Head Chef/Cook Salary

The average Head Chef & Cook in the United States can expect to rake in roughly $12.49 per hour. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — the greater part lack coverage. On the flip side, over a third have medical insurance and nearly one in four receive dental plans. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$20,142 - $58,335
$20K
$35K
$58K
MEDIAN: $34,549
10%
50%
90%

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$8.92 - $17.23
$8
$12
$17
MEDIAN: $12.49
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$20K$40K$60K
Salary
$20,142 - $58,335  
   
Bonus
$80.54 - $14,899  
Profit Sharing
$2,150  
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).
)
$19,177 - $43,451  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 175
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$9$18$27
Hourly Rate
$8.92 - $17.23  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $2.57  
Overtime
$11.89 - $25.96  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$18K$36K$54K
Bonus
$80.54 - $14,899  
   
Profit Sharing
$2,150  
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).
)
$19,177 - $43,451  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 679

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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

  • 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


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Head Chefs & Cooks do not often transition into Hotel Executive Chef roles. The role averages $60K per year. Head Chefs & Cooks moving up in their careers tend to step into positions as Executive Chefs or Sous Chefs. The median paychecks in those roles are $26K higher and $8K higher, respectively.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook


Survey results suggest that Head Chefs & Cooks put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in Inventory Management, Order Inventory, Menu Planning, and Team Leadership 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 Food Safety also typically command lower compensation. Most people familiar with 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.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Head Chefs & Cooks — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $24K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $28K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $30K in this role. Head Chefs & Cooks with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $31K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $28,025

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago — America's three largest cities — boast salaries well above the national rate for Head Chefs & Cooks. The lowest-paying market is San Diego, which sits 17 percent below the national average.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Head Chef/Cook

Gender

Female
40 %
Male
60 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 132 votes.
Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
21%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
34%
20 years or more
22%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Head Chef/Cook Salaries

▲9%

▲8%

National Average
$28,000

▼2%

▼13%

Skills That Affect Head Chef/Cook Salaries

Inventory Management
▲15%



Team Leadership
▲3%

Training
▼0%

National Average
$28,000


Cook
▼9%

Food Safety
▼9%

Customer Service
▼15%

cooking
▼26%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 132 votes.

Gender

Female
40 %
Male
60 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
21%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
34%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 35%
dental benefits
Dental: 26%
vision benefits
Vision: 23%
dental benefits
None: 63%
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