About this Vendor
Creating Lasting Memories Since 1996
Chef by Request is a full service catering & event planning company proudly serving the western suburbs. Creating lasting memories with exquisite cuisine, first-class presentation and impeccable service are the essential ingredients we combine to exceed your highest expectations.
$$ – Affordable
American, French, Italian, Latin American, Fusion, Seafood
Food + Catering
Our overall experience with Chef by request was pretty great.. - During our talks, the first person (Katie) that was helping us out left the company. Granted, we began our communications well in advance AND she/the company were nice through the transition to the new contact, it was a little concerning because we had already established a relationship with Katie. - The food took a little while longer than we wanted to come out. We finished our meals before anyone got served. Even so, The reason for the 5 Stars: 1. Great tasting food 2. Cost/Value 3. Communication
Chef By Request was absolutely wonderful to work with for our wedding. Our coordinator, Amanda, was very knowledgeable, responsive and had great suggestions for the menu. The food was delicious and the service that night of the wedding was very professional. I would definitely recommend them!
We used this caterer for our daughter's wedding in June after selecting it from a large number of excellent options. As always you are concerned with the food being good and wanting to make sure that you are making the right choice. We certainly did! The food was excellent! We have received nothing but rave reviews about the appetizers and the steak and chicken we selected for the entree' choices. One of our guests is a chef and he actually sought out the staff to tell them how exceptional the food was. Amanda Ingle was our planner and she was terrific - when I asked her how I could be assured that the food would not be dried out (like many wedding meals are!) she told me to honor the time frame and make sure that we stick to the time we told them that we were going to serve dinner and she would promise we would not be disappointed. She was right! Everything from the appetizers to the dessert table was outstanding. On top of that they were so easy to work with and very receptive to our needs. Great choice!
We choose Chef by Request for our wedding day after having 2 wonderful tastings with their former coordinator, Katie Merkle. We had a complex menu and Katie was pumped about it. 2 weeks before my wedding, I sat down with all of my vendors and was told by Katie that she was leaving the company, and introduced me to the person replacing her, Amanda. I was nervous, as Amanda never formally introduced herself or reached out to me via email or phone to go over our complex menu. My wedding planner had reached out to her on my behalf and assured me, things would be just fine, as this is what Amanda had told her. My husband and I had decided to do stations (NOT buffet), where staff would serve our guests. We had 3 stations--tacos, burgers and fish & chips. There were several items on our menu that were not there on our big day, or were wrong. For example, as one of our hors d'oeuvres, we had veggie quesadilla cones. I am vegetarian. They provided chicken quesadilla cones the day of, and luckily I caught it before eating it! The number one item that was to be MY meal-that many of my guests were excited for-as they are also vegetarian or vegan-was the lentil tacos. The steak was there and the lentils were not. I asked a staff member, where are the lentils? And was lied to several times, told "they'll be out soon!" which I relayed to my guests asking where they were. The lentils never came. Our stations were not stations-they were set up as a buffet. Guests were left confused--which burgers are bean and which are beef? Items were to be labeled and served to them--nothing was labeled, and no one was there to serve. The transition of our complex and EXPENSIVE menu was nothing short of unprofessional and unorganized. There were too many details missed or messed up. I was offered a $300 refund (what a joke! We spent well over 10K on our food!!). I wrote a lengthy email back, explaining my points, and was offered $770 total. Still completely unacceptable. Although overall the food was good-I did get feedback from several guests that the beef burgers were severely undercooked. One of my guests brought this to the attention of their staff and they said they'd take care of it-but never did. The fish and chips were not presented how they were promised to be presented per our itinerary. The chips that were served with the fish were stale by the time my guests got to them. I am still so disappointed by how this turned out. Our most expensive vendor of the night-and they were the only to totally blow it. Go figure. It looks like overall people are happy-and I believe it, as their food is great...but I do feel it's important to share both sides, and unfortunately our experience was a complete let down.
Absolutely wonderful! I would use them again for any part it was that good. Their food was Awesome! The staff was so incredibly friendly. They made it easy to put together a menu most of the guest thought it was the best wedding food they ever had.
Absolutely wonderful! Their food was both delicious AND beautifully presented! The staff was so, so incredibly friendly. They made it easy to put together a menu that had both our carnivore and vegetarian guests raving about the food.
We chose Chef By Request to be our catering vendor for our wedding on June 16, 2017. We booked them about 9 months in advance and we were very pleased with their service and highly recommend them. Pros: Chef By Request has a wide variety of options for your wedding meals. They have many themed menus and are very flexible as they allow you to mix and match options from different menus. We set up a taste test session for their Mardi Gras menu and we fell in love with this place as soon as we tasted these samples. They gave us so much food in the taste test that we didn’t need to eat dinner that night. They were very accommodating and offered special meals for our wedding guests who were allergic to our menu or vegetarians/vegans. At the wedding, they helped to flip the room from ceremony to reception and were efficient at keeping everything moving once dinner was served. Cons: Communication with Chef By Request left much to be desired. It was hard to get a response from our contact when we needed something, as she was very busy. We could hardly get her on the phone and email responses came in at least a week or two after we reached out. Other than that, Chef By Request was very accommodating and helpful and the food was magnificent. We’ve had many guests tell us that it was the best wedding meal they’ve ever had. We recommend you give them a try as they have options for any type of food you might want!
When looking for a catering company for my wedding, I was immediately sold-out when reading the reviews and menus that Chef By Request had to offer. The Farm to Table menu was so unique and delicious! Amanda was amazing in accommodating what I needed and always responded in a timely manner. It's always a great thing when guests repeatedly tell you how wonderful their meal was at your wedding! Thanks Chef By Request for being so wonderful to work with and for going above and beyond for my guests and the bridal party!
I am the father of the bride, my daughter was married this past fall and we have nothing but great things to say about Chef By Request. They were great from start to finish and worked with us very well. The food at the day of the wedding was spectacular and I still have friends and family compliment us on how great everything was, my cousin who is a chef told me it was the best wedding food he has ever had. We can not thank Chef By request enough for making our only daughters wedding a dream come true.
We chose Chef by Request as our caterer after meeting with their wedding coordinator, Katie. From the moment we met her, she was such a joy to work with. Not only did she work with my ideas, but offered some great suggestions throughout the planning process. She was tuned in to every detail of our wedding day, from organizing the linen and stage delivery, to helping us pick the most delicious food (more on that in a second). Katie was more than the wedding caterer coordinator; she worked with all of our vendors (florist, band, venue) to make sure that everything was just the way we wanted it. Now on to the food. Everything was spectacular. From the presentation of the rolls (with a rosemary sprig) to the delicious steak and chicken dual-entree, everything was amazing! The chef paired the dual entrees together so perfectly. As for the wait-staff, we could not have asked for a more professional bunch. Not only did they check in on us throughout the night to make sure everything was to our liking, they were in tune to every one of our guests' requests. We never had to worry for a second that any one was not being taken care of. Thanks Chef by Request for such a magical evening!
From the first tasting on, Chef By Request was outstanding. They accommodated every single request we had and on the actual day went above and beyond. Katie Merkle, our CBR event planner, was absolutely amazing and made sure that everyone was taken care of with drinks and sustenance the entire night - especially for not having catered the venue before. Lastly, the food was incredible - it's been a few weeks now and I am still hearing about it from guests :) I would recommend this caterer to anyone - you will definitely be in good hands.
After interviewing several Chicago caterers for our daughter's wedding, we decided on Chef By Request, and were thrilled with them. They were affordable, their service was terrific, and the food was fantastic. It was not your typical tasteless wedding fare. Katie Merkle, CBR's event planner was AMAZING! Our venue, A New Leaf, is not set up in the traditional fashion, and can be tricky. This was the first time CBR catered there, and they were flawless. Katie even ran out to Whole Foods during dessert to get our allergy affected nephew a special dessert! They were the best!
In a world with information at your fingertips it should be no surprise that this company gets 5 stars. "Best of" gets thrown around a lot these days, I feel every vendor we looked into for our wedding was the best of something at some point in time. Katie and her staff are simply put...amazing. We decided to have our wedding at the Willis Tower on the 99th floor. With that venue our catering selection process was interesting. Being such a high profile building and landmark in Chicago each vendor had to go through basically airport security. Having every single thing scanned and x-rayed. That lead us to some caterers that either ignored our request or simply said no that they were not up for the challenge. And right before we thought we ran out of options we saw Chef by Request set up at a wedding show in Downers Grove. Our first question was, have you ever catered at the Willis Tower before? And as they say, the rest was history. We set up our catering tasting, chose our meals, and worked with Katie throughout the entire process. Communication was very important to me and she never dropped the ball. She is very down to earth and helped in any way her or her staff could have. For example, our florist was the mother of the groom, as that is her profession, and normally the florist would have a good amount of time to set things up however today time was tight. Katie volunteered to step in and help with things such as setting out the table arrangements, putting on chair covers (which was also from a family company). Our wedding was about 160 people and not a single complaint was heard about the food, service, or bar. Katie's attention to detail and customer service stood out even more when she noticed the wedding party get to the venue earlier than expected because of rain. She quickly visited us and asked right away if we would like drinks or food. And had a few plates of hors d'oeuvres brought in with our drinks. And just throughout the night would check in with us with perfect timing. If anyone is looking for a caterer in the Chicago area I will never hesitate to recommend Chef by Request.
My husband, mother in law and I worked with Katie to plan our art museum wedding this past year. Katie was by far the most helpful, prepared, and experienced vendor we worked with. My husband and I highly recommend chef by request!
My husband and I loved working with Katie Merkle and the team at CBR for our wedding! They truly did an amazing job with making our dream wedding a reality. Katie was wonderful to work with all year; accommodating to our needs, responding in a timely manner, and her continued enthusiasm was contagious. The team ironed out any hiccups the day of the wedding with professionalism, kindness, and amazing service! And the food was delicious!
Do you want your guests walking up to you the entire night of the wedding and for weeks after telling you how good your wedding food was? Awesome, me too! Chef by Request made that happen. Katie was so much fun and awesome to work with! She really helped build a completely custom and perfect menu. We had a chicken and steak dish off of their "Farm to Table" menu and a two different appetizers. Everything was SO good, I wish I could have it again!! Chef by Requests staff the night of was very attentive and polite too. I highly recommend CBR for your event!!
We cannot say enough fantastic things about Katie & the whole team at Chef By Request! From the beginning stages of helping us put together a menu to fit our vision, to executing a wedding that was more perfect than we could have dreamed CBR was on it the whole way!! Katie made us feel like old friends from day 1. Her attention to detail and excellent communication made sure our day went beautifully & seamlessly. Many of our guests said ours was the best food they've ever had at a wedding. Not only did everything taste excellent, but everything from the hors d'oeuvres to the sweets table was visually stunning. Everyone was so easy to work with & truly did provide first class service, and always with a smile! We can't thank you enough!!
Absolutely loved Chef By Request! Their food is so delicious - we kept hearing from our guests on our wedding night and after about how the food was so wonderful! Katie was so fantastic to work with during the process of food tastings and updating menu selections. They were timely in readjusting invoices as guest counts changed. The staff on the wedding day were so friendly and attentive. They have such a huge range of food selections and menu options, they can make your event menu whatever you desire. Highly recommend Chef By Request for your wedding, you won't go wrong!
Simply AmazingReviewed on 11/16/2015 Angelica C
Katie and her crew at Chef by Request did an incredible job! And at a great price. From the very beginning, I felt like she was with me every step of the way even visiting the venue with me multiple times. Always very responsive and the food was fantastic. The only thing better than the food was the service. Post wedding, many of our guests commented on 1) our amazing out door under the stars venue and 2) the caterers who were constantly making sure all our guests were happy! Great job, CBR!
Amazing, customized service and more!Reviewed on 10/30/2015 Laura M
My husband and I have worked with Katie Merkle from Chef by Request Catering and she is an incredibly amazing person who is very creative, relatable and a great listener who has curated so many fantastic options for food, ideas for presentation and even decor! Not only is she completely down to earth but is also understanding to your financial needs without lacking on quality or great ideas to fit within your budget. And the food… wow… It was especially difficult to choose from the courses as her staff helped to put together remarkable selections for my meat-eating and vegetarian guests! Everything was incredible! I have had many stressful and dis-heartening meetings with in-genuine, arrogant vendors looking to price gouge just because I said the word “wedding” and making me feel as if I did not deserve to have a beautiful day due to my lack of interest in all of the pageantry. I prefer to allocate more funds towards the honeymoon and home. Know that Katie is NOT one of those vendors and has exceeded beyond her role as she maintained her enthusiasm and compassion throughout! She put my mind at ease throughout the process and delivered the most talk-worthy experience and taste-worthy meal that family and friends spoke of later, and of course, my wedding day was beautiful! Katie is excellent at hosting and would bring great value to any occasion; wedding, holiday or any other catered event!
Hire Chef by Request Now!Reviewed on 10/30/2015 Cynthia P
Hiring a caterer for our wedding was probably the most stressful part of our entire planning process. Our venue had a preferred catering list and most of the caterers on the list were way over budget, condescending or just plain rude. As a bride currently living outside of Chicago that also works as an event planner, I was frustrated and feeling rather hopeless that we would even have food at our wedding. Enter Katie Merkle from Chef by Request, who was a refreshing breath of fresh air and immediately put me at ease. Katie was not only able to work within our budget but also helped us look for ways to save money here and there. CBR has an amazing menu, but as their name suggests, they are also able to and amazing at creating menu items to personalize your day. We were able to be creative and add/tweak some of their menu items to really make the food served at our wedding feel like us. Since we live out of town they went above and beyond to allow us two tastings when I changed my mind about the menu. Our guests still continue to rave about how not only was our food was the best wedding food they have ever had, but how impeccable the service was. The attention to detail was beyond superb. Our guests arrived a half hour early and they were able to roll with it. After my husband and I arrived they had run out of one of the appetizers he was excited to have...they ran to the grocery store to get extra cucumbers so that he would be able to enjoy it on our day! Also, we did a lot of DIY and brought in a lot of our own center pieces, which I had assigned a group of guests to break down at the end of the night. Not only did Katie and her team set up everything, but they also insisted on breaking everything down and packing up so that my guests and I could continue to celebrate. If you want an affordable, knowledgeable and down to earth caterer, do yourself a favor and hire Katie and her amazing CBR staff now. I promise you it will be the best wedding decision you make!
Wedding ReceptionReviewed on 10/29/2015
I could have not been more pleased with Chef by Request. Katie Merkel assisted us every step of the way, offering her suggestions and ideas to make sure that the day was everything that my daughter and son-in-law hoped it would be. Katie's level of expertise and her professionalism helped us provide a fabulous wedding reception. The service at the reception was exceptional, our guests commented on the wonderful service they received. The food was amazing and was the topic of many conversations. I highly recommend Chef by Request and would use them again for future functions. I thought the price was very fair considering the level of service that was provided.
CBR is a must-have for cateringReviewed on 10/29/2015 Shannon W
Chef by Request was a home-run for catering at our wedding. QUALITY and SERVICE were outstanding in every single facet of their operation. From the beginning of our working relationship, the team was fun, flexible, inclusive and enthusiastic (we worked with Katie Merkle). They helped to personalize their menu to our preferences and offered great guidance throughout the planning. Their food was excellent, prepared on-site. The friendly and responsive staff and team treated everyone like VIPs. Working with Chef by Request was one of the best decisions we made for our wedding and would highly recommend them to anybody in the Chicago area.
Fantastic serviceReviewed on 10/28/2015 Nicole K
We hired Chef by Request for our August 1st reception. Having been to many weddings, I know how average the food can be; this is not the case with CBR. The food was simply fantastic! We worked closely with Katie Merkle and she was truly great to work with! She made sure that we got everything we desired and suggested many things we didn't even think of. She made sure that all of the day of particulars were done down to the smallest detail. I also can't say enough about how great the servers and bartenders were. They made us, and all of our guests feel truly special. I would not hesitate to tell everyone to use Chef By Request for their needs.
Love at first tasteReviewed on 10/28/2015 Benjamin S
From the moment my husband and I met Katie, the wedding event coordinator, for our tasting, we already knew that we wanted to hire Chef By Request. She was absolutely wonderful. The food was spectacular! We had so many guests comment on how the food was excellent and that they loved everything. There were no delays, and all of the servers were efficient and timely. For lack of better words, everyone involved with Chef By Request is so nice and I cannot imagine getting better service anywhere! From kitchen to table, everything turned out perfectly. Throughout the entire process, Katie was incredibly supportive, always available when we had questions and made sure that everything was perfect for the big day. The most difficult part of it all was deciding what delicious meals to serve our guests. They have so many options that were all so good. You would regret not meeting Katie and going for a tasting at CBR. We were sold from day one and would recommend them to everyone.