With roughly three-fifths of Head Chefs in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience in the field, this area is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Pay ranges from $25K to $61K per year and averages out to $43K per year. Geography and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. More than two-fifths report receiving medical coverage from their employers and one in four collect dental insurance. For the most part, Head Chefs enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Men make up the vast majority of Head Chefs (84 percent) who took the survey. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$29,794 - $65,465
$30K
$43K
$65K
MEDIAN: $43,459
10%
50%
90%

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$10.03 - $20.25
$10
$15
$20
MEDIAN: $14.99
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$22K$44K$66K
Salary
$29,794 - $65,465  
   
Bonus
$294.41 - $10,234  
Profit Sharing
$2,000  
Commission
$6,500  
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).
)
$25,260 - $61,133  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 578
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$11$22$33
Hourly Rate
$10.03 - $20.25  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.17  
Overtime
$13.64 - $31.81  
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$22K$44K$66K
Bonus
$294.41 - $10,234  
   
Commission
$6,500  
Profit Sharing
$2,000  
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).
)
$25,260 - $61,133  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 323

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United States (change)

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Job Description for Head Chef

Head chefs work in restaurants, cafeterias, catering companies, bakeries, and many other other places which serve food. These chefs are generally expected to specialize in the particular cuisines served by their employers in order to prepare and cook food, often with the help of other chefs, and present it in an attractive manner. In some positions, head chefs may also be responsible for creating and modifying the menu or setting prices for selections.

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Head Chef Tasks

  • Manage kitchen operation including food purchases and preparation, record keeping, quality standards, and sanitation.
  • Train employees in cooking methods, plate presentations, portions, and cost control.

Common Career Paths for Head Chef


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Head Chefs might see a strong upturn in salary after transitioning into upper-level roles such as Executive Chef, a seemingly popular career choice. People currently working in the latter position report a noticeably higher median income of $54K per year. A Head Chef & Cook role is the most prevalent career advancement for Head Chefs. Paychecks for that role are $31K on average. The Executive Sous Chef position is another common transition for Head Chefs; in this role, salaries are typically at the $47K mark.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef


Head Chefs report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Training and chef are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 35 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include cooking and Chef. Most people skilled in Food Preparation are similarly competent in People Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Head Chef

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


For Head Chefs, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $36K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $39K on average — a distinctly larger sum. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $42K. 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 $43K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,377

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

Top-shelf salaries can be found in the three largest American cities: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago all offer compensation that exceeds the national average in this field. Head Chefs in Miami take home the lowest salaries, earning a whopping 21 percent less than the national average. Employers in Rochester and Sacramento also lean toward paying below-median salaries (19 percent lower and 14 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Head Chef

Gender

Female
16 %
Male
84 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 120 votes.
038
Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
14%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
39%
20 years or more
22%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Head Chef Salaries



National Average
$40,000



Skills That Affect Head Chef Salaries

Training
up arrow 35%

chef
up arrow 3%

Operations Management
up arrow 3%




Inventory Management
0%

Job Scheduling
0%

National Average
$40,000


Chef (Opscode)
up arrow 5%

cooking
up arrow 12%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 120 votes.

Gender

Female
16 %
Male
84 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
14%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
39%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 42%
dental benefits
Dental: 24%
vision benefits
Vision: 17%
dental benefits
None: 57%
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