Head Chef/Cook Salary (United States)

Pay for Head Chefs in the United States is typically around $12.22 per hour. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Most workers in this profession enjoy health benefits; medical and dental coverage is claimed by 40 percent, and 20 percent earn vision coverage. Most Head Chefs report high levels of job satisfaction. This outline is based on answers to PayScale's 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.
)
$23,937 - $53,308
(Median)
24K
29K
36K
44K
53K
MEDIAN: $36,278
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 - $17.34
(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
$23,937 - $53,308  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,029  
Profit Sharing
$500 - $4,000  
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).
)
$20,065 - $46,878  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 331
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
$8.91 - $17.34  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.76  
Overtime
$8.79 - $27.41  
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 - $3,029  
   
Profit Sharing
$500 - $4,000  
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).
)
$20,065 - $46,878  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 741
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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 who assume a position such as an Executive Hotel Chef—while uncommon—may get paid an extra $30K per year. The most common next step for Head Chefs is moving into roles as Executive Chefs or Sous Chefs, where they can expect an extra $23K or $5,465 per year.

Head Chef/Cook Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook

Survey takers who work as Head Chefs report a focused set of job skills. Inventory Management is considered a valuable skill and can increase employee pay by 9 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Food Preparation. Those proficient in Food Preparation are, more often than not, 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.
Head Chefs do not generally earn higher salaries from more experience in the field—in most many but not all cases, experience is not a driving force behind pay increase. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $26K; however, pay rises to approximately $30K after five to 10 years. Compensation is $31K after 10 to 20 years. Wages do not stop growing after 20 years on the job but they do accelerate at a slower rate, and Head Chefs tend to earn $35K at this point in time. The majority of Head Chefs have only one to 10 years of practice in the field. Workers with 10 to 20 years make up the second biggest group followed by those with more than 20 years under their belt.

Pay Difference By Location

New York
up arrow 23%
Las Vegas
up arrow 21%
Chicago
up arrow 20%
Austin
up arrow 17%
National Average
$29,000
St. Louis
up arrow 15%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For those looking to make money, Head Chefs in New York enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 23 percent above the national average. Head Chefs will also find cushy salaries in Las Vegas (+21 percent) and Chicago (+20 percent). St. Louis is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 15 percent.

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Head Chef/Cook Salaries

National Average
$29,000

Skills That Affect Head Chef/Cook Salaries

Inventory Management
up arrow 9%
National Average
$29,000
Order Inventory
up arrow 1%
Menu Planning
up arrow 2%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 163 votes.

Gender

Female
33%
female alumni
 
Male
67%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
23%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
32%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 40% dental benefits Dental: 29%
vision benefits Vision: 20% employee benefits None: 58%
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