Culinary Excellence is a full service catering company with over 30 years experience. We specialize in custom catering of the highest quality at affordable prices. From our modern, newly constructed and fully equipped kitchen, offices, and extensive warehouse in Oakland, CA, we serve the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
Look through our new and expanded website and please contact us with any questions or requests for more information! We are a full service catering company, a one stop shop that can supply the food catering, flowers, cakes/desserts, lighting, rentals, and full event coordination as well as so much more. So come let us decrease your stress and make your wedding day a fun enjoyable experience!
Christian Hardy M.D. chef and owner of Culinary Excellence was the head of Pediatric Cardiology at Children’s Hospital Oakland for 14 years. After suffering a near death episode of his own, he re-evaluated his options and decided life was just too short, and he wanted to do something else that he loved. With that in mind he retired from his position at Children’s Hospital and went back to school at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco to begin an AOS degree in the Culinary Arts. As he was finishing his studies at the CCA, he realized that he had a true passion for pastry. When he left the CCA he decided to further his training at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, Napa. Spending a year studying nothing but pastry really lit a fire and passion for Chris which lead him to the decision that if he truly wanted to learn pastry there was only one place in the world he could really go to learn it properly, Paris. After graduating from the CIA Greyston with highest honors of all students, he was accepted and enrolled in Ecole le Notre in Paris, France, where he spent a year studying and learning the finer points of pastry. While there he also studying a variety of courses in the savory kitchen as well as banquet catering.
Upon returning to the states Chris was eager to get into the food industry and originally thought he wanted to work in a restaurant. After doing some research and looking at the different options Chris realized that in fact while a restaurant had many wonderful possibilities, he wanted to have more input and control over the food and product he was putting out. Knowing this, Chris began to look into catering, where he discovered Culinary Excellence, a company owned by a German couple who were looking to retire. Having met and connected with the previous owners Chris bought the company in 2004.
At the time Culinary Excellence was located in a 4,000 Square foot space, which was perfect for starting, but pretty quickly it became clear that Chris’s plans for expansion were not going to be contained in the small space that the Culinary Excellence offices occupied. It took a bit of time to find the right space and location for the new offices. In 2010 Chris found a wonderful new 20,000 Square foot property in Oakland. In this space he built a 2,500 square foot state-of-the-art kitchen with two walk in refrigerators, a walk in freezer, and enough counter space for 12 chefs to work side-by-side in the production of outstanding catering cuisine. Additionally there are 1500 square feet of office space with two fully equipped tastings rooms, and a fully equipped gym for the staff, and a warehouse that houses all of the equipment necessary to outfit even the largest affairs.
Recommended by 99% of couples
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Desi Mccoy · Getting married on 07/05/2021
The BEST It Gets!
Culinary Excellence and their team were one of the best aspects of our wedding day at the Brazilian Room at Tilden Park in Berkeley. The team was incredibly professional, kind, courteous, and obviously invested in making this a special day for us, our friends, and our family. On the day of, the team was friendly and took great care to make sure the venue looked beautiful. We never had to ask for service or wait for basic needs. They went above and beyond to ensure that our guests had what they needed. Jess, our Day-Of Coordinator, was absolutely phenomenal. Seriously. I have been a wedding/event planner and coordinator for years, and I can say honestly that she is the best of the best. She has a high attention to detail, a kind and fun demeanor, an immense amount of knowledge about the industry, the venue, and her team. I always felt incredibly supported and cared about. She was quick to respond via email when she could, and it is so clear that she invests time, energy, and effort into every event that she oversees. She is a true professional, and I could never share enough to feel like I've adequately explained what a treasure she is. If I could offer one piece of advice to brides, add the day-of coordination package on for your event. You won't regret it - worth every penny and more. Lastly, the FOOD. The team absolutely knocked it out of the park. The food was delicious at the tasting, and even more delicious at the wedding itself. It was presented beautifully, had great flavor, and the family style dinner service was executed perfectly. One of the most special parts of our wedding was that the chef at CE was able to recreate a treasured family recipe for a groom's cake, and it tasted exactly like his grandmother's would have. It was a perfect surprise and so unique.Sent on 06/06/2019
We can't thank Culinary Excellence and Jess enough for what they contributed for our wedding day. I could continue on and on about their fantastic service, professionalism, and care. They are the best of the best, and we would recommend them time and time again!
Culinary Excellence's reply:
Theresa Harris · Getting married on 11/16/2019
Best tasting experience
The staff at Culinary Excellence is awesome. They made us feel comfortable and the food was superb. We fell in love with the fact they are family oriented and so aboslutly professional. My fiance and soon-to-be father in-law had a blast. I previosly met Jessica and knew they would appriciate her as much as I did. Thank you so much for a very informative experience.Sent on 04/26/2019
Culinary Excellence's reply:
Jason · Married on 05/11/2019
The Wedding of our Dreams!
Culinary Excellence completely outperformed our imagination! Their in-house flower team made centerpieces that everyone commented on and sourced my favorite flowers, which are impossible to find in stores (I checked). The service and attention to detail was top-notch. The chef, whose food is divine, even made a special dish for one of our guests who had discovered she had celiac disease two weeks before the wedding! Thank you Allie and team!Sent on 05/12/2019
Culinary Excellence's reply:
I love this team. Chris, Jessica, and Danny are great and they are my favorite caterer to work with.