Courtesy of Guthrie Dolin and Kelly Berry/Pixelette Studios
Robert Edwards: a personal chef who named his company, Ethan’s Catering, after his five-year-old son. Edwards cites growing up in Ghana amid a household of women, and hunting expeditions he took as a boy, as his culinary inspirations, along with the work of Oliveto’s Paul Canales. Edwards’s food is earthy yet refined—a sauté of black trumpet mushrooms followed by a rabbit stew, for instance. And, an evening with Edwards is an event: He might appear with fresh produce from his garden, chill a sparkling rosé, or even bring a live chanteuse—he often works with jazz singer Zoë Ellis. From $500 for a party of four, music extra, (510) 384-8691, www.ethanscatering.net.
Catherine McConkie: a culinary instructor at Berkeley’s Bauman College who has studied Taoist dietary therapy. McConkie doesn’t restrict any food groups but says, “For me, it’s all about quality sourcing. I like the flavor of the food to come through.” Her fresh delights include a vibrant mango-parsley smoothie and a salad of quinoa, arugula, and cucumbers. From $50 an hour, plus ingredients, (415) 464-9880.
Stephanie Perry: a master barbecue chef who learned the art from her father. Perry’s expansive repertoire includes soul food, Creole and Cajun cooking, California cuisine, Italian food, seafood dishes, and the occasional Thai appetizer. From $400, party size variable, (510) 485-8832, www.perryscatering.com.