 guests at an additional cost of $5 per person. For over 50 guests, you need to rent dishes and silverware or we can provide compostable plates and flatware for more casual gatherings.
YES, we can! These services are available as an add-on to any package that you choose, but have to be purchased in conjunction with one of the provided meal services (including appetizers, buffets and dream dinner packages). Find menu selections and pricing in the Pricing and Packages section.

The Dream Dinner Package comes with any of the following beverage services desired built into the cost. For all the other services we have add-on non-alcoholic beverage services available including a cold drink station with flavored waters, lemonades, teas or punches, a table water service and a coffee and tea service.

Alcohol service is also available for an additional cost if the host provides the spirits.

Though we do not make wedding cakes, we do offer a dessert menu for an additional cost for more rustic, seasonal options. Please see the menu selections for menu and pricing.
We will cut, plate and help serve the cake to guests for no additional fee for the Premier Buffet package and the Dream Dinner Package.

Chef Kristen is an expert at feeding groups from 20-200 and has years of experience knowing how much food will feed a group. With that in mind, you know your guests, so please communicate if you think you have an “extra hungry group” or if you are just looking for a light meal or snacks. We err on the side of too much, always rounding up numbers to make sure there is plenty for all.

Leftovers are encouraged to go home with the host or guests, so we provide to-go containers that can be packed by the catering team or by you, depending on the flow of the event and where the host wants the food to be left for later use. It is required that a refrigerated area or cooler is provided to ensure safe food handling for all leftovers, otherwise food will be taken at the end of the event.

As we do not generally take part in the set-up of tables, chairs, place settings and decorations, there is no fee for set-up and take down. If this service is included in the dream dinner package, it will be built into the price, but will generally be valued at about $500 for both services.

The buffet is the most common way that we serve dinner for larger groups, but can accommodate groups of up to 100 with family style service and plating for a salad course through our Dream Dinner Package. Family Style takes a considerable amount of staffing and extra dishes, so it is priced into the Dream Dinner cost.

Appetizers are usually served as grazing boards or self-serve platters in multiple stations, but can also be served as passed appetizers with our premier appetizer service.

We LOVE themed menus! Please make a request if you don’t see the theme you are looking for.

Themes we have done in the past include Italian, Mediterranean, Fiesta, Taco Bar, Fire Dinner, BBQ, Shrimp Boil, Aprés Ski, Oktoberfest, Coastal, Maine Lobster Bake and more!

The only package that includes a tasting is the Dream Dinner Package, which entails a 5-6 course meal with pairings off of our menu, so you get to taste a wide variety of salads, sided dishes, appetizers and entrees. This tasting can be purchased separately for $600 for up to 4 guests or more than 4 guests at $125 per person.

You can also come into our store, Jefferson FArm Kitchen, to taste many of our for sale items, including bake-at-home savory pies, ferments, soups and stews, quiche or more. Please contact Chef Kristen to request an appointment so we know how to accommodate you!

All payment types are welcome. If you wish to pay with a credit card, please let Chef Kristen know and she will add the 3% service fee to the invoice and enable that payment option. There is no fee for a bank transfer, check or cash.

We require $500 to save the date and this is non-refundable, but can be transferred to a future date within 2 years of the payment. You could also apply the $500 to store credit at Jefferson Farm Kitchen.

One month prior to the event we ask for half down of the total estimated cost and the balance is due before the event on the event date.

If the event is canceled a month in advance, no additional cost will be incurred. If the event is canceled 2 weeks in advance, the half-down minus the $500 and any food cost or prep time will be returned. If the event is canceled one week prior to the event, the full half down payment will be non-refundable.

One of the biggest comments I hear from couples is, “How are we supposed to know what to do? We’ve never done this before!” Wedding and event planners are a heaven sent for this reason, because they know exactly what to do and have done it many times before.

Another often overlooked benefit of having an event planner is that they are your go-to point of contact for pre-event planning as well as on your special day. They can ensure things move smoothly by being on-site, problem solving, and taking care of any last minute challenges.

If your budget does not allow for a planner, make sure someone in your party can be the day-of contact and is confident in speaking on your behalf if needed! Consider the following categories to check of your to-do list:

  • Catering
  • Rentals and Decor
  • Music/Dancing
  • Cake
  • Timeline and Flow
  • Beverages – Non-alcoholic, hot and cold, and alcohol service
  • Gifts – from and for the guests
  • Set-up and Take-down, cleaning up!

Food Allergies / Accommodations

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Food safety is so important to us, not just in the classic sense, but for people who have severe allergies and food sensitivities. Though we are not a certified gluten free kitchen, we always make sure that our gluten free products are produced away from any gluten containing ingredients. We also work with each client to build a menu that works for each guest, so if there is a severe allergy in the group, we avoid that ingredient altogether on the menu, if needed.

Absolutely! All food preferences are covered in our first food planning meeting and clients are encouraged to consider all of their guests. We can avoid any foods that would cause a severe allergy, label gluten free and vegan options and offer separate entrees for vegan and vegetarian guests. Chef Kristen is a master at feeding a group with lots of different needs while making everyone feel tended to and considered.

A children’s menu can be requested, but will cost an additional fee to prepare the added meal and must have a serving area allocated for the separate menu.