say yes to enjoying your party
and no to getting stuck in the kitchen

The biggest source of party planning stress is the food — so let us take care of it.

No worrying about getting quantities wrong.
No slaving in a hot kitchen while your guests party without you.
No spending days in advance buying and prepping food and stressing about serving gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free or allergic guests.
No cleaning the kitchen afterwards; we will leave it sparkling clean.

We are the party catering experts here to take your planning stress away.

From low-key afternoon teas, to finger food banquets, to fully catered dinners with a  marquee and a dancefloor, we can create the perfect function for your next big or small event — whether at home or a hired venue, indoors or out.

Happy guests at a catered private function

let us cater for your private event

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Birthdays
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Engagement Parties
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Anniversaries
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Christenings
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Funerals and Wakes
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Barbecues

Equipment & Event Sourcing

Cutlery, crockery, plates, glassware (Beverage packages only) and flatware are all included in our offering.

  • Marquees

  • Furniture

  • Promotional Events

  • Audio Visual

  • Transport

  • Theming

  • Security

  • Espresso Coffee Carts

  • Mobile Coolroom & Kitchens

  • Florists

dedicated event planning

Katrina, our events guru, will help you plan every detail of the catering, sharing her years of expertise and helping you get the menu, drinks and preparations exactly right.

fresh, great-tasting food is our promise to you 

Forget frozen dim sum or soggy sandwiches — we offer irresistible finger food, delectable platters, or sit-down dining options. Freshness is the key to great taste, so we grow plenty of our produce ourselves, and locally source the rest from artisan providers. The result? Super tasty food that your guests will rave about.

a friendly, professional, dedicated events team

Your event will run smoothly with our hands-on caterers, chefs and event managers. We supply the right number of waiters and bartenders so your guests enjoy a steady flow of food and drinks all night (or day) long.

Our event catering partners

We can help make your event incredible with recommendations for hire equipment, marquees, seating, staging, entertainment, DJ, photographers and many more event experts across Melbourne.

we work hard so you don’t lift a finger

We will take care of all the setup, cooking, serving, drinks, and then clean it all up afterwards. Wouldn’t that be better than struggling in the kitchen yourself?

ask our event catering experts

Got a question? Need advice on what food to serve or how to make the most of your budget? Our event experts will be delighted to assist you.

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An Essential Catering employee serving drinks

testimonials for our Melbourne private catering services

"There is only one name I trust"

"When it comes to catering companies in Melbourne, there is only one name I now trust - The Essential Caterer. Our company’s anniversary celebration wouldn’t have been such a success if it wasn’t for their outstanding food and service. Everyone raved about the food. Thanks Sean and the team at the Essential Caterer!"

Sophia Mier
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"The staff were really nice, polite and well presented"

"Thanks to Sean and the team for an amazing job at our Engagement Party last month! All the staff were really nice, polite and well presented - great job! And the food was just beautiful! We have had so many compliments from our guests - we highly recommend the Essential Caterer!’"

Ryan Borromeo
Melbourne
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"Smooth, easy, delicious food and we didn't lift a finger!"

"We recently engaged Essential catering to provide for a small house party (about 35 - 40 people). All I did was provide a clean kitchen. They didn't even need fridge space or a rubbish bin - all self sufficient! Eight delicious finger food platters were heated and prepped on site and passed around - then everything cleaned up and all we were left with was our sparkling kitchen once again. Nathan and Renee were wonderful! I highly recommend their lamb koftas, their arancini balls, their gourmet pies and their Potato & chive hash with smoked salmon! We had so many compliments!"

Alan Mantoni
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"Our guests raved about how delicious it was"

"Essential Caterer made our day amazing.The food was fantastic and all our guests raved about how delicious it was. The service, from my first call, was also great. Thanks so much to all at Essential Caterer."

Julia
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"Catered very well for the array of diets"

"Thank you so much Essential Caterer for all your efforts. You did an amazing job and many of the guests commented on the quality of the food and service and the helpful and friendly nature of the staff. You even catered very well for all the array of diets 'vego, gluten free etc'. We will definitely use you again or at a minimum recommend you!"

R and B Pemberton
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We’ve only got the one planet — so let’s take care of it

We make every effort to reduce waste by:

  • locally growing 95% of our own herbs

  • growing our own fruits and vegetables as much as possible

  • hand making 98% of our catering menus so we don’t use processed food that comes in extra packaging

  • keeping food waste and food miles to a minimum

  • composting all our food waste

  • sourcing produce from local providers in or near the Yarra Valley

  • only using 100% Australian fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood and cheeses

  • using free range eggs

  • using fair trade coffee

  • minimising the use of single-use or plastic cutlery by providing our own cutlery at events

  • recycling glass, cardboard, paper and cooking oil

  • reducing energy demand via LED lights and other initiatives

  • using 100% biodegradable coffee cups and supporting the use of keep cups

private catering
Frequently asked questions

What kind of private events do you cater for?
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We take care of all kinds of private events, including:

  • birthdays

  • anniversaries

  • housewarming parties

  • engagement parties

  • wakes

  • family reunions

  • easter celebrations

  • christenings

  • children’s birthdays

  • bah mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs

  • dinner parties

  • and much more

I’m not sure what food option I should choose - can you help?
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Our events manager Katrina can provide expert recommendations on the best catering choices to suit your budget.

I have an event coming up soon — is it too late to book?
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We’re very good at handling last-minute requests. If we haven’t got any prior bookings, we’ll do our best to help you. Just give our events team a call.

What do you need to know to prepare a quote?
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To give you an accurate quotation, we will ask you about your plans, including:

  • how many people will attend?

  • when is the event?

  • where is the event?

  • what kind of food do you want? (finger food, buffet, plated dining)

  • do you have guests with dietary restrictions? (we love to ensure everyone gets great food)

  • do you have a budget?

  • do you need extras like drinks, wait staff or bartenders?

  • do you need help with event set up like tables, entertainment and other staging?

If you’re ready to get a quote, contact our friendly events team to get started.

What are your payment terms? Do I pay a deposit?
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Yes, you pay an initial 30% deposit to lock in your booking, and the balance is due 14 days prior to your event.

Do you charge a travel fee?
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It depends on the location of your event, if we do charge a travel fee we will outline this clearly in the quote. The fees depend on staff numbers, but generally it is $90 for 15-45 minutes’ travel time and $150 for 45 minutes or longer. 

Can you cater from my kitchen?
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This depends on the size of the event and the capacity of your kitchen. Typically we can cater using your kitchen for an event with 100 patrons or fewer. For seated dining we can cater for about 20-30 patrons.

We have no kitchen — do you have mobile ovens?
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Yes, we have a variety of mobile kitchen equipment we can bring, including oviens. We just need allocated space to work from that has access to power. 

Does it cost extra to bring your cooking equipment along?
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Yes, we do charge additional fees if there is not a kitchen we can use to prepare your catering. We will itemise all the details of the additional charges in your custom quotation.

When do I need to notify you of final numbers?
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Typically, we ask to know the numbers a week prior to the wedding so we can start preparing for your event in advance.

How many waiters will I get?
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It depends on the style of the event. For finger food events we allow one food waiter per 50 people and for seated events we allow 1 waiter per 25 people.We also include bartenders if you choose drinks catering as well. We believe plenty of staff make for a smooth, stress-free event for your guests so we always have more than adequate numbers of waiters and bartenders. We also provide a dedicated event manager on site to supervise the food and drink service at your event.

Are your staff vaccinated for covid?
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As per state government mandates, all our staff will be double vaccinated by 26 November (if not sooner). Read our COVID-19 policy.