About this Vendor
Culinary Concepts is about creating a personal relationship with you. From assistance with venue selection to the perfect menu creation, your special day will be an impressive celebration of your love. Our Consultants invite you to taste our fresh & creative cuisine in our Tasting Room.
$$ – Affordable
African, Cajun, Hawaiian, Northeastern, Southern, Southwestern, American, Chinese, Eastern European, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin American, Mexican, Middle Eastern, BBQ, Fusion, Seafood, Specialty, Thai
Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Halal, Kosher, Organic, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Buffet, Catering Clean Up, Catering Delivery + Setup, Chef Stations, Family Style, Menu Tastings, Passed Appetizers, Seated Meal, Servers, Food + Catering, Service Staff
Culinary Concepts did such a fantastic job catering our wedding this past June at the Scripps Seaside Forum!! Merlot was our catering specialist, and she was great to work with. She worked with us throughout the process, arranging our tasting, conducting a walk-through with our day-of coordinator, selecting and adjusting our menu, keeping on top of our table layout & seating (even up to the last minute!), and more. She was very careful in handling the dietary restrictions, and even helped us save a bit of money, when our guest count turned out lower than expected which would otherwise have increased the per-person price. Javier was our banquet captain, and he made sure the service & food quality was top notch. He & the team served tray passed appetizers and cheese & veg displays at our cocktail hour, and served plated dinners of salad with a choice of bourbon mustard glazed tri-tip, crispy skin herb roasted chicken or stuffed bell peppers. During the ceremony, they presented a water station (very popular with the heat we had that day!) and after dinner service, they presented a coffee & tea station. We loved the food (though the versions at the tasting were a tad better) & the service, and we heard great reviews from guests for both as well! Also, my dad suffered a bit of heat-stroke towards the end of our reception, and one of the staff tended to him (along with members of my family), and regularly checked on him. (I wish we had gotten her name!) It was clear that the staff cared for our event as a whole, and not just the food, which meant a lot to us. My husband & I being fans of food & cooking, were very careful in choosing our caterer. We found Culinary Concepts to have the most flavorful, inventive food, mostly sourced locally, with professional & personal service, for an amazing value. We wish we could have the food at our wedding again!!
Food quality, presentation and service was excellent!!
Our decision to use Culinary Concepts as the caterer for our daughter’s wedding was one of our best decisions for that day. We chose them because of the quality of the food we had at our tasting, because of their top reviews and because of their obvious professionalism. We worked with Emilie at CC as our main contact point until we were getting close to the wedding and then they bring in an entire team to coordinate the day. We had a meeting just prior to the wedding at the venue where every detail is discussed from timing to tables. Nothing was left to chance. Our venue was Scripps Forum in San Diego and they have to bring the kitchen, food and all of the staff to the site. Quite an undertaking. We had a sit down dinner for 125 people. On the reply cards the guests chose one of three entrees. I mention this because the wait staff had to make sure they noted which entree each guest was to be served that night and they did that flawlessly. The service that night was incredible. Not one dinner was served cold and it seemed as if everyone was almost served at the same time. The servers were super professional in terms of service as well as dress. As for the food, it was superb. One of my friends said it was one of the best meals she had ever had. For the record we offered porter glazed beef short ribs, roasted pork tenderloin with a pear chutney and a vegetarian artichoke and rice dish. Each was served with mashed potatoes and broccolini. The appetizers and pre dinner salad were all fabulous. Instead of a cake the bride and groom wanted the apple pie from Julian Pie Company. They coordinated that for us as well and added the special touch of a shaker of cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on the ice cream or pie.I would use Culinary Concepts again in a heartbeat. They were amazing.
We were so happy we were able to work with Culinary Concepts for our wedding day! Our wedding planner suggested them for our wedding at Scripps Seaside Forum, and we were blown away with their presentation and professionalism during our tasting and on the actual day of!! The food was amazing and the service from Merlot was outstanding. Our guests still haven't stopped raving about how delicious the food was! Everything was served so perfectly, we were so happy with our service. While it's a small detail, we had originally agreed to a few minor items that didn't pan out on the actual wedding day. No one else noticed but us (because the guests didn't know any better) but I was a little disappointed in these missing items (having two types of tortillas, having the salads plated vs. being in line with the buffet, not having rolls as we were originally promised). Still, they were WELL worth the money and overall we were extremely pleased with the quality of the food and service. We would recommend Culinary Concepts to anyone looking for caterers for their wedding day! They are professional, organized, and involved with you through every step of the process.
Culinary Concepts catered our May 2015 wedding at Scripps Seaside Forum. Merlot was a pleasure to work with. She answered our questions quickly and efficiently and kept us on track with payments. The food was amazing (a small selection: lamb chop lollipops, caprese skewers, steak, salmon with avocado/mango salsa) and we and our guests were very happy!
Amazing Food and Service!Reviewed on 5/21/2015 Mikaela H
While we spent a majority of our budget on the catering for our wedding, we think it was well worth it. All of our guests loved the food and we received many compliments on it! I would highly recommend spending the money to ensure better quality and taste of food. The presentation was wonderful as well and all of the servers were professional and kind!
Good Food, Good Service!Reviewed on 11/04/2014 rosalinda s
Culinary Concepts did an overall good job for my wedding. They are not the cheapest caterer out there but you definitely see the value in their company the day of. The entire process with them was a bunch of back and forth in emails that were always responded promptly. The only minor complaints I have is that the day of the wedding there were some last minute changes their onsite manager decided to make without consulting with us (bride and groom) or even our assigned go to person for the day. I didnt appreciate the lack of communication especially since it may have been minor changes to them but were big things for us that affected the decor. We were told by our amazing DJ (Jeremy Jones party people san diego) who knew we wouldnt be happy with the changes. Secondly...although the food was good...it was slightly different than what we were given on our tasting...so that was a bit disappointing since our tastings was amazingly delicious! Service was great, servers were very attentive and bartender was personable. Overall, good experience.
Best Caterer EVER!Reviewed on 10/08/2014 Cassandra J
We first met Chef Donald and Sous Chef Chris at the Orfila Bridal Show in 2013. We came to the show specifically to find a caterer for our 7/19/14 wedding, so we brought my best friend (and Maid of Honor), who is a chef with plenty of catering experience. She was able to ask the questions we never would have thought to ask, and she was thoroughly impressed with Donald and Chris. We also all agreed that the albacore bruchetta they brought for us to sample was our favorite of the day! We scheduled a tasting, and after working briefly with Kathy (owner), we were one of the first couples to have the opportunity to work with Christie as she started working with Culinary Concepts. Christie was absolutely INCREDIBLE to work with!!! She was professional and fun, and was extremely responsive whenever we had questions for her. She made sure everything was absolutely perfect on our wedding day, and the server staff was extremely professional and friendly! One of the servers brought a plate of hors d'oeuvres for us as we were taking bride and groom photos in the vineyard (during cocktail hour), to make sure we didn't miss out. He even followed us around as we stopped between bites for photos... so fun! When my husband and I snuck away for sunset photos, we had only gotten a chance to have a few bites of our dinner. When we returned to our sweetheart table, one of the servers let us know that our entrees had gotten cold while we were gone, and offered to bring us new ones. I said it was alright, but she insisted, which I thought was so sweet! She brought us new plates, and we were able to enjoy a hot, delicious dinner! I highly recommend Culinary Concepts for your catering needs, whether it is for your wedding or otherwise!! Hors d'oeuvres: -Beef wellington tart -Curried chicken salad on coriander dusted flatbread -Panko & pecan crusted brie with jalapeño jelly -Albacore bruchetta First course: -Caprese salad Main Course: -Dual entree (chicken and salmon) with rice pilaf and vegetables -Vegan/gluten free option of quinoa stuffed poblano peppers
Great caterers!Reviewed on 9/23/2014 Stephanie D
The whole team at Culinary Concepts (Christie, Aubrey, and Javier) did such a great job at our wedding last weekend! We were able to customize the entire menu, and they were able to do everything! Everyone at the wedding loved the food and had more than enough to eat. At the reception, they provided a private server to make sure that my husband and I had food and drinks throughout the whole night. Overall, their quality of food is great as well as their service!
The perfect catererReviewed on 11/07/2013 Natalia V
Culinary Concepts was the perfect caterer for our outdoor, seated dinner at our September wedding! Gina was incredible. She helped us with every detail: the tasting, picking out tray-passed h'ourdeurves, the coffee and tea display table, every portion of our seated dinner (from linen colors to napkin fold) and sweet additions for our dessert display. Our guests (which included a few professional chefs) were so complimentary about the food! We were answering questions for weeks about who our caterer was to other engaged couples who attended our wedding. We couldn't have been happier with the taste and service of Culinary Concepts.
Great presentation, Delicious food, personal serviReviewed on 10/18/2012 jodi h
I met with Gina of Culinary Concepts on the advice of my wedding planner. I couldnt be happier! Prior to meeting with her, she had inquired as to the types of food i like and my budget. When we went for the tasting, she presented me with multiple choices within my budget. I had met with 3 other caterers and ultimately chose them because of their food quality, presentation, and accessibility. I couldnt be more pleased with my choice. The day of the wedding was great! Of course we were hungry after the ceremony and pictures, and on our way walking from the ceremony site to the reception site(same location, different area) we were greeted by the head server with appetizers for myself and my husband, as well as drinks. They were just standing there waiting for us--what a great personal touch!! (BTW, we both scarfed down the food) And during the reception, the staff was very tentative, especially to us. They did not serve us if we were not at the table, and gave us a fresh serving when we returned. My other guests raved about the quality and tastefulness of the food(which is rare at a wedding). And they did all of this within my budget! I would recommend them to anyone who wants great food, great service, along with a great presentation of their food! They have many different entree options in different price points so they can work within your budget! And ask for Gina---she was a great contact and help in arranging everything!
catererReviewed on 10/03/2012 Emily M
I had a great feeling working with the initial contact person, but it went downhill from there. The food was great, but during my tasting I was chastised for eating the entire slider and told to not eat too much early on by the server. The chef was also slightly unprofessional at the meeting. We also had to work with several different people and I was never sure who was managing our wedding. The day of, they were great, the staff was friendly, the food was great and Craig was fantastic! Just a little stressful to plan with.
Guests are still raving about the food!Reviewed on 8/16/2012 Michaelene S
I used Culinary Concepts for my August wedding and I was so happy with the food quality and service! Guests are still raving about the food, and I agree, it was really, really good. I was hearing comments all night. They also did a really creative job in setting up the buffet stations, and matching my beach theme. I had a plated summer salad, which was delicious, and beautifully done, and then stations. Craig and Walter even had saved appetizers for my Groom and I as we missed the cocktail hour and boxed up some plates for us to take back to our Hotel, as we hardly were able to eat. I was also able to drop off some centerpieces and decor to CC's warehouse on the Thursday prior and they put everything out for me. As I did not have a coordinator, this was really appreciated and saved me from having to worry about who was going to do this. I heard from a lot of guests that the tray passed items during the cocktail hour were really good, and just kept on coming, which I was so happy to hear! The ahi tuna and inside-out-nachos were a big hit. I had a slight issue in the pre-planning as my main contact went on maternity leave and I did not know she was already gone and did not know who to contact and my emails were going unanswered. But they soon put me in touch with Mallory and Craig and all was wonderful from then on. Mallory was really responsive and detailed out my BEO and had every item listed, I really appreciated how she took the time to put everything in there, so I knew it was communicated. Craig and I went back-and-forth on a few diagrams, and once set, I walked into the Reception and it was exactly as we had agreed upon. He came to a walk through the Wednesday before, and all we discussed was carried out. Craig and Walter kept checking in with me all night and were really on top of the schedule and keeping things moving, which I was so appreciative of. I would definitely highly recommend CC! They are very accommodating and creative with their food and open to making it exactly how you want it. I thought the price was extremely appropriate for the high level of service and quality of food you receive.
perfectmayweddingReviewed on 6/13/2012 Tayler W
I loved these guys. The food and presentation was fantastic! The day of ran perfectly smoothly, and they were great at clean up during and after the wedding. The only problem we had is they were hard to get a hold of during the process of planning our menu. In the end we got exactly what we wanted. They are very flexible, and though they have a wide variety of specific items on their menu, they told us "And if it isn't there, just let us know and we can do it!"
Good food, great service.Reviewed on 6/11/2012 Alison B
We really enjoyed working with Culinary Concepts for our reception catering and they did a great job. The quality of food provided did not change from our personal tasting session to the actual event. Christie and the rest of the CC staff were all very available and helpful, answering e-mails promptly, talking us through menu and décor choices in person, and providing feedback on bar ordering (even though we did the purchasing on our own). I also appreciated that Christie and the team have a lot of experience working at the UCSD venues and could help guide us through the various regulations. Because we had two locations (CC took care of the ceremony rentals for us, as well), we ended up working with probably 5 different people as we got closer to the wedding. While it complicated things a bit since I wasn’t always sure whom I should be contacting and I think some details weren’t passed on to the right people, everyone was nice and extremely professional. As a bride working without a wedding planner, I thought it was great that the CC crew acted as day-of coordinators for both sites. They had names and numbers of all the vendors that would be setting up or making deliveries and made sure that people were there on time. Additionally, my husband and I especially appreciated the personalized service we received during the reception – they saved appetizers from cocktail hour for us to taste when we first arrived to the venue, brought our meals as soon as we sat down, and made sure to leave us slices of cake to eat during a break from the dancing.
Great Food for Our Modern Mexican Fiesta Wedding!Reviewed on 4/08/2012 Parada K
Culinary Concepts worked with us to create a special menu that went with our modern Mexican fiesta theme. We had 3 different appetizers for cocktail hour, a plated first salad course, which was good, and 3 food stations of braised short ribs, chicken mole, and street tacos. All our guests were raving about the food, and many said that it was the best food they had ever had at a wedding. Also, the service was impeccable, and everything just turned out well beyond our expectations. Without a doubt, we would highly recommend Culinary Concepts.
Delicious!Reviewed on 12/21/2011 Silvia I
Amazing!! Our guests kept raving about the food all night and even after the wedding. We were told that this was the best wedding meal they ever had. Culinary was very accommodating and followed through.
GREAT food!Reviewed on 10/25/2011 Marisa S
Culinary Concepts was great to work with - and their food is outstanding. Not just your average chicken breast with boiled vegetables - CC offers a large variety of 'fine dining'. We had their Tuscan chicken - chicken breast with ricotta and creamed spinach all wrapped in a puff pastry! It was amazing. And the appetizers - their butternut squash 'shooters' was awesome! The presentation is also fantastic - CC uses trendy shot glasses and demi cups, miniature forks and plates. The tasting they offered was fun and inviting. We sat at a dinner table all together - they even let us bring our parents at no extra charge. I feel we got a wonderful meal for what we paid!
Great Company and People!!!Reviewed on 10/24/2011 Rachelle F
Culinary Concepts is amazing! The entire crew there is on their "A" game. The food was amazing! They pay very good attention to detail and are so helpful. They make you feel so loved and valued. I would use them again for any other event and would definitely recommend them!!!
Food is Delicious but Ask for Details on orderReviewed on 8/14/2011 Erica O
I was debating between Culinary Concepts and one other catering company. The reason why I went with Culinary is because their food was delicious and they are a very experienced catering company. They had catered at the venue I chose so I knew they were familiar with the space (Which I think is very very important). They helped coordinate rentals as well because my venue was a museum and I had to get chairs, table, etc. Everything went smoothly but because I am a perfectionist there were a few things that I did not like. Firstly, I noticed that the salad was not preset like I asked which meant that dinner took longer than I wanted it to. Secondly, I encountered a slight miscommunication with the catering company because they added some tables to my order that I did not preapprove which I did not appreciate. They said that the client is responsible for kitchen tables which I did not know until I saw them on the rental order. So my suggestion is find out all the details about what you're responsible for so you aren't surprised like me a week before the wedding. Otherwise they were great. I got lots of compliments on how delicious the food was.
Best food and serviceReviewed on 7/12/2011 Jenna M
Everyone at Culinary Concepts is amazing! My husband and I are major foodies, so the caterer was a booking we did not take lightly - and did Culinary Concepts deliver! They have an excellent selection that includes nearly every dish you can think of (and if they don't have it listed, they will make it for you!), but the highly varied offerings certainly does not affect the quality. Everything we tasted was delicious and everything we served tasted even better the day of. The salmon was moist, the beef was tender and not at all overcooked, and the brie pops are TO DIE FOR! Service was also excellent - even though we used another company to manage the bar, the service staff happily (and promptly) kept the Bridal Party's beer mugs full. Christie and Craig are a joy to work with and Chef is extremely talented. We will definitely be working with Culinary Concepts again for any of our catering needs =D
Nearly PerfectReviewed on 5/31/2011 Adrienne J
Culinary Concepts catered our cocktail hour and did a great job. Only notes are that we had requested tray passed wine and champagne to be available after ceremony, which they did not do. They also provided recommendation on how much beer to provide and we needed much more, so ran out during cocktail hour (our fault).
Fantastic caterer!!Reviewed on 5/25/2011 Katrina W
I don't want to sound like one of those overly positive brides, but Culinary Concepts was the best possible caterer for our event and went over and above each and every time. The food was fantastic, the presentation was beautiful, and the staff was warm, helpful, and so graciuos. We worked with Gina, and from the very beginning she made everything so easy. She was a joy to work with, from helping us to settle on the menu (they have tons of options), to the high quality of the tasting, to letting me come to her warehouse and choose the "look" for the serving dishes, etc. She really was on top of everything, really quick to respond to emails, and I knew that she cared just as much as we did about pulling off a fantastic event. I just cannot say enough good things about Culinary Concepts. We went to about 3 or 4 different tastings before choosing them as our wedding caterer, and the quality of the food, the presentation and the wonderful staff made them stand out above and beyond anyone else in San Diego. And, they are great quality for money. They weren't any more expensive than the rest, but they are better.
NOT your typical "wedding food"Reviewed on 11/02/2010 Teri V
Our biggest request was to avoid the "wedding food" taste and look. CC knocked it out of the park! They designed a meal for us that fit our Italian themed wedding that was perfect! Our evnet manager with CC (Gina Eliason) was fantastic! She understood big picture to a tee, and executed perfectly! We'de recommend that you use HER for your coordination! Our cost per head i hight because it includes all rentals, cake, food, and service. We were very glad that we had CC also do our cake because it took that additional worry off of us. The service staff that CC brought was the best I have ever seen. They were friendly, funny, and polite. Someone was assigned to me and my husbant to make sure that we got to taste everything, run to the bar for us, and took time to enjoyt he food that we paid for! That was awesome!!
Great food, Great serviceReviewed on 10/11/2010 nate s
Arranged to have Culinary Concepts cater our wedding reception. Everything went smoothly, the guests really enjoyed the food, and the service was excellent.