Chef Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|20 Years +||$16.57||$42.62||$34,470.00||$88,640.00|
Chefs are professional individuals who have obtained a degree in culinary arts and mastered all aspects of food preparation. Chefs and head cooks have been used interchangeably throughout the years so much that the line between the two professions has become blurry. To differentiate, while both occupations deals with cooking and preparing food, cooks generally do not have the qualifications required of chefs.
Also, chefs generally stick to cooking and food preparation whereas cooks can be assigned to other kitchen-related duties sand other household duties. That being said, both chefs and cooks are capable of managing a kitchen staff, although management positions are usually reserved for chefs in big establishments such as hotels and five-star restaurants, cruise ships, and casinos amongst others.
While the main responsibility of a chef is to prepare meals for his or her clients, a chef may also be tasked to do the following:
There are various types of chefs, depending on the nature of their work and their respective specialties.
Commis are entry-level chefs and are usually found in the kitchen working under the supervision of experienced chefs. They are basically the apprentices or the assistants of chefs and are usually assigned the hardest kitchen assignments. While the position may not be prestigious, the experience is invaluable. Most of the basic kitchen skills such as knife handling and food preparation are gained in this phase. Almost all chefs have been commis at an early point in their careers.
Pastry chefs are those whose cooking expertise is focused on making baked goods and confections. Pastry chef must be creative with their creations and must have an eye for detail. They have to have this discerning taste in making appealing and appetizing desserts.
Saucier chefs are experts in making sauces. They have an extensive knowledge in making all kinds of sauces. In a traditional French cuisine-based restaurant, they are commonly referred to as "keepers of the flame", mainly because knowledge in creating sauces is the foundation of French haute cuisine.
Other popular types of chefs are executive chefs, sous chefs, and personal chefs.
There are 90,300 chefs working in the United States right now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median chef salary in the United States is pegged at $42,350 per annum. Chefs in the top 10% are making an average of $74,060 a year or more, while those in the bottom 10% are paid with an average wage rate of under $24,770 annually.
About 44,120 professional chefs, nearly half of the chef demographic, are currently employed in full-service restaurants all over the United States and are raking in an average chef wage of $44,870 a year. While the pay rate may be a tad lower than the national average, this information reflects the fact that full-service restaurants are the biggest employers for chefs in the country.
Companies engaged travel accommodation presently have 11,480 chefs under their employment. While their number is not as big compared to those who work in restaurants, the chef pay rate is much higher at $52,800 per annum. Other business sectors that offer high employment probabilities for chefs are special food services ($46,110), amusement and recreation industries ($53,050), and limited-service restaurants ($34,910).
Marine transportation companies shell out the highest chef salary average at $73,010 a year. Other top-paying business sectors for chefs are amusement park and arcades ($67,580), federal offices and agencies ($65,410), personal service providers ($62,200), and food manufacturing firms ($60,990). All sectors except federal offices employ more than 210 chefs. This is due to the lower employment options compared to other industries as well as tighter qualifications and requirements.
Obtaining a degree in culinary arts is what differentiates a chef from a cook. This can be acquired in colleges, universities, and culinary institutes.
That said, many begin their training in kitchen management, cooking, and food preparation prior to getting a degree. Some can even get hold of a certification through cooking apprenticeships.
While it is not strictly enforced, many establishments tend to hire and pay substantial chef salaries to those who are certified by the American Culinary Federation, the same organization that has accredited 200 formal academic training programs at post-secondary schools. Some hotels and restaurants also offer formal training to deserving employees.
Other chef organizations also offer enhancement training courses to budding and experienced chefs, such as the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, and the Research Chefs Association (RCA).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be little to no growth in the chef profession in the immediate future, with a decrease of 1% projected for 2010-2020. While the population growth will fuel the need for more restaurants and other dining establishments, the need for professional chefs will be lessened as more and more establishments prefer to hire experienced cooks in efforts to cut costs.
That being said, there are still employment opportunities for chefs, though options are much better for experienced ones compared to those who are just starting out. Also, the fast pace and intense pressure that stems from this occupation will also lead to high turnover rate.
Hotels, fine dining restaurants, and upscale casinos will remain as the leading employers for chefs. But aside from excellent cooking skills, chefs with extensive business and management skills have the best business prospects.
A majority of chefs start their careers in restaurants and hotels. They usually start as commis, also known as "chef apprentice" and eventually they are promoted to higher positions in the kitchen once they gain experience and the necessary skills. A chef can then traverses to other areas of culinary arts and become more specialized.
Pastry chefs who specialized in desserts and other baked goods earn more than regular chefs. Pastry chef salary rates can range from $19,020 to $51,970 a year. Personal chefs are those who specialized in working for a specific person. Personal chef salary rates range from $20,430 to $68,510 per annum. Executive chefs are those assigned to manage and monitor kitchen operations. Executive chef salary grades reach around $32,620 to $86,520 per year. In the absence of the executive chef, a sous chef may take his place in managing the kitchen. Sous chefs are known in the culinary world as the kitchen's "second-in-command" and may be as skilled and good as the executive chef. Sous chef salary rates range between $23,000 - $50,090.
If you are passionate about food preparation and you are not sure about taking the chef route, here are other related occupations you might want to check out:
The title of "chef" is very prestigious in the food and dining industry. It denotes one's mastery in food preparation and kitchen management. But more than just preparing and cooking food and overseeing kitchen operations, a chef is tasked to better the dining experience of his or her clients - from the presentation down to satisfying their taste buds- and managing the entire kitchen staff. Aside from natural skills such as creativity, dexterity and refined senses, the chef must also develop strong business, leadership and time management skills in order to succeed. The job is demanding, and requires a devoted passion for food and giving your customers a memorable culinary experience.