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Tipsheet: Four-Star Fêtes

If you dine at Ducasse regularly, having a celebrity chef mastermind your wedding is the ultimate decadence. Good news: Top chefs can be coaxed out of their kitchens for the right price. While far from a bargain, you do get face time with the masters and access to their signature dishes. That, and the look on your mother-in-law’s face when you tell her who’s cooking.
 

SEVERAL NOTABLE CHEFS have catering divisions. Feast and Fêtes is Daniel Boulud’s (212-737-2224; $175–$210 per person). Boulud will probably not be manning the grill, but it’s still his classic French cuisine. Blue Hill’s Dan Barber, who opened Blue Hill Catering (212-647-1713; $200–$350 per person) long before his cozy West Village dining room, appears at all his functions—including Laurence Fishburne’s nuptials in Fort Tryon Park.

OTHERS, LIKE Terrance Brennan of Terrance Brennan’s Seafood and Chop House (212-715-2400), don’t have formal catering operations but will still do weddings off-premises for $200–$300 per head if the couple takes care of the logistics. Gabrielle Hamilton, the chef-owner at Prune, however, will supply everything from staff to silverware (212-677-6221). For a recent wedding, she set up shop at a foundry in Long Island City. (Be prepared to spend $100 just to talk food, and up to $300 per person if you book her.)

CHEFS WHO DON’T have the infrastructure, or the patience, to mind the details typically hook up with an event planner. Eberhard Müller, formerly of Lutèce and now of Bayard’s, Michael Romano of Union Square Cafe, and Tom Colicchio of Craft regularly work with Francesca Events (646-227-9474). Expect to shell out $200–$500 per person for their fare. On top of that, certain chefs, like Douglas Rodriguez, formerly of Chicama and now of Chispa, charge an appearance fee of $2,000–$5,000. You can book Rodriguez through Yipeee (212-965-9600), an event company that also works with heavyweights like Marcus Samuelsson, Lidia Bastianich, and Jacques Pepin. “We ask clients to pick a cuisine,” says Karen DiPeri, Yipeee’s vice president, “and we’ll pursue the chef that’s most well-known in that category.”

From the 2003 New York Wedding Guide

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