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Head Chef/Cook Salary (United States)

Head Chefs & Cooks in the United States take home an average $12.23 per hour. Residence and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Some workers in this field — the greater part — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by about two in five and dental plans are enjoyed by just under a third. Head Chefs & Cooks who participated in the survey are largely men, dominating at 66 percent. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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.
)
$23,825 - $52,837
(Median)
24K
28K
36K
44K
53K
MEDIAN: $36,022
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 - $17.38
(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
$23,825 - $52,837  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,576  
Profit Sharing
$509 - $34,392  
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).
)
$20,013 - $47,396  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 310
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$9$18$27
Hourly Rate
$8.91 - $17.38  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.98  
Overtime
$7.93 - $26.94  
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$18K$36K$54K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,576  
   
Profit Sharing
$509 - $34,392  
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).
)
$20,013 - $47,396  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 688
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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 not the most common occurrence, Head Chefs & Cooks sometimes become Hotel Executive Chefs, where the average income is $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 $6K more per year.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook

Head Chefs & Cooks note just a narrow range of job skills. Most notably, skills in Inventory Management, Menu Planning, Order Inventory, and Food Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like 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.
Head Chefs & Cooks do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $26K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $30K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Head Chefs & Cooks make a median salary of $31K. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Head Chefs & Cooks with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $34K.

Pay Difference By Location

Chicago
up arrow 36%
New York
up arrow 30%
Las Vegas
up arrow 21%
Austin
up arrow 8%
National Average
$29,000
St. Louis
up arrow 15%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Head Chefs & Cooks, working in the bustling city of Chicago has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Head Chefs & Cooks will also find cushy salaries in New York (+30 percent) and Las Vegas (+21 percent). With compensation 15 percent below the national average, St. Louis is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents 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%
Menu Planning
up arrow 3%
Order Inventory
up arrow 1%
National Average
$29,000
Food Preparation
up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 162 votes.

Gender

Female
34%
female alumni
 
Male
66%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
23%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
31%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 39% dental benefits Dental: 28%
vision benefits Vision: 20% employee benefits None: 59%