About

Primal means first, and Alchemy means creation. One could say that the first science practiced by man was cooking and thus, the first creation, the Primal Alchemy.

About Primal Alchemy

Founded in 2001, Primal Alchemy is an award-winning chef-owned, food-forward catering firm focused on seasonal, locally sourced, hand-crafted foods while utilizing sustainable practices. With a thorough background in traditional culinary preparation, and a progressive approach that incorporates the increasingly popular Farm To-Table Philosophy, Primal Alchemy collaborates with local producers to provide a diverse array of food that is extremely fresh, simply seasoned, and prepared in the most straightforward manner.

Primal Alchemy creates customized menus for every event. As the first true Farm-to-Table catering company in Southern California, they’ve enjoyed ‘Making Memories and Marking Milestones’ for corporate and social clients for over 20 years, including birthdays, anniversaries, life celebrations and weddings, producing events for up to 2000 guests. Some of their clients include the TED Conference, Port of Long Beach, Edison, Boeing, Greenpeace, Molina, Chipotle, Quicksilver, Matson, Rip Curl, Billabong, Urban Decay, Garnier, and the United States Green Building Council. They have also partnered with non-profits such as Pathways, Rancho Los Alamitos, Cabrillo Aquarium, and Guidance Center.

Recognized for their efforts as the first food business in Long Beach to attain the state sanctioned Green Business Status, in addition to the Blue Certification from the Water Department, Primal Alchemy’s commitment to bettering the earth has gone without waver. With a responsibility in their hearts to the community, their advocacy for sustainability and passion for teaching our youth about food and nutrition, rest assured that choosing Primal Alchemy for your event is your contribution to the same effort.

Our Story

We Are a Local Charcutier

Community Involvement

Speaking on Indigenous Ingredients & Sustainability, with Craig Torres of the Tongva Tribe
Teaching Preservation
Teaching farm to table sustainability for Days of Taste
Raising Awareness of Genetically Altered Aquatic Organisms
The Growing Experience

We Are a Sustainable Catering Company

We use environmentally friendly practices that help your business reduce its impact on the earth. In the food service industry, this can be through reducing energy usage, cutting down on the use of disposable products, minimizing food waste, and many other creative practices, like packing linens in carboard instead of plastic and thus no need for hangers, and using fruit and floral garnishes for cocktails, instead of umbrellas and the like.

When you hire us, you’re contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable earth.

Locally Sourced Ingredients

For our grocery & dry goods, we go to INGARDIA BROTHERS; SUPERIOR SEAFOOD for their sustainable practices; HA’S APPLE FARM for their apples, pears, peaches and eggs; TAMAI FARMS for their kale, strawberries, tomatoes and herbs, CHAVEZ FARMS for their citrus and berries; WEISER FAMILY FARMS for their potatoes, carrots and radishes; GONZAGA FARMS for their persimmons; and other general needs from the HARBOR’S AREA FARMER’S MARKET.

Primal Alchemy Seasonal
Primal Alchemy Chef Paul Fish Market
Primal Alchemy Local Sustainable Food
Primal Alchemy Market

Chef-Driven

Primal Alchemy is a chef-driven catering company serving all of Southern California, specializing in cooking with organic, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.

Seasonal and Customized

Our menus are constantly evolving to reflect the seasons and resources. We work with our clients to customize and create menus with ingredients at the peak of their season.

Serving the Greater Southern California Area

From intimate gatherings to large functions, from traditional to unique venues such as historic buildings, art galleries, farms and waterfronts, and from the desert to the sea, we got you covered.

Chef Paul Primal Alchemy

Why Primal Alchemy?

Local, Seasonal, and Sustainable.
  • Leaders: We were the first to embrace seasonal, sustainable and local catering. We founded our company on it.
  • Relationships: Your event will benefit from long and trusted relationships with our Ingredient Resources
  • Farmers are Our Friends: You will know where your food comes from.
  • We Cook On Site
  • 100% Self Staffed
  • Fully Licensed & Insured
  • CA Certified Green Business
  • Owner Operated
  • Venue Relationships
  • Work alongside other vendors to ensure success
  • Custom & creative menus for each client
  • Our food will leave a lasting impression on your guest’s pallets

How Can You Make Your Business Sustainable?

Meet The Team

We Grow It,  We Forage It, We Handcraft It
Chef Buchanan Profile

Paul Buchanan

Owner & Executive Chef

After graduating with honors from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Chef Paul Buchanan honed his cooking skills in some of the best kitchens in Southern California, including Water Grill, Patina, Pascals, La Brea Bakery and Campanile. At Patina, he executed large scale events like the Oscars, Emmys, and SAG Awards, gaining valuable experience in logistics as well as cooking with finesse. After working for esteemed chefs Nancy Silverton, Pascal Olhats, Joachim Splichel, among others, his passion for locally sourced ingredients drove him to open Primal Alchemy Catering (PAC) in 2001. Now a leader in the Sustainability/Slow Food Movement, Chef Paul takes pride in honoring what originated in Italy as the crusade to eat regionally, impassioning local food culture, and taking the time to enjoy all the beauties and enjoyment of a meal within its tradition and element, all while being conscious of the effect of how the way we consume imprints on the world.

As a recipient of many awards, including multiple years as Best Chef and Best Caterer by the Readers of the Press Telegram and the Long Beach Post, award-winning Chef Paul has been instrumental in cultivating the urban agricultural movement. An active participant in Slow Food, Chefs Collaborative, Master Food Preservers, and the American Institute of Wine and Food. He’s been premiered at several “Real Food” events throughout the years and has been featured in many cookbooks, such as the Community Table: Recipes for an Ecological Food Future by Alice Waters & Evan Marks, an entire chapter feature on pacific halibut recipes in Wild Alaskan Seafood: Celebrated Recipes from America’s Top Chefs & Ocean Friendly Cuisine: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the World’s Finest Chefs by James O. Fraioli.

In addition to events, Chef Paul is also an experienced Salumiere, bringing in whole Iberico pigs from a farm in Napa Valley and curing all the salumi in house, head to tail. From catering to charcuterie, to hand-crafted jams and pickled foods, he brings the beauty of nature to your kitchen and table. Chef Paul has always treated his cooking as an expression of art, which combined with his culinary talents, makes his food a masterful combination of flavors and visual presentation.

Personal Life:
Chef Paul enjoys traveling to try new places to eat, bike riding, hiking, camping, roller-skating, reading (cookbooks of course), commiserating with fellow like-minded chefs, spending time with his wife and business partner, Dana, playing frisbee with his son, Drew, a graduate and now employee at UCSB, and cooking on his 1884 Vintage Garland Woodburning stove at their cabin.

Dana Primal Alchemy

Dana Buchanan

Owner

Dana is a community driven entrepreneur with an ethos of giving back by being a catalyst and a connector. After successfully selling her first business in 2004, a commercial design and office furniture company, she partnered with her husband and chef, Paul Buchanan to form Primal Alchemy Catering (PAC). Dana believes that community engagement is part of a responsible business. She is actively involved in many organizations, including LB Rotary, Leadership Long Beach, CCEJ, Friends of Pathways, Long Beach Sustainable Business Alliance, Long Beach Green Business Council, Long Beach Alliance for Food and Fitness, Long Beach Fresh, Wilson Girls Aquatics, PTSA, Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Holistic Chamber of Commerce and, as founder, the Long Beach Urban Farm Dinner benefiting The Growing Experience Urban Farm. She’s on the board of California Conference of Equality & Justice and currently serves as a Commissioner for the City of Long Beach. Dana is also a board member for the Belmont Shore Business Association and Steel Magnolias, a fundraising arm for the Stramski Center and Long Beach Memorial-Diagnostic Center for Autism.

With a Bachelor of Science, Interior Design & Architecture from Cal State University, Dana is also a graduate of both Leadership Long Beach and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Business program. She has become a regular fixture on Clubhouse, a global social network of people learning from each other, and has been honored by the Press Telegram as the recipient of the Amazing Woman Award in Business, by the Long Beach Post as one of the 30 Women to Watch and by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mujeres de Ano, Empresaria.

Personal Life:
Dana grew up in a home where organic, natural foods were the norm. She refined her palate starting at a young age during the food renaissance of the early 80’s by experiencing the food of now illustrious chefs like Joachim Spichel, Wolfgang Puck, John Sedlar, Thomas Keller, Ken Frank, Roy Yamaguchi and many others. It’s no mistake that Dana married a chef! Together they created Primal Alchemy to share their passion for seasonal, sustainable, local cuisine.

Rafael Chuela

Sous Chef

Rafael, a dedicated culinary professional who began his journey with our team as a Prep Cook, swiftly ascended the ranks to the esteemed role of Sous Chef. With a culinary certificate in hand and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Rafael’s journey has been marked by exceptional achievement. His extensive kitchen experience and comprehensive understanding of various positions make him the perfect match for this role.

Personal Life:
Beyond his culinary prowess, Rafael’s heart beats for basketball, showcasing his passion and precision on the court. When he’s not crafting culinary masterpieces or perfecting his jump shot, he finds solace in creating cherished moments with his beloved family. With a unique blend of culinary finesse, athletic fervor, and strong family values, Rafael embodies a multifaceted life that enriches both the kitchen and beyond.

Cindy Goss

Event Sales Manager, Staffing Coordinator, Equipment Manager

Cindy has been an integral part of the Primal Alchemy team since 2014 and has taken on various roles within the company’s evolution. As well as Sales & Account Management, she currently serves as Staffing & Equipment Manager, guiding the hiring, training, and scheduling of event staff and overseeing the warehouse & catering equipment. Prior to working with them, Cindy ran a not-for-profit for eight years that harvested backyard fruit, donating to food banks to help those who are food insecure, and as an Executive Assistant/Office Manager in several corporate environments.

Starting in the kitchen at Primal Alchemy as a Prep Cook with zero knife skills, Cindy quickly excelled, and after only six months on the job, she led her first event. From there, she took on the roles of Equipment Manager and Staffing Coordinator, as well as Event Lead, and finally landed in the position of Sales Manager. Cindy now has nine years’ experience in hospitality working as an event lead, event cook, event supervisor, event captain, and event server. She feels deep satisfaction in making clients happy they chose Primal Alchemy.

Personal Life:
As a master multi-tasker in her career, Cindy likes to keep it light in her free time.
She loves eating good food, frequent yoga classes, her cats and tending to her garden (replete with opossums, raccoons, skunks, birds, bees and monarch butterflies).

Mia Moraes

Mia Moraes

Director of Marketing & Business Development

Mia brings with her 17 years of hospitality, ranging from cooking and serving both in fine dining and catering to coordinating weddings, film festivals, charities, film premiers, awards shows, galas, and other various events. She’s seen it from all angles. With a broad understanding of the business, Mia has consulted for various catering companies in LA and contributed to their success. Her long-standing relationships with numerous companies, vendors and clients are at the base of where her value stems. Mia understands that a strong work ethic, mutual respect and value, kindness and collaboration are where business and success meet. What she brings to the industry is specialized event curation by collaboration of beverage and food makers, artists, and entertainers to inspire the most unique event experiences and nourish relationships with event planners, venues, corporations, organizations, and artisans alike.

Personal Life:
Personally, Mia is also a published writer, having started The GhostWriter Agency in 2014. She’s written screenplays, TV series and novels, ranging from thriller to mystery to non-fiction. Mia is also a filmmaker, having directed and produced various content, including films, music videos and live showcases. She has worked within film, TV, and commercial production, again wearing many different hats. Mia loves filmmaking, inciting collaboration amongst artists, dogs, and really good food.

Anh Do

Event Chef

Anh is a culinary virtuoso known for seamlessly blending the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese cuisine with the diverse culinary landscape of the United States. His journey began in Vietnam, where the love of cooking was ingrained early on by the heartwarming kitchen traditions of his mother and grandmother.

At the tender age of six, Anh embarked on a life-altering adventure, transplanting their culinary heritage to the shores of the USA. This fusion of cultures has become his signature style, offering guests a unique experience that marries Vietnamese authenticity with American innovation. Anh has graced the kitchens of esteemed establishments such as The Montage in Beverly Hills and L’Auberge del Mar in San Diego. These experiences have sharpened his skills and allowed him to curate unforgettable dining moments for discerning guests. 

With a green thumb inherited from his mother and grandmother, Anh finds joy in gardening. Cultivating his own ingredients forms the basis for his culinary inspiration and creation.  Anh believes that his craft for cooking is a divine gift from God meant for sharing. Just as his mother and grandmother expressed their love through food, Anh aspires to serve his community by crafting unforgettable meals that unite people.

Personal Life:

Beyond the culinary realm, Anh is an adventure seeker. His love for the outdoors manifests in activities like cycling, rock climbing, skateboarding, camping, hiking, and thrilling rides along winding mountain roads on his motorcycle. The great outdoors is where he finds his peace.

Kevin Scott Allen

Event Supervisor

Kevin has been in the food-service business for over twenty years and has catered events for such luminaries as the Prince of Wales, Presidents Bush and Clinton, A-list stars as well as mom-and-pop downhome dinners. He has worked in all areas, from event planning and food preparation to floor and beverage service, rentals, and scullery. In short, there isn’t one aspect of an event in which he doesn’t have abundant hands-on experience, enabling him to oversee your party down to the tiniest detail, so that you can sit back and enjoy yourself as a pampered guest.

Personal Life: 
In addition to his event experience, Kevin is a traditionally published author and licensed scuba instructor. His written works include Conquering the Film and Television Audition, Stolen Empire, a historical fiction set during the lead-up to the Mexican-American War, optioned by Universal Studios, and an animated historical adventure series entitled Firewalk, again for Universal Studios, and most recently, Murder Can Be Fatal.

Matt Cohn

“Garden Gnome”

Matt Cohn is Primal Alchemy’s “garden gnome.” He is responsible for tending to some of the organic gardens that provide the company with fresh, seasonal produce, which is an essential ingredient in Primal Alchemy’s farm-to-table ethos. He has also served the company by working at events and by helping keep the ever-growing office files organized.

Personal Life:
Matt is a writer who is often on assignment for the City of Long Beach and the Downtown Long Beach Alliance. He also works early in the morning at a local Lowe’s Home Improvement Center as a Botanical Hydration Specialist (in other words, he waters the garden!). His focus outside of Primal Alchemy is music; He has been a professional musician for decades, playing clubs and private functions, creating independent film scores, and composing children’s music. He was a member of the ’80s band Berlin, and recently re-joined the group for some road shows. He recently crossed a big item off his bucket list when he played two shows with the band at the Hollywood Bowl.

…and an amazing staff of kitchen chefs and cooks, event captains, servers, and bartenders! All of our staff put the utmost detail into ensuring the food and service is of the highest quality.

What Our Clients Say

We Love What We Do. Don’t Just Take Our Word For It…

We engaged the team at Primal Alchemy for a function for 70+ guests and I could not be happier. The communication (we are based in New Zealand and organized a function in Los Angeles), quality of service and quality of food were all outstanding. Many compliments were received from our guests. I would definitely use them again for future functions!
Grant Lowe, New Zealand Consulate
Primal Alchemy catered our wedding 1.5 months ago & I’m still hearing about how good the food was!!
Katie K.
Orange County
Chef Paul and Cindy in the office are just wonderful. We talked a few times before the party and the more I talked the more excited I became. Anyway the food and serving came out exceeded my expectations. My guests also said this was a memorable experience. I wish I could eat Chef Paul's food more often.
Ming W.
Chef Paul put together an amazing spread for our wedding at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The menu that was fresh & delicious. Our guests came out absolutely raving about the food. He & his staff were able to manage the challenges that cooking at the museum posed.
Vu M.
Westminster
I chose to use Primal Alchemy for my daughter's wedding. I cannot express well enough how delicious the food and service was. From meeting with Chef Paul, the planning and guidance given by Cindy in the office and then on the day of the wedding, they were an absolute pleasure to work with. Everything from the artisan breads, delicious olive tapenade, salads and entrées, all made with fresh locally sourced foods, were incredible. The quality of the food was noticeably fresh, elevated and delicious. The set up, service and breakdown went so smoothly...we hardly noticed their servers presence and yet every request was met and the service was impeccable. I would HIGHLY recommend Primal Alchemy over the other larger catering companies available in Orange County which in my opinion are very standard/average, even mediocre. If you're a foodie" and expect delicious food and service, choose these guys. you will be so pleased you did!! I wish I had photo's of the food. It was so delicious, it was all delightfully consumed without us taking pics!I totally recommend Primal Alchemy. You don't even need to clean up a thing after the party's over.
Deb
From booking our dinner party with Cindy until the day of the event, it was professionalism all the way. I can't say enough about the level of service, the positive and helpful attitudes as well as the quality of the food (the short ribs were amazing!). It was my first time using their services and will definitely use them again. Thank you for helping make our evening so special.
Shelley P.
Long Beach
Primal Alchemy catered my 85th birthday party, which took place in my apartment, last week. Cindy was wonderful to work with. She came to the apartment and not only envisioned the T-shape of tables through my dining/living room but also worked with colors and beautiful creative centerpieces. Primal Alchemy did everything - which proved perfect for an 85-year-old! Chef Paul's dinner was beyond delicious and Christy's service was so warm. My 18 friends told me that besides the food and the occasion, they loved having all their needs attended to without feeling that anyone was hovering over them or interrupting the party spirit. I totally recommend Primal Alchemy. You don't even need to clean up a thing after the party's over.
Joyce L.
Fabulous plated dinner service for our 14 guest wedding in September! We had our wedding in my parents backyard. The food was so delicious and the staff was incredibly kind. We felt very safe with their catering, and they were extremely professional and clean. They did tray passed appetizers, and brought our plates to us while being seated. Would HIGHLY recommend them again, and it was well worth going the "plated dinner service" route vs a buffet, especially for this intimate wedding celebration! My only regret is not taking a classic iphone pic of the food with my phone (or the staff! incredible staff!)
Teresa D.
Long Beach
I chose to use Primal Alchemy for my daughter's wedding. I cannot express well enough how delicious the food and service was. From meeting with Chef Paul, the planning and guidance given by Cindy in the office and then on the day of the wedding, they were an absolute pleasure to work with. Everything from the artisan breads, delicious olive tapenade, salads and entrées, all made with fresh locally sourced foods, were incredible. The quality of the food was noticeably fresh, elevated and delicious. The set up, service and breakdown went so smoothly...we hardly noticed their servers presence and yet every request was met and the service was impeccable. I would HIGHLY recommend Primal Alchemy over the other larger catering companies available in Orange County which in my opinion are very standard/average, even mediocre. If you're a "foodie" and expect delicious food and service, choose these guys. you will be so pleased you did!! I wish I had photo's of the food. It was so delicious, it was all delightfully consumed without us taking pics!
Frances N.
Irvine
I reached out to Primal Alchemy to cater my micro-wedding at Rancho Los Cerritos. Primal Alchemy went above and beyond- not only did they plan an amazing menu, but they also coordinated florals, table rentals, and the cake for me. In particular, Cindy was a fantastic coordinator, and between Cindy and the rest of the team, the day was a dream come true. Everyone was raving about the fresh, beautiful food, and the tablescape/extras were perfect! Thank you Primal Alchemy!
Emma O.
We used Primal Alchemy two nights in a row for entertaining while attending the ACT Expo in Anaheim. Chef Paul is amazing! We had guests coming and going for hours and he was continuously made fresh appetizers for each guest. Chef's assistant was a great help in the kitchen cleaning constantly and serving guests. Cindy did a wonderful job of communicating with me to make sure our event was a great success.
Tracy R.
San Francisco
We had a beautiful celebration of life for my late husband catered by Primal Alchemy. Delicious food, and gorgeous presentation! Everyone commented on how wonderful the food and drinks were and how professional the staff were! We would highly recommend Primal Alchemy!
Hildreth K.
Long Beach
I hired Primal Alchemy to cater a 50th birthday party in my 1100 sq. foot home and back yard. After I cleared the kitchen counters for them, they took over my tiny kitchen and went to work! Uniformed servers set up the buffet outside, Paul and his team brought in their insulated warmers and put out the most delicious and appealing spread I could have hoped for! Mediterranean grilled chicken and vegetables, Israeli couscous, sides, spreads, a whole gorgeous feast. If you think your function is not big enough for Paul and Primal Alchemy, stop worrying and give them a try. They made my party a dream, clearing plates and cups, refilling the serving platters, and generally doing ALL the things I am usually doing as the host of my own parties. Thank you for an incredible and memorable event.
Linda K.
Long Beach
Primal Alchemy catered my very small wedding on 1/15/21. We wanted restaurant quality food and we were blown away. The appetizers were amazing and the servers even saved a plate for my husband and I, knowing we'd be hungry since we missed cocktail hour taking photos. The lunch was incredible. Everyone at the table was so satisfied. Chef Paul's short ribs are to die for. On top of the incredible food, the service was so good and they left my mom's kitchen perfectly clean. We will happily hire Primal Alchemy for another event in the future!
Gabi M.
Rancho Cucamonga
Cindy and the team did a great job. My guests were impressed. The chocolate soufflé was amazing, following the lamb. Yum!
Michelle
It was wonderful working with Cindy and the team at Primal Alchemy who helped us to deliver an LA-based event for exclusive U.S. clientele all the way from New Zealand. We had exceptional feedback from guests about the food and service. We highly recommend and look forward to working with them again.
Tom C.

Tell us about your event and get a quote!

We transform fresh ingredients from local farmers and artisanal food sources into amazing food. All of our seasonal menus are customized for your unique event.