Head Chef/Cook Salary

Average Head Chefs & Cooks in the United States make around $12.08 per hour. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Head Chefs & Cooks who participated in the survey are largely men, dominating at 67 percent. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. Although roughly two-fifths have medical coverage and just under one in three have dental coverage, a majority claim no health benefits at all. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.

$23,496 - $52,819
(Median)
$23K
$36K
$53K
MEDIAN: $35,703
10%
50%
90%

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$9.03 - $17.33
(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
$23,496 - $52,819  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,071  
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).
)
$19,966 - $46,339  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 278
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
$9.03 - $17.33  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.85  
Overtime
$7.74 - $27.52  
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 - $2,071  
   
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).
)
$19,966 - $46,339  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 662

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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 it's uncommon, some Head Chefs & Cooks move into roles as Hotel Executive Chefs, where pay is an average $59K per year. Head Chefs & Cooks moving up in their careers tend to step into positions as Executive Chefs or Sous Chefs. The median paychecks in those roles are $24K higher and $6K higher, respectively.

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook


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 are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Food Preparation. Most people familiar with 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.


For Head Chefs & Cooks, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. 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. Head Chefs & Cooks with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $30K. Veterans who have acquired more than 20 years report a median income of $34K, which is generally higher than the pay reported by other tenure groups.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

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 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
24%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
32%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 39% dental benefits Dental: 28%
vision benefits Vision: 21% employee benefits None: 59%