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
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.
You won't be disappointed!Reviewed on 10/28/2015 Natalie M
We used Chef by Request for our catering services. Katie was our coordinator and I could not have asked for a better person to work with. She met with my husband and I and our parents for tastings and out at our venue to make sure things would work out on the big day! We had so many compliments on how AMAZING our food tasted. It exceeded our expectations and could not have been happier. Katie made sure that everything ran smoothly and was ready to help out in any capacity. We plan on using this company in the future!! Thank you again Katie for an amazing experience! Our wedding would not have turned out at great as it did without you!
Incredible!Reviewed on 10/28/2015 Alyson M
Katie Merkle is a DREAM!! We had a hard time finding a caterer that would be a good fit for our less than traditional, oversized wedding. Chef by Request was everything we wanted and more. Their food was incredible, we did Chicago-themed served family style for our 270 person outdoor wedding. While the food was delicious, the service staff and professionalism of CBR was what really blew us away. Like I said, Katie is one of my favorite people on earth. Amazing energy and ready to take on any challenge. And our wedding was definitely a challenge. Our reception was in a tent located probably 30 feet away from a lodge that had the kitchen for the CBR staff. And right about dinner time it decided to monsoon, meaning the staff had to run back and forth through INSANE rain, trying to get the food out to all of our guests in a timely manner, while at the same time, keeping it covered so the rain wouldn't destroy it. They were INCREDIBLE!! And the servers were all amazingly attentive and very kind! Honestly, they were the best choice we could have made and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a STELLAR caterer for any event! Thank you Katie and the CBR team!
Amazing!!!Reviewed on 6/04/2015 Jen H
We decided to go buffet style with open bar for our 150 guests. Katie was fantastic, and she did such an amazing job with coordinating everything. The selection was fantastic: chicken, tilapia, beef (with a chef carving station), pasta, green beans, potatoes, salad. I loved our appetizers, too: caprise skewers, bacon wrapped dates, Yukon gold potato cups, and some kind of beef with cheese on a flatbread that was amazing. I'm so thankful the servers put aside a plate of appetizers for me and my husband at the bar. That was very nice of them! The food was incredible, and we got plenty of compliments from our guests. There was also plenty of food so that guests could easily go up for seconds. The caterer was also very accommodating with all the food allergies in our families. The wait staff was very professional and friendly. Our bartenders were freaking awesome!!! We loved them!!! We had a James Bond themed wedding, and the bartenders even took the theme and ran with it! They were naming different cocktails after different James Bond characters: The Moneypenny, The Q, etc. And of course the martinis were shaken and not stirred!! They were so awesome!!! They were also very generous with the alcohol and nothing was watered down!! I can't thank them enough. I would love to use Chef By Request if I ever need another caterer. I highly recommend them to everyone!!!!
Amazing Food and ServiceReviewed on 5/10/2015 Becky N
I got married and Danada House so Chef by Request was already a recommended vendor which made my decision really easy. I was choosing between 2 caterers and I chose CBR because the food was fantastic and Katie, the sales manager, was attentive, but not pushy. The process was incredibly easy for us. Katie was easy to work with and completely on top of everything. She worked with Danada house and our Band on everything so I only really needed to work with her instead of 4 different people. The day of the wedding the wait staff was very nice and attentive and Katie was there and on top of things. They were extremely accommodating. The 3.5 year old ring bearer really loved macaroni and cheese, but also wanted the beef entree the adults were getting so they put together a combination plate for him which he loved. My fiancee and I loved all 3 entrees and had a hard time choosing so they brought all 3 for us, while only charging for 2. They also brought out extra meals for our photographer when my fiancee found out he didn't enjoy the vendor meal all that much and wanted to make sure he had a good meal since he had been so amazing to us all day. I have no complaints about Chef by Request and highly recommend them to anyone with the amazing food and the amazing service from Katie.
Great food!Reviewed on 4/07/2014 Maggie B
Overall CBR is a wonderful company. They gave us everything we wanted. We got to have two tastings. They worked with us on our budget and I really didn't have to sacrifice anything that I wanted other than glassware. All of our guests said the good was great. The vegetarian option was a polenta cake which some people said was a bit dry but had good flavor. The day of service on our wedding day was great. They were always there to ask if we needed anything and pretty much gave me and my guests whatever we'd like. A server actually came upstairs to me personally to serve me appetizers when my bustle was malfunctioning. How sweet. Katie, the lady we worked with, was wonderful. By no means was this her fault, but communcation was a tad hairy at the end. The lady we had been working with the entire time left the company shortly before our wedding. Katie did a wonderful job and I'm sure she had several other events she was working on. Overall, catering is pricey for a wedding but CBR was really wonderful!
Everyone Loved the Food!!Reviewed on 12/05/2013 Marianne E
Ever been to one of those weddings that has AMAZING food??? Thanks to Chef by Request that was our wedding- and everyone told us so. The food was absolutely fantastic, which is really something when you consider that Chef By Request cooked everything without a full kitchen on site at the event. The bartenders and servers were fantastic, and the coordinator, Danielle, really delivered the perfect event. I would have preferred a little more contact and service throughout the planning process, but this is a professional company that obviously knows how to put on a nice event.
Absolutely perfect.Reviewed on 9/26/2013 Kathleen K
I could not be more pleased with the services provided by Chef by Request. From start to finish, they were impeccable. Tastings were great, coordination on the day off was spot-on, servers were so kind and professional and the food was exceptional. I had a wedding of 250 people outside in a tent and everyone raved about the food. Apps, salad and main course were delicious, fresh and hot. I couldn't have asked for a better vendor and we will be using them again for another family wedding next summer.
Delicious and UniqueReviewed on 1/25/2013 Sherry G
Chef By Request had a huge menu for us to choose from! We selected appetizers and three choices of entrees. They arranged a tasting for my groom and I where we tasted everything that we were considering...even a full-size entrée of each of the three. We were able to tweak our menu and add a few extra little touches (such as having our guests greeted with hot spiced apple cider, a "to-go" station of coffee and hot chocolate, etc). We felt that we were able to offer our guests a unique and delicious menu of food all evening. The staff was excellent! We had a very small and intimate wedding so we didn't need as much staff but they all pitched in and worked as a team to make our evening fabulous for us and our guests! We had a captain, a bartender, two chefs, and a server. They greeted my guests with cups of hot spiced apple cider and following the ceremony they were waiting with glasses of champagne for everyone. They came around with various appetizers during the cocktail hour. During dinner, they even took my guests drink orders and came around with bottles of wine to pour for my guests. They served us in a timely manner and everyone loved the food. It was all seasoned well and cooked nicely. We even put in a couple special requests for a couple guests that preferred to have their beef tenderloin cooked more on the well-done side. We opted to provide all of our own alcohol for the bar and our bartender did an excellent job of setting it all up for our guests to see what we had. He packaged up everything we didn't use and we came home with all our leftovers. And most importantly we felt we were able to serve exactly what we knew our guests would like (unique wines and beers, specific liquors, etc.) For only $4.50/person, the caterer provided all of the sodas, mixers, ice, special garnishes, etc. Chef By Request is an excellent caterer that will definitely work with you to create the precise event that you have in mind and I highly recommend them for weddings and any other event as well!
You get what you pay forReviewed on 9/03/2012 Ashley k
We used Chef by Request for our wedding because our venue did not have an onsite caterer. When compared with other caterers in the area, they where the cheapest out of five other choices, and everything we picked out and tried at the tasting was wonderful. We got to meet the chef at the tasting and the presentation was flawless. The major downside was after we signed the contract was we were working with their wedding coordinator. She was very difficult to get a hold of. We would go weeks without hearing from her and on the day of the wedding I noticed many mistakes that they made. The plates were not the ones I chose, they did not bring in the ceremony flowers into the reception room, they did a poor job of coordinating the toast (after I had given them a written timeline), they didn't cut the rest cake after we ceremonially cut it (I had to tell them to do it about 5 min after we finished), they passed out the getaway glow sticks too early and the wedding coordinator even left part of the way through the reception when she specifically told us she would be there the whole time. On the plus side, we got many compliments on the taste of the food, they had stunning presentation for the food, the linens were beautiful, and they even brought things over to the venue for me like programs, giveaways, and framed pictures. They also had much experience working at my venue and with a heavy hors' dourve style wedding. Overall, my guests were very happy and I guess that's all that matters.