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Head Chef/Cook Salary

Head Chefs & Cooks in the United States take home an average $11.99 per hour. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Male Head Chefs & Cooks are more prevalent than women among those who took the survey — 67 percent of professionals. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — the greater part lack coverage. On the flip side, around two in five have medical insurance and nearly one in four receive dental plans. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$23,679 - $52,874
(Median)
$24K
$36K
$53K
MEDIAN: $36,076
10%
50%
90%

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$8.96 - $17.06
(Median)
$9
$12
$17
MEDIAN: $11.00
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
$23,679 - $52,874  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,035  
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).
)
$19,880 - $46,110  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 266
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
$8.96 - $17.06  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.15  
Overtime
$7.56 - $27.33  
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 - $2,035  
   
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).
)
$19,880 - $46,110  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 650
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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Head Chefs & Cooks who advance into the role of a Hotel Executive Chef are fairly uncommon. Hotel Executive Chefs on average earn $59K per year. Head Chefs & Cooks typically move into roles as Executive Chefs or Sous Chefs, and those positions pay $24K more and $6K more, respectively.

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook


Professional skills reported by Head Chefs & Cooks are few in number. 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. It is often found that people who know Food Preparation are also skilled 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. 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. Head Chefs & Cooks who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $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 12%

Menu Planning
up arrow 2%

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: 27%
vision benefits Vision: 21% employee benefits None: 59%
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