Head Chef/Cook Salary

Median pay for Head Chefs & Cooks in the United States is around $12.04 per hour. Residence and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most Head Chefs & Cooks report high levels of job satisfaction. Health benefits are not enjoyed by everyone in this line of work, and more than half lack any coverage at all. Medical benefits are reported by nearly two in five and dental coverage is claimed by slightly less than a third. The majority of Head Chefs & Cooks (65 percent) survey respondents are male. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$23,763 - $53,873
(Median)
$24K
$36K
$54K
MEDIAN: $36,141
10%
50%
90%

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$8.95 - $17.08
(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
$23,763 - $53,873  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,042  
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).
)
$19,877 - $46,756  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 261
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
$8.95 - $17.08  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $3.70  
Overtime
$7.43 - $27.12  
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 - $2,042  
   
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).
)
$19,877 - $46,756  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 653
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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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Though it's uncommon, some Head Chefs & Cooks move into roles as Hotel Executive Chefs, where pay is an average $59K per year. It is quite typical for Head Chefs & Cooks to transition into roles as Executive Chefs or Sous Chefs, where reported median earnings are $24K and $6K higher per year.

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook


Head Chefs & Cooks report a narrow range of 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 pay less than market rate include Food Preparation. Most people skilled in Food Preparation are similarly competent 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 many Head Chefs & Cooks, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $26K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $30K. Head Chefs & Cooks claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $30K. 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.

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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 11%

Menu Planning
up arrow 4%

Order Inventory
up arrow 1%

National Average
$29,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 175 votes.

Gender

Female
35 %
Male
65 %

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: 40% dental benefits Dental: 28%
vision benefits Vision: 22% employee benefits None: 58%
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