Head Chef Salary
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.Read More...
Some employers prefer that their head chefs have completed culinary education, though this is not a strict requirement, as other employers prioritize the actual ability to cook food. Head chefs may also have inventory and purchasing duties and work within budgets, so it is important to be able to maintain the best-quality food while staying within them. Managing employees and ensuring that they are working efficiently is also a common part of the job.
Prior to being hired, head chefs should have a health safety certification, and many years of prior experience may be necessary to reach this position. Working hours vary greatly, as these chefs may have to work longer hours when the business is busy, and many jobs require working nights or weekends as such.
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
Many Head Chefs move into an Executive Chef role, and folks who currently hold that position report a much higher median income of $54K per year. Given that the median pay is $31K, it may be surprising to find that a Head Chef & Cook is the most common role for Head Chefs to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into an Executive Sous Chef role — which pays $47K — is also typical for Head Chefs, though less common by comparison.
Head Chef Job Listings
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Popular Skills for Head Chef
Head Chefs report using a wide range of professional skills. Fortunate workers who know Training command much higher paychecks, scoring salaries 34 percent above average. Chef, on the other hand, is typically associated with much lower pay. Most people experienced in Food Preparation also know 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, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $35K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $40K. For Head Chefs, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $42K. Head Chefs with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $43K.
Pay Difference by Location
Above-average salaries for Head Chefs can be found in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, the three largest cities in the United States. The smallest paychecks in the market, 19 percent south of the national average, can be found in Rochester. Below-median salaries also turn up in Sacramento and Miami (14 percent lower and 9 percent lower, respectively).
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Key Stats for Head Chef
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