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Head Chef/Cook Salary (United States)

Pay for Head Chefs & Cooks in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $12.22 per hour. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Roughly two-fifths enjoy medical while just under one in three get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to nearly one-fifth. Male Head Chefs & Cooks are more prevalent than women — 67 percent of professionals in this field are men. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Responses to PayScale's salary questionnaire form the basis for this outline.
Head Chef/Cook Salary (?
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.
)
$23,937 - $53,308
(Median)
24K
29K
36K
44K
53K
MEDIAN: $36,278
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Head Chef/Cook Salary (?
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.
)
$8.91 - $17.34
(Median)
8
12
15
17
MEDIAN: $12.00
10%
50%
75%
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
$23,937 - $53,308  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,029  
Profit Sharing
$500 - $4,000  
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).
)
$20,065 - $46,878  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 331
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
$8.91 - $17.34  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.76  
Overtime
$8.79 - $27.41  
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 - $3,029  
   
Profit Sharing
$500 - $4,000  
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).
)
$20,065 - $46,878  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 741
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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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Head Chefs & Cooks sometimes assume positions such as Hotel Executive Chefs. That role typically pays $59K per year. The most common next step for a Head Chef & Cook is to become an Executive Chef or a Sous Chef. The former position pays an additional $23K per year on average, and the latter position pays $5K more per year.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook

Survey takers who work as Head Chefs & Cooks usually report a few specific skills. Most notably, skills in Inventory Management, Order Inventory, Menu Planning, and Food Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Food Preparation. Those familiar with Food Preparation also tend to know 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, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $26K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $30K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $31K. Head Chefs & Cooks who have acquired more than two decades of experience generally do see greater compensation; their average income is approximately $35K. Head Chefs & Cooks with one to 10 years of experience are most common in the field, followed by those with 10 to 20 years and more than 20 years.

Pay Difference By Location

New York
up arrow 23%
Las Vegas
up arrow 21%
Chicago
up arrow 20%
Austin
up arrow 17%
National Average
$29,000
St. Louis
up arrow 15%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
With a pay rate for Head Chefs & Cooks that is 23 percent greater than the national average, New York offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Head Chefs & Cooks will also find cushy salaries in Las Vegas (+21 percent) and Chicago (+20 percent). In St. Louis, salaries are 15 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market.

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Experience Affects Head Chef/Cook Salaries

National Average
$29,000

Skills That Affect Head Chef/Cook Salaries

Inventory Management
up arrow 9%
National Average
$29,000
Order Inventory
up arrow 1%
Menu Planning
up arrow 2%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 163 votes.

Gender

Female
33%
female alumni
 
Male
67%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
23%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
32%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 40% dental benefits Dental: 29%
vision benefits Vision: 20% employee benefits None: 58%