Head Chef/Cook Salary

For Head Chefs & Cooks, hourly average wages total $12.05 per hour. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. There are more male Head Chefs & Cooks than female among those who completed the questionnaire, making up 65 percent. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — the larger part lack coverage. On the flip side, two in five have medical insurance and slightly less than a third receive dental plans. For the most part, Head Chefs & Cooks enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$23,669 - $53,840
(Median)
$24K
$36K
$54K
MEDIAN: $36,178
10%
50%
90%

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$8.96 - $17.19
(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
$23,669 - $53,840  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,044  
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).
)
$19,857 - $46,754  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 262
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 - $17.19  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $3.72  
Overtime
$7.43 - $27.23  
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 - $2,044  
   
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).
)
$19,857 - $46,754  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 655
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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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While not commonly seen, Head Chefs & Cooks who transition into a Hotel Executive Chef position may see a rise in pay. The median salary for Hotel Executive Chefs 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 $24K per year on average, and the latter position pays $6K more per year.

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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, 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. 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.


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $26K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $30K on average — a distinctly larger sum. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $30K in this role. Survey participants who have spent more than 20 years on the job report a predictably higher median income of $33K, demonstrating that compensation is roughly commensurate with experience in the end.

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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 3%

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
22%

Common Health Benefits

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