The best part about those traditional holiday meals we gorged ourselves on as kids wasn’t just Aunt Peggy’s perfect pecan pie, but the fact our only requisite task was to simply show up at the table and eat — no planning, prepping, cooking, or cleaning required.
So, what happens now when you’re a responsible adult who doesn’t want to be responsible for making a big-deal holiday dinner? Hire someone else to do it, of course. These local catering companies, restaurants, and private chefs will create an in-home holiday menu, cook up the fabulous feast, stick around to serve it, and (perhaps best of all) leave a squeaky-clean kitchen in their wake. Now that’s a happy holiday.
Starting menu prices vary. Staffing fees, beverage service, party rentals, and gratuity are typically additional.
Uptown Palm Springs restaurant EIGHT4NINE’s full-service catering does a festive meal and everything from décor to fine china. A typical three-course menu — family-style or individually plated — includes holiday-worthy entrees and sides with a twist: Roast turkey is served with lemon-sage gravy and cranberry sangria relish, while prime rib comes with citrus-glazed carrots and a potato-
parsnip-celery-root mash. Bar staff can also whip up festive beverages like a rosemary-infused citrus-cranberry vodka cocktail. From $120/pp including staff, gratuity, tax, and some rentals.
For holiday feasts, Fusion Flair’s Chef Heng, who blends Eastern and Western cuisines, usually suggests several tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, an appetizer, and main course with accompaniments, followed by a seasonal dessert. While he can create any style of menu depending on guests’ tastes and dietary restrictions, signatures include Grand Marnier jumbo shrimp in a citrus tartar sauce and filet mignon with chimichurri sauce.
Dash and a Handful Event Design & Artisan Catering
Owner and executive chef Chad Gardner serves a four-course family-style dinner, kicking things off with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a soup course — like his winter-in-a-bowl butternut squash with chestnut — and entrees of prime rib, leg of lamb, or one of four styles of roast turkey, along with plenty of sides and dessert. “We can really make the dinner beautiful,” says Gardner, whose crew can help with décor, create specialty cocktails, and arrange for live music. From $189/pp.
Lulu Catering & Events
While Lulu California Bistro offers a set holiday meal guests can pick up or get delivered, the catering department can also offer personalized menus and handle logistics at your home — from setup and breakdown to décor, rentals, and staffing. “We handle every aspect of the meal and often plan with clients thousands of miles away,” says catering sales manager Emily Morison. Dinner offerings might include oven-roasted turkey, honey-glazed ham, and classic desserts like sweet potato cheesecake and apple crisp. From $42.99/pp.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LULU CATERING & EVENTS
Salad as art from Lulu’s catering.
Private Chef William Bloomhuff
This chef with 30 years of experience focuses on locally sourced ingredients and seasonal fare that incorporates global flavors. Dinner might start with a Fuyu persimmon salad with cumin-lime dressing before a free-range roast turkey is served alongside cornbread stuffing laced with Spanish chorizo and pepitas. The grand finale arrives in the form of pecan and pumpkin pies baked in a handmade crust. Bloomhuff and staff handle everything from setup to carving the turkey tableside to bar offerings. From $100/pp.
This catering company that’s been in business nearly 50 years can provide servers, kitchen staff, and bartenders along with party rentals and even valet parking. Clients typically request buffet-style dinners and tray-passed hors d’oeuvres at the holidays, but upscale family-style holiday dinners are an option too, with offerings of a duo of wedge salads, seared duck breast in a port wine cherry sauce, and haricot verts and carrot bundles.
Suzy Gourmet Catering
Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef offers several multicourse holiday dinner menus centered around traditional slow-roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing, herbed chateaubriand with tomato madeira confit, or a poached wild-caught salmon with dill sauce. Chef Suzy and crew put emphasis on leaving the kitchen looking better than when they arrived. “We use Meyer’s cleaning supplies, sweep and mop your floors, and even bring our own trash bags,” she says. “Everything is spotless and we wrap the left- overs and put them in your refrigerator.” From $220/pp including servers, fees, and tax.
F10 Creative Catering
The catering arm of Tara Lazar’s restaurant group offers two different concepts. The Mr. Lyons Steakhouse menu offers classic holiday fare of garden vegetable salads, salmon rillettes, prime rib, creamed spinach, and a chocolate pot de crème, while the menu inspired by F10’s Birba restaurant skews more old-school Italian with chicken Milanese, a tricolore salad, “Nonna’s meatballs” (made from a combo of Berkshire pork and grass-fed beef), and good old tiramisu.
PHOTO BY AUDRY MA
F10 Creative’s catering truck.
Mr. Lyons’ menu from $115/pp; Birba menu from $65/pp.
Chef Patrick Magee
The private chef prides himself on creating upscale classics — a maple-brined slow-cooked organic turkey with apple-sausage stuffing and fluffy yam soufflé, for example — along with stuff Mom didn’t used to make, like his arugula and Asian pear salad fortified with blue cheese, cranberries, and white balsamic vinaigrette. From $70/pp.
Katherine King Special Events and Catering
Katherine King creates custom menus for clients. “A lot of people in vacation rentals are thrilled to have somebody come in make dinner for them,” she says. Dry-cured tenderloin of beef (seared and roasted rare) with creamy horseradish and a salt-brined free-range turkey stuffed with oranges, fresh rosemary, and sage butter are top picks. Though she bakes up traditional pies, her bite-size signature sweets — sticky toffee pudding cakes and Meyer lemon tarts — steal the post-meal show. From $58/pp for entrees.