Head Chef/Cook Salary
For Head Chefs & Cooks, hourly average wages total $12.46 per hour. Residence and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Some workers in this field — the greater part — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by more than a third and dental plans are enjoyed by roughly one in four. Work is enjoyable for Head Chefs & Cooks, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Head Chefs & Cooks who participated in the survey are largely men, dominating at 61 percent. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
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.Read More...
Head chefs/cooks' work environments vary widely; some work in small kitchens with a small number of staff, while others may work in multi-kitchen operations supervising a large number of kitchen staff. This job is usually salaried and offers benefits. Compensation varies depending on restaurant style, location, and the head chef/cook's job experience. This job often requires chefs to work on weekends and/or holidays. Depending on the restaurant's hours, they may work either very early in the morning or very late into the evening.
To be a head chef/cook, individuals must have previous experience with ordering, preparing, and cooking food in a professional setting and with managing a kitchen. Head chefs/cooks often possess either a culinary education obtained at a specialty school or years of experience working in kitchens. These individuals must have a high energy level, as the job demands that they spent a lot of time on their feet. This job also requires strong communication skills and the ability to solve problems quickly in high-pressure situations.
Head Chef/Cook Tasks
- Manage kitchen operation including food purchases and preparation, record keeping, quality standards, and sanitation.
- Train employees in cooking methods, plate presentations, portions, and cost control.
Common Career Paths for Head Chef/Cook
Head Chefs & Cooks sometimes assume positions such as Hotel Executive Chefs. That role pays $60K per year on average. Head Chefs & Cooks most often move into positions as Executive Chefs or Sous Chefs; those groups report median salaries that are $26K higher and $8K higher, respectively.
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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook
Head Chefs & Cooks seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, skills in Inventory Management, Team Leadership, Menu Planning, and Order Inventory are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 15 percent. Those listing cooking as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Customer Service and Training also typically command lower compensation. Those educated in Food Preparation tend to be well versed in Menu Planning.
Pay by Experience Level for Head Chef/Cook
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Head Chefs & Cooks, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $24K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $28K. Head Chefs & Cooks see a median salary of $30K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Head Chefs & Cooks who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $31K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Head Chefs & Cooks, busy Los Angeles offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 45 percent above the national average. Head Chefs & Cooks will also find cushy salaries in San Jose (+34 percent), New York (+27 percent), Chicago (+25 percent), and Austin (+23 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Cleveland, 19 percent below the national average. Employers in Orlando and San Diego also lean toward paying below-median salaries (8 percent less).
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Key Stats for Head Chef/Cook
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