174 Reviews for Real Food Catering
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Real Food catering is the only way to go if you are putting together a wedding where you provide your own caterer. Yen and Gary are PHENOMENAL - personally, professionally and as foodies!! But their expertise does not stop at just the food. They help with everything - from giving suggestions to other fabulous vendors, to helping you with your floor plan, choosing your alcohol, wine and champagne, helping with your timeline and giving ideas on how to make your night the best it can possibly be.
Our food was exceptional. Our guests raved about how delicious, fresh, and flavorful it all was - from appetizers to dessert! We chose the peking duck in sticky rice buns as one of our unlimited appetizers and we literally had guests stalking the staffers for them - people texted us this week asking about our caterer and what all the wonderful food was that they ate at our wedding. Gary is the best - he is hands on and helps ensure your night is all it can be and more. We wanted for nothing during our reception - he and Yen made sure we had everything! Also, their prices are so competitive - in NYC, where everything tends to be overprices, Real Food is honest and works with you to make sure you are getting the best you can possible get for fair prices per guest.
The day of and days after, guests have complimented, posted, emailed and texting using words/phrases such as "EPIC", "BEST WEDDING EVER" and "WEDDING OF THE CENTURY"...we could not have achieved that level of enjoyment, sophistication and deliciousness with our guests if it weren't for Yen and Gary. To all NYC bride to be's and groom to be's, go with Real Food Catering and you will have the best night of your life. Our suggestion is to contact them early - because they are so hands-on, they can only do so many weddings per year.
Yen and Gary from Real Food Catering could not be easier to work with. They made what could have been a stressful part of the wedding planning so easy AND FUN. They let us provide our ideas and then helped us tweak based on their experience and everything was amazing. We have picky eaters on both sides of our family and literally everyone was telling us how great and abundant the food was. People said that they have never had so much food at a wedding before and they loved that. Yen and Gary also were extremely helpful with our alcohol count, our table placement at the venue, and other details that we were doing on our own, without a wedding planner. They go above and beyond to make you happy before, during and after the wedding.
I don't know where to begin! Yen & Gary were true experts in their craft!! Everything they told us and recommended was spot on. Not only were they helpful when we were planning, but were genuinely the nicest and most organized team that we worked with. I did not have a wedding planner and I did not need one because of Yen & Gary! The day of we did not have to worry about anything -- everything was set up beautifully and Gary made sure that our ceremony ran flawlessly. He also made sure that we got to eat the delicious food that day!! We had a plate of appetizers waiting after the ceremony and he made us both dinner plates (and took the time to make sure we ate). They really went above and beyond. We have and continue to receive so many compliments about the food at our wedding and how great everything was. If you are researching catering companies, look no further!! A big thank you to Yen, Gary, and the real good catering staff!! You guys are amazing!!! :) - Marie & Charles (Wedding on 12/2/17)
Yen and Gary from Real Food Catering were absolutely amazing. We could not be happier with how the planning, service and execution turned out for our hybrid chinese/american wedding. Their flexible budgeting and planning process made our lives so much easier. Our venue was an loft/open space rental in Dumbo, NY and needed quite a lot of planning to accomplish properly. They helped us through every step of the way, ceremony layout, DIY decoration placement, space transitions, tea ceremony, schedule, vendor coordination, basically every aspect of the wedding was well thought out and we could not have pulled it off without them. With Real Food Catering, you get so much more than just caters providing food, you get a team that helps you think through the concept and management of the entire event. Weddings can be incredibly stressful and I'm so thankful that we picked Real Food Catering.
Besides the unreal pre-wedding and day-of service they provide, the food was truly top-notch. We had passed Hors D’oeuvres during cocktail hour and the classic seated dinner service. Our guests were split into two types, half traditional chinese that preferred asian inspired cuisine and half hip foodie friends that have always complained about wedding food. Real Food Catering helped us navigate this clashing of preferences by offering a wide range of options like chicken/waffle and peking duck. It's been 3 months since our wedding and we are still receiving compliments from family and friends for the food. Food was my greatest concern because the backlash from a chinese family for going non-chinese traditional family style can be unbearable and Real Food Catering really satisfied everyone! Instead of receiving brutal chinese criticism we're actually receiving praise.
The other 5 star reviews I've read are all true. Real Food Catering is the best option in every imaginable category. Greatest part was that since everything was so well planned we actually both got to eat!!
We genuinely felt so lucky to have found Yen and Gary! From the attention to detail to the phenomenal catering to the flawless day-of execution, their team was above and beyond. The instant we met for our meet and greet, all concerns about planning a multi-vendor wedding disappeared. They instantly put us at ease with their professionalism and proven experience in the industry (they knew and worked with just about all of our other vendors!). We had a great time brainstorming menu ideas, and ultimately crafted the perfect menu with vietnamese influences for our Brooklyn wedding. Our guests happily cleared their plates and four months later, still tell us how impressed they were with the food -- a true wedding rarity!
Also highly recommend Real Food Catering's day-of coordination services. They were complete pros and always seemingly ten steps ahead of us. Our wedding day was in short a total home run, and we owe a large part of it to Real Food Catering. If you have the option to work with the whole dream team -- do it!
Yen and Gary are the BEST OF THE BEST. It's not even worth looking at any other vendors. Our guests were raving about the food, service and the entire day. There was no way it would have been as good as it was without Real Food Catering. It was the best decision we made hiring them. Thank you SO MUCH!!
During our year of wedding planning, my husband and I found ourselves falling in love with other people. Those people were Yen and Gary of Real Food Catering. Giving them all of the compliments in the world doesn't do them - and their extraordinary staff - justice!
We first felt Real Food fireworks in our initial meeting with Yen and Gary. We had been shopping around for a wedding caterer, but had yet to experience the aha moment of finding someone that really understood our vision - that is, until we busted through the doors of their oh-so-stylish office on Great Jones. And we had quite the vision, given that we wanted to build a wedding from the ground up that reflected our love for food, sense of humor, and typical levels of hysteria...
Every off-the-wall idea we threw at Gary and Yen - running through a giant banner (like a basketball team!) for our entrance, setting up a DIY station so that guests could accessorize themselves with temporary tattoos of our faces, finding space for a self-serve keg of beer - was welcomed with open arms. And they went ABOVE AND BEYOND to come up with plans / timelines so that everything was executed flawlessly on the big day (and so that we could imbibe, worry-free, far too many signature cocktails). My Type A mind was swooning - no detail went overlooked.
EVERYTHING for our wedding seemed to fall into place after the stars aligned in that first meeting. Gary and Yen made exceptional suggestions for our other vendors, presented an ideal layout, and helped us pull together a personalized and utterly delectable menu.
For all of your wedding needs, look no further than Real Food Catering. They're more than just a catering company - they're impeccably detail-oriented, innovative and professional planners, coordinators, decorators, chefs, ringmasters and, above all else, two truly kick butt people.
We'd get married all over again just to spend more time with Yen and Gary.
From the minute we met Yen and Gary, we knew they were the one (I didn't even have that feeling when I met my husband). And we couldn't be happier with their incredible work at our wedding this past weekend!
Yen and Gary were patient, understanding and went out of her way to work out all the details for our wedding. We emailed back and forth often... over 300 emails!!! From the beginning, they welcomed our questions and provided us with their honest feedback.
I cannot begin to tell you the overwhelming positive response we received and continue to get from our guests about our food! ANDDDD I know the food was delicious because when I walked around to greet our guests at dinner, I noticed many plates that were scraped clean!
Yen, Gary and their incredible team worked hard to make our wedding run smooth, STRESS-FREE, and most importantly, delicious! We could not be happier with our experience with Real Food Catering.
Wow, just wow! What an amazing experience with Yen, Gary and the rest of the Real Food Catering staff. I could not imagine a better experience working with a caterer for a wedding. They were so professional at every step of the way. They were responsive to our requests and demands, consistently answering questions clearly and giving us the information we needed, when we needed it. True pros! The night of the wedding was incredible. The staff was so helpful and comforting, we truly felt like we were in the hands of people that knew what they were doing and who would deliver on every front. Gary Wagener was our Day of Coordinator and was excellent. He anticipated all of our needs and was incredibly responsive. He was extremely detail-oriented. My brother and I love the fact that he personally delivered our converse high top shoes to our place at the dinner table, right before the dancing! A few other things to mention:
- You cannot beat their food for a wedding. It was better than the most restaurant experiences we have. So many of our guests commented on how great the food was (we had flank steak and salmon as our entrees). And the horderves were so good - grilled cheese, bacon wrapped dates, meatballs, you name it. They offered such a variety of horderves to choose from, we had trouble just narrowing it down to 9 selections!
- They really take their time to make you feel comfortable with your selections. Yen invited us to the Green Building for another wedding a year before ours to get a feel for how they set up for a wedding, and let us taste a number of horderves. It was so much fun, and really helpful. And then we had our tasting, which was one of the best eating experiences I had the entire winter!
- All-in, I think you want a caterer who knows what they are doing, and can effectively balance your requests with their expertise. Yen and Gary were adept at this. I cannot recommend them more!
Real Food Catering is beyond one of the most amazing vendors out there. New York is a competitive place when it comes to food but these guys have it all figured out. We were so pleased with Yen and Gary from our very first visit that from that point on, we felt a sense of relief knowing they are absolutely the best out there and knew we were going to be well taken care of. Creating the menu, Yen was so open to our food requests, some even difficult, and totally "Wowed" us with her creations. The guests were so pleased with the food that it was the talk long after the wedding was over. I have to say as the bride the one thing that I am still talking about is how well I was taken care of by Gary the day of. It is a very overwhelming day and to be taken care of in the many ways such as making sure I ate, stayed hydrated, an just checking on me to see if I needed absolutely anything was something that I actually still think about and am so thankful for. These two are a team that every bride and groom need. We are so grateful for Real Food Catering, so much love to Yen and Gary!!!
I don't know where to begin to start raving about Yen and Gary. They were one of the best decisions we have ever made! Real Food Catering came recommended by our venue - The Foundry for having reasonable prices (this is NY) and excellent food. We had a great first meeting with Yen and Gary who wowed me and my parents with their creativity and openness to fusing our cultures (nigerian & jewish) into the food they were creating and allowing our authentic ethnic foods to be featured at our wedding. They detailed visually their involvement with planning from seating to scheduling on how the actual day would go. Their personalities are so sweet, fun, and easy to work with. I was in constant and easy communication with Yen leading up to our wedding. There was an excellent fluidity in the process and as we modified things it was very organic and effortless. The tasting of our menu was done as dinner with their other clients getting married near our date and tasted and looked great but was also a fun dinner party. We still had the ability after tasting to modify things and Yen did just that considering my husband had recently become vegan and on our wedding day - he had his own meal. Our wedding day was amazing largely thanks to Yen and Gary. They have such a calm and playful vibe and their work is impeccable. Our guests are still raving about our wedding and the food a month out. Gary is an excellent coordinator and made sure we were fed and taking it all in and that we had a few private moments together. Yen & Gary are true professionals and know the NY wedding game and can make recommendations and suggestions for everything to really help the busy bride. We really bonded with Yen and Gary and they made our road to wedding and big day such a joy.
The single best decision you can make for your big day is to work with Real Food Catering.
There isn’t enough time or space for me to rave about Real Food. Yen and Gary are thorough, attentive and are an invaluable resource throughout the planning process. Honestly, Yen may be small in stature, but she is a General! She will be honest about what will work and what won’t work based on your menu, venue, theme, etc. Even better, they will do whatever they can to help you save a little money along the way.
They are highly respected and liked throughout the industry. Every time we met with another vendor and told them we were working with Real Food (Yen & Gary) they would rant and rave about how amazing they are. This wasn’t just a polite comment, “oh they’re great…” kind of way, it was literally 10-15 minutes about the last event they worked together, their food, how they just went and had a drink with them, etc. And after working with them, it makes total sense. Honestly, we just want to go have a drink with them sometime – they’re that amazing!
On the day of our wedding, Yen was running things in the kitchen while Gary was our day of coordinator and working the front of house. Anything we needed, had questions about, whatever it may be, he was there. Our day ran perfectly – no hiccups along the way (or at least none that we were made aware of).
Now let’s get to the food, after all it’s the real reason you need catering. AMAZING! We went with a floating dinner, which means we didn’t have a formal sit down or stations. Instead, it was an extended cocktail hour with passed Hors d’Oeuvres which started on the lighter side of the menu (bruschetta, spring rolls, etc.) and worked into heavier menu items (sliders, momofuku pork buns, lobster rolls). When our parents learned of this, they weren’t thrilled. In fact they were nervous about it not being enough food, how it would be received, etc., but afterwards they raved about how the entire evening flowed seamlessly.
Its hard to put into words Yen's contributions to our wedding this past weekend. Not only did Yen help create a fun menu and phenomenal food (more below on the food), but she and her team really served as a wedding coordinator. She was there from the start, answering MANY emails from both myself and my mom on questions ranging from menu, to table setup, flowers, day of timeline, gluten free vs. non gluten free and much, much more.
Wedding can be incredibly stressful with a lot of moving parts. Yen eliminated any stress by answering all of our questions and concerns promptly and guiding us along the way with her expert opinion which always turned out to be right. :) The day of contact from Real Food was Mary Anne who I had only met for the first time that day. Mary Anne was incredibly warm, professional, on top of things and also a calming presence during some stressful moments.
In terms of the food - everything was AMAZING! Our guests are still raving about the chicken and waffles, bacon wrapped dates, rosemary shrimp and more from cocktail hour. But what they were even more impressed with was that the dinner food was just as good as cocktail hour. The poached salmon, beef and pad thai in to-go cartons were a major hit! Yen and team, I can't thank you enough for all that you did to make our wedding so memorable! XOXO, Heather & Joe
My husband and I can’t thank Yen and Gary enough for everything they did for us on our wedding day! They are such a joy to work with and absolutely made our dream wedding come to life. I can’t imagine anyone actually planning a wedding without these two!
And the food - what can I say! Our guests are still raving about the food from our wedding to this day! We saw from other reviews that another couple was able to curate a Chinese-Filipino wedding with a whole roasted pig. Of course when we saw that, we had to get it for our wedding day as well!
Thank you Yen and Gary! If you are reading this and debating about whether or not to book them, just do it!
Ok, where to begin... I'll get to all the caterer-specific stuff below, but let's just start with how they found us a place to get married when, the day before our wedding, we found out that our venue fell through. We contacted Yen, and she said not to worry--she had a spot ready immediately, and adapted logistics on a turn of a dime - and we LOVED the place they found. They are true lifesavers and not only made our wedding take place, but made sure it ran smoothly like nothing had happened.
From the beginning they helped us strategize our event. When we met with them, Yen and Gary had plenty of questions to figure out exactly what we wanted, and let us know what had been successful based on their years of experience. They brought up points that we didn't even consider. After helping us find our DJ (DJ Kahn), who was awesome, they coordinated with him so everything from welcome to ceremony to cocktail hour to reception was seamless.
The Real Food team was so accommodating and so nice the entire way through. Everything we asked for they got done immediately, and did things without us having to ask. They were so nice and friendly, truly made us feel like royalty.
The food is out of this world. They are so creative with their ingredients and combinations, and EVERYONE told us how awesome it all tasted. One of our friends even said he was sorry he had so many of the appetizers because he wanted to eat more of the main course! If you care about tasty, creative food that will make your guests' tummies are happy, Real Food will make that happen.
Yen and Gary make the process so customizable--from choosing every item on the menu to guiding you through choosing the best items based on the ingredients. You can decide whether to provide your own booze or they'll cover it, rent plates/etc or buy disposables on your own, buffet or sit-down, etc.
We can't recommend Real Food Catering more wholeheartedly.
THANK YOU for everything that you did to make our wedding such a success. Our friends and family could not stop raving about the food (they are still talking about it - especially those lamb chops)! I am so appreciative for your time, guidance, collaboration and hard work to make it everything that I hoped for. We cannot thank you enough and just loved working with you. We are so lucky to have been recommended to you. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for everything!
After searching for a vendor to cater our wedding for nearly 3 months, we were so fortunate to have come across Gary & Yen. All the other caterers we met with had something we had to "compromise." Whether it was the exorbitant up-charge of having coffee, or if it was any hidden charges we had to quibble about, there was always something. With Gary & Yen, the word "fair" is an understatement. Their professionalism, quality, and attention to detail are all top-notch- on the same level as the much more expensive caterers of NYC. By the end of our experience, my wife and I were left in awe. It's rare to find a vendor who is genuinely committed to making sure your event is a hit. They provided numerous recommendations to make sure our wedding was stellar, from the food, to the band, and even negotiating with our other vendors to ensure we were taken care of. To find a caterer that truly goes above and beyond is rare, but you'll know right away that it's in their blood to provide that kind of service.
We could not have been happier with our choice of Real Food Catering. Yen and Gary are amazing to work with- super professional, helpful, and actually transparent about where your money is going, which we found really helpful. The food was out of this world, and we got a million compliments. Yen and Gary worked with us to choose a menu that really reflected us as a couple, helped craft the reception timeline, and were flexible with working with outside vendors for our cake and alcohol. Hire them immediately!!
Yen and Gary are the best of the best. We knew the moment we met them, that they were the ones that were going to make our special day spectacular. Not only are they warm, genuine, and calming (during a typically stressful year of planning); but they are professional, personable and take that extra step to make sure everything is perfect. My husband and I chose a raw space, that we had to piece together vendor by vendor. This was a daunting task at first, but Gary and Yen helped to make it all come together, and when the day arrived, our jaws fell to the floor. We were blown away by how seamless the day went, how attentive everyone was to us and our guests. Gary and Yen just GOT us. They got our vision. They nailed it, spot on.
Their staff is extremely professional and courteous. Aside from Gary making sure my husband and I were happy and comfortable all night, they had 2 other staff members constantly checking on us to make sure everything was as perfect as it could be. There were tons of appetizers being passed around the room. There was never a moment where a guest had to go in search of food. The drinks were flowing, and lines never formed at the bars. All important aspects to a wedding, if you ask me. Gary and Yen just know the game, and know how to run one smooth wedding. Our guests raved about our food. From the appetizers (truffle grilled cheeses, pork buns, tuna tartare, among many more) to the seated dinner (buttermilk fried chicken & ribeye steak) every single guest was beyond satisfied. Even the side dishes were just fantastic.
Truthfully, my husband and I are so sad the day is over for many reasons, but a huge reason is that we no longer get to work with Gary and Yen. They truly became our friends throughout the process. We will miss them and will be forever grateful for helping us put together the wedding of our dreams. We couldn't have done it without them.
I've tried starting this review many times and I'm still not quite sure how to start. Someone else has already said this in their reviews, but before the wedding my fiance and I would sincerely discuss how sad it would be to get married and not get to be in touch with them on the regular. If you have the chance to work with Yen and Gary, run don't walk! Book them now!!
I found Real Food through WeddingWire, and called them in January for a wedding in October. Right away Yen was warm and excited, and somehow seemed as sincerely stoked about my engagement as I was, which is an incredible accomplishment when you handle as many weddings as she and her team must handle. We chatted about our life stories and she immediately had recommendations for a VERY broad menu that combined our Thai background, his love of Maine comfort food, and my need to drink like a fish. Within just a few days we had a menu proposal, a tentative day-of schedule, budget and rental estimations. Over the next ten months, we traded piles of emails and got to enjoy a huge taste-test with two other couples in the gorgeous Broadway Rentals showroom. Yen and Gary helped us expand our vision while chiseling down the details at the same time, and their patience, professionalism and true kindness just bowled us over. When ideas wouldn't work, we were told. Real Food sincerely wanted us to have a great day, they weren't just nodding along with every whim we had, suggestions came from a place of experience and a real sincere desire to help us have a great wedding.
Day of, Gary successfully rescued us from several too-long conversations and whisked us to the back where he had appetizer plates and much-needed privacy on hand. He was such a friend to us THROUGHOUT. The staff was on point: even instructing our tipsy, clueless selves on how to cut+feed cake to each other as the cake was wheeled out. Yen and Gary truly became family throughout the entire process and we'd book them again and again if we could.
Having rented an event space for our big day instead of using an event hall and not having a wedding planner, Yen and Gary from Real Food Catering were the perfect guides to perfection on our big day. They were both very instrumental in ensuring that everything for our reception ran smoothly and the way we wanted. As for the food, we couldn’t have been happier. From the appetizers to the dessert, it was everything that we could have asked for and more! Not only did the food taste better than at any other wedding we’ve been to (and not just saying that because it was our wedding), the presentation of the food was truly professional and was along the lines of what you might find in a top restaurant. With Yen and Gary’s help in meticulously planning every turn of our reception, my husband and I found the time to sit and really enjoy the food that the team worked so hard to put together. Our guests agreed that the food was played a very big part in the success of our wedding and are still talking about it three months later. We’ll truly miss working with Yen and Gary as they were both a special part of our wedding and the time leading up to it.
Perfection doesn't really quite paint a vivid enough picture.
Yen and Gary are exquisite. There is not much more to say than that.
Some advice I can offer:
-Book them early
They are by far the least expensive caterers you will find for a quality you don't honestly find often, regardless of price point. If they are available. BOOK IT. NOW.
- Trust them and Use them
They cook delicious food. While I don't want to commit them to more than they technically offer, Yen is wonderful and very very helpful. Meaning, if the menu won't work or if the timing is all wrong she will tell you. Believe what she has to say. If she says something is not worth it or the vibe won't match the cuisine. Just trust her.
-They just make good food.
We wanted a Korean influenced dinner at our wedding; a Hispanic/British flair for canapés. A very odd mix to say the least and they knocked all three cuisines out of the park. At the risk of sounding snobbish, there were 3 Michelin star rated chefs in attendance, all three made it a point to say it was the best food they had ever eaten at a wedding.
Further, even the staff relished the opportunity to eat something other than the "chicken or the fish" that was made well.
They are smart, caring people who want this to be as personal and special as you do.
I cant even begin to describe how amazing it was working with Yen and Gary of Real Food Catering. They are more than "just a caterer." I really dont think my wedding would have been as perfect if it wasnt for them, and I definitely wouldnt have had as much fun because I would be worrying about everything. Yen and Gary and their team took all the stress off my shoulders, not just the day of, but the whole wedding planning process.
The food was out of this world, and they really went above and beyond to deliver exactly what we wanted! They made special dishes just for us to fit in with the Mediterranean flare we wanted the menu to have. It's been almost a month since our wedding, and we are still getting compliments about how delicious the food was (ohhh lamb chops I still think about you). Not only was the food perfect, but so was the service and rest of the staff.
From now on I will only recommend Real Food as an events caterer going forward to anyone. Real Food Catering is the best in the business, and they really know what they are doing. Not to mention Yen and Gary are wonderful people and I miss interacting with them and bothering them with all my questions!
We got married on 9/18. We were able to customize our menu, adding a bit of Korean and Argentinian influences. In the end, we got nothing but rave reviews from our guests regarding the delicious food as well as the professional and courteous servers. We were planning this wedding from California so I was insanely anxious but every time we met with Yen and Gary in NYC, I felt more at ease. In the end we had the perfect wedding thanks to this amazing team.
I can't say enough about Yen and her team. From the delicious food to the incredible service. Yen is amazing to work with. Extremely friendly, flexible, and professional. We got married at 501 Union and our guests raved about the food. Everyone was stuffed! We only met with one other caterer which was much more expensive and the food was good but not our style. We loved Yen's approach to classic dishes yet keeping it modern and elegant. Perfect food and caterer!