For Head Chefs & Cooks, hourly average wages total $12.32 per hour. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Although more than half lack health benefits of any kind, over a third do enjoy medical insurance, and one in four get dental coverage, too. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Head Chefs & Cooks. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$20,416 - $58,798
(Median)
$20K
$35K
$59K
MEDIAN: $34,922
10%
50%
90%

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$8.89 - $17.07
(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$20K$40K$60K
Salary
$20,416 - $58,798  
   
Bonus
$98.63 - $10,256  
Profit Sharing
$3,800  
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).
)
$19,177 - $43,635  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 168
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
$8.89 - $17.07  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $2.68  
Overtime
$12.80 - $27.29  
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
$98.63 - $10,256  
   
Profit Sharing
$3,800  
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).
)
$19,177 - $43,635  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 629
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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. 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 $26K per year on average, and the latter position pays $8K more per year.

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Popular Skills for Head Chef/Cook


Survey results imply that Head Chefs & Cooks put a diverse skill set to use. Most notably, skills in Inventory Management, Team Leadership, Menu Planning, and Order Inventory are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 5 percent and 15 percent. Those listing cooking as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Customer Service and Training also typically command lower compensation. Those educated in Food Preparation tend to be well versed in Menu Planning.

Pay by Experience Level for Head Chef/Cook

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Head Chefs & Cooks — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $24K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $28K on average — a distinctly larger sum. On average, Head Chefs & Cooks make $30K following one to two decades on the job. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $31K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $27,984

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Professionals in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York — the three largest American cities — enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with compensation above the national average. Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Cleveland, 17 percent below the national average. Houston and Atlanta are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 12 percent lower and 2 percent lower, respectively.

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Experience Affects Head Chef/Cook Salaries




National Average
$28,000


Skills That Affect Head Chef/Cook Salaries

Inventory Management
up arrow 15%

Team Leadership
up arrow 6%


Order Inventory
up arrow 4%

National Average
$28,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 1%

Cook
up arrow 3%

Training
up arrow 11%

Customer Service
up arrow 15%

cooking
up arrow 26%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 127 votes.

Gender

Female
40 %
Male
60 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
22%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
35%
20 years or more
20%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 36%
dental benefits
Dental: 26%
medical benefits
Vision: 23%
dental benefits
None: 61%
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