Head Chef/Cook Salary

The average Head Chef & Cook in the United States earns approximately $12.14 per hour. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Some workers in this field — the greater part — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by about two-fifths and dental plans are enjoyed by slightly less than a third. Head Chefs & Cooks who participated in the survey are largely men, dominating at 66 percent. Job satisfaction for Head Chefs & Cooks is high. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.

$22,924 - $54,182
(Median)
$23K
$36K
$54K
MEDIAN: $35,744
10%
50%
90%

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$8.91 - $17.25
(Median)
$8
$12
$17
MEDIAN: $12.00
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$19K$38K$57K
Salary
$22,924 - $54,182  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,469  
Profit Sharing
$1,500  
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).
)
$19,672 - $47,528  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 269
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$10$20$30
Hourly Rate
$8.91 - $17.25  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $3.55  
Overtime
$7.11 - $28.87  
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$20K$40K$60K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,469  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,500  
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).
)
$19,672 - $47,528  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 707
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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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It's not very common for Head Chefs & Cooks to move on to become Hotel Executive Chefs. Average pay for a Hotel Executive Chef is $60K annually. Head Chefs & Cooks typically move into roles as Executive Chefs or Sous Chefs, and those positions pay $25K more and $7K more, respectively.

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook


Survey results show that Head Chefs & Cooks use a fair number of skills. Most notably, skills in Inventory Management, Cook, Menu Planning, and Order Inventory are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 3 percent and 12 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Food Preparation. Most people experienced in 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.


Head Chefs & Cooks do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $26K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $30K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Head Chefs & Cooks make a median salary of $30K. Head Chefs & Cooks who have acquired more than two decades of experience generally do see greater compensation; their average income is approximately $31K.

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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%

Cook
up arrow 5%

Menu Planning
up arrow 3%

Order Inventory
0%

National Average
$29,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 188 votes.

Gender

Female
34 %
Male
66 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
22%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
33%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 39%
dental benefits
Dental: 28%
medical benefits
Vision: 23%
dental benefits
None: 59%
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