Mal Pais Costa Rica Chef and Wedding Catering Services
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som_chef_dishMal Pais Chef Services

Soma has been Costa Rica’s leading choice for first class catering and personal chef services since our first event in 2004.  We have continuously set the standard for gourmet catering in Central America and strive to progress with every event. Our team has had the distinct pleasure of catering countless unforgettable gastronomic events, including wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, special events, fund-raisers and private celebrations, providing four star restaurant-quality cuisine, impeccable service and artistic flair, perfectly matched to the occasion.  We work with the countries top event coordinators to organize everything from simplest beach gathering to a four star wedding extravganza. It all starts with great ingredients and the quality of our product is unsurpassed. Seasonal & organically grown fruits and vegetables are sourced from local suppliers who are passionate about their product and pick their produce for its superior quality and superb flavor.  Our Chefs meticulously choose fresh & sustainably caught fish daily, directly from the local fisherman to your plate.




Costa Rica's finest personal chef, special event and wedding catering services.

Recent Chef Posts

Bliss Burgers Recipe


I put this recipe together for those of you who remember "Bliss Cafe" and for those of you that don't it's definitely worth trying out. Bliss Burgers 2 cups cooked red or black beans, Read more

Sesame Pak Choi Recipe


Ingredients • 4 pak choi • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil) • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil • 1 large garlic clove , sliced very thin • 1 spicy red Read more

Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly

Executive Chef

Soma Executive Chef James Kelly has trained and worked side by side with some of the most innovative chefs in the industry from the beach towns of the North East to Southern coast of California.

  • Soma Chef Reviews and Testimonials

    I just wanted to write and let you know that Anahi and I were truly elated with the menu and catering you provided for our last event. The guests could not stop raving about the food. We look forward to seeing you again for the upcoming high season...

    Stephen Denton, Tropical Occasions,
    Event Catering

  • Soma Chef Reviews and Testimonials

    As the manager of Sandy Lane Estate in Santa Teresa, we have had nothing but exceptional catering experiences with Jim and his staff. Our clients have all raved about Jim's culinary creativity, personal warmth and professionalism. It's always a pleasure working with him and the dinners prepared by Jim are always the highlight of our guests' visits to Sandy Lane

    Hugo de Castro, Sandy Lane Estate,
    Exceptional catering experience

  • Soma Chef Reviews and Testimonials

    On vacation with our 1-1/2-year-old son and having cooked all our own meals thus far, we booked Jim for a romantic dinner at Villas Hermosas. The combination of his charm, low-key demeanor, and absolute mastery of the kitchen left us literally begging for more—so much so that we asked him to cook for us again a few nights later. Each time, he was amazingly intuitive about our individual likes and dislikes and the types of flavor profiles that make a meal multidimensional, yet he avoided all the fussiness that often attends a five-star dinner. A perfect balance of confidence and humility, both Jim and his extraordinary culinary creations are experiences not to be missed in Mal Pais. We are from Manhattan and are obsessed with food; we believe that Jim's meals rival some of NYC's best.

    Noah Chasin, NYC,
    Romantic dinner at Villas Hermosas

  • Soma Chef Reviews and Testimonials

    You served the most beautiful and amazing food, especially the incredible chocolate wedding cake to top it all off!! Your professional control of the entire meal allowed us to all relax and enjoy our daughter's wedding, We enjoyed a total all-out celebration with you and your staff in charge. Each dish was a delicious experience and the presentation was a complete delight! Your friendly and sincere care set the pace immediately and we've been singing your praises to everyone. Any couple lucky enough to be getting married in Costa Rica is guaranteed an unforgettable event in your capable hands. With much appreciation and anticipation that we will be celebrating more events with you in the future. You ARE the ROCK STAR of catering!!!! We all love you.

    Gayleen & Mark Hays Lake Tahoe, California,
    Wedding Catering

  • Soma Chef Reviews and Testimonials

    Jim's cooking provided us with two glorious evenings of scrumptious, beautifully-presented food in the privacy of our own villa. Every aspect of the meal from salad to dessert was luxurious, thoughtfully prepared and perfect. Thank you, Jim...

    Elena Brower, NYC,
    Private Chef Catering

  • Soma Chef Reviews and Testimonials

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!! You, Billy and the girls were absolutely incredible. The food was outstanding. I think you blew everyone away!!! From the menu, to the prep, to your professionalism, to the service A+++++. It was so much more than we could have ever imagined down in the OSA. Thank you again for everything. We think you are amazing.

    Shira and Richie, La Jolla, CA,
    Wedding Catering

  • Soma Chef Reviews and Testimonials

    Funny, we had to travel over 2200 miles, in 2 planes and three cars to get some of the best food we've ever tasted, and we live in NEW YORK!

    David Duchovny & Téa Leoni,
    Best food we've ever tasted...

  • Soma Chef Reviews and Testimonials

    Creative and fun are two words that not only describe James Kelly as a person but also his cooking style. James has been cooking for us in Costa Rica for years and is still able to surprise us with his original dishes. Our health is vital to us and having James’s clean and healthy cooking keeps us at our best. He is able to modify his cooking for any need and his patient persona meshes seamlessly into our lifestyle. From the moment our travels take us away from Costa Rica we look forward to returning to James Kelly’s exquisite cooking. No other cooking can compare.

    Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen Testimonial,
    Personal Chef Services Costa Rica

I believe that all great dishes begin with the finest ingredients and have spent over a decade traveling throughout Costa Rica seeking the greatest product this amazing little Country has to offer. By connecting directly with our producers, I can be confident that the food that we purchase is not only delicious, but also ethically grown and raised under as close to optimal standards as possible. Fresh foods grown locally, organically and sustainably offer far superior flavor as well as peak nutrition. This is the foundation upon which we build every menu. As a Chef with a serious commitment to surfing and an active lifestyle, health and nutrition are extremely important to me. I am always seeking to create new and exciting dishes that not only taste great, but that will also leave you feeling equally great as well. I love reinventing and lightening up the classic dishes and throwing in whole organic grains whenever possible. That’s not to say that we skimp on the sugar in our desserts, but we use only unrefined, organic sugar from trusted local producers. Our cuisine is nutritious without sacrificing any flavor. I am hopelessly food obsessed and a true believer in the power a great meal can hold. I recognize food as a great vehicle to bring people together and feel that every meal should be a celebration.

There are two reasons why Soma remains the first choice for food conscious couples.   We are hopelessly passionate about what we do and we’ve got the track record to prove it. We also understand the importance of your wedding day and aim to impress both you and your guests with our creativity, professionalism, personal attention to detail and incredible cuisine. We’ll work directly with you to create the wedding menu of your dreams using only the finest local and seasonal ingredients. Besides what we are serving your guests, we’ll also need to decide how we are going to serve it to them.  We provide a full range of service option including, traditional plated dinner service, chef-manned stations, elegant buffets, small plate “tapas” style service as well as seated buffets a.k.a. “family style”. Our efforts in the kitchen are further complemented by working with the country’s top wedding coordinators.  They’ll organize every detail so that you can relax and enjoy your day, knowing that your wedding will be handled by the finest professionals in the business. Wedding Planning Tip:  December through April is our “dry season” and also the most sought after months for weddings.   So be sure to book ahead.

Our chefs, exercise exceptional creativity to bring your guests incomparably fresh, flavorful gourmet fare that also happens to be really good for them.  Our meal plans can be customized to any occasion. Chef Jim has developed his “fitness first” culinary skills working directly with some of the world’s top trainers, and as personal chef to well known athletes and celebrities, to develop high energy meal plans that offers not only great nutrition but also great flavor. We provide full-service dining experiences with haute-cuisine flair without weighing you down.  He is currently working on his first cookbook.

Restaurants fail because they’re underfunded, poorly planned, or mismanaged.  Before launching a new restaurant, we help to ensure the concept is viable for a particular market and that it’ll generate the numbers required to keep operations up and running. Beyond helping fledgling restaurants get off the ground, we can use our expertise pull ailing restaurants out of the red by streamlining operating procedures, cutting food costs, or rebranding to attract a larger or different clientele. Our team specializes in all aspects of restaurant operations and fully understands the components of a successful restaurant. We provide nearly 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry and firm understanding of both back and front of the house operations.