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Head Chef/Cook Salary

Median pay for Head Chefs & Cooks in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $12.03 per hour. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. While some workers in this profession — a majority — do not have any health coverage, approximately two in five do receive medical benefits and just under a third have dental insurance. The majority of Head Chefs & Cooks (67 percent) who took the survey are men. Most Head Chefs & Cooks like their work and job satisfaction is high. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$23,443 - $53,234
(Median)
$23K
$36K
$53K
MEDIAN: $35,851
10%
50%
90%

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$8.99 - $17.20
(Median)
$9
$12
$17
MEDIAN: $12.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$18K$36K$54K
Salary
$23,443 - $53,234  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,024  
Profit Sharing
$495.79 - $3,931  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$19,921 - $46,397  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 273
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$10$20$30
Hourly Rate
$8.99 - $17.20  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.51  
Overtime
$7.86 - $27.45  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$20K$40K$60K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,024  
   
Profit Sharing
$495.79 - $3,931  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$19,921 - $46,397  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 650

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United States (change)


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Job Description for Head Chef/Cook

Head chefs/cooks are responsible for overseeing the quality of food as it leaves the kitchen. They must ensure that their kitchens meet the health standards set in place by governmental agencies. Additionally, they are responsible for making sure that other kitchen personnel follow food safety guidelines and meet hygiene standards. Head chefs/cooks must understand how kitchen equipment functions and ensure that it is operable and in safe working condition. Additionally, a head chef/cook often supervises the rest of the kitchen staff. Head chefs/cooks are typically responsible for ordering, inventorying, and keeping detailed records of food items and their costs. They must have experience creating menus that assist owners in attracting and maintaining clientele. They also may be responsible for setting menu prices.

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Head Chef/Cook Tasks

  • Train employees in cooking methods, plate presentations, portions, and cost control.
  • Manage kitchen operation including food purchases and preparation, record keeping, quality standards, and sanitation.

Common Career Paths for Head Chef/Cook


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While not commonly seen, Head Chefs & Cooks who transition into a Hotel Executive Chef position may see a rise in pay. The median salary for Hotel Executive Chefs is $59K per year. When Head Chefs & Cooks are ready for the next step in their careers, they often become Executive Chefs or Sous Chefs. Those roles pay an additional $24K and $6K, respectively.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook


Head Chefs & Cooks usually report a few specific skills. Most notably, skills in Inventory Management, Menu Planning, Order Inventory, and Food Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Food Preparation. The majority of those who know Food Preparation also know Menu Planning.

Pay by Experience Level for Head Chef/Cook

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $26K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $30K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Head Chefs & Cooks see a median salary of $30K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Veterans who have worked for more than two decades do tend to make the most in the end; the median pay for this group is $33K.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Head Chef/Cook Salaries




National Average
$29,000


Skills That Affect Head Chef/Cook Salaries

Inventory Management
up arrow 11%

Menu Planning
up arrow 1%

Order Inventory
0%

National Average
$29,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 174 votes.

Gender

Female
33 %
Male
67 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
23%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
33%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 39% dental benefits Dental: 28%
vision benefits Vision: 21% employee benefits None: 59%
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