With roughly three-fifths of Head Chefs in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for Head Chefs is $44K per year and can range from $25K on the lower end to $61K per year near the higher end. Final cash compensation to Head Chefs varies from around $25K to approximately $61K; choice pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $12K and $15K, respectively. Geographic location and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Men account for the majority of Head Chefs who responded to the questionnaire — 83 percent to be exact. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. More than two-fifths report receiving medical coverage from their employers and approximately one-fourth collect dental insurance. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$29,835 - $65,442
(Median)
$30K
$44K
$65K
MEDIAN: $44,149
10%
50%
90%

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$9.96 - $20.33
(Median)
$10
$15
$20
MEDIAN: $14.00
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$22K$44K$66K
Salary
$29,835 - $65,442  
   
Bonus
$299.33 - $12,080  
Profit Sharing
$201.34 - $15,205  
Commission
$9,826  
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).
)
$25,015 - $61,329  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 545
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
$9.96 - $20.33  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.14  
Overtime
$14.84 - $31.08  
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
$299.33 - $12,080  
   
Commission
$9,826  
Profit Sharing
$201.34 - $15,205  
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).
)
$25,015 - $61,329  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 312
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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

  • 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


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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

National Average: $40,559

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that 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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Experience Affects Head Chef Salaries



National Average
$41,000



Skills That Affect Head Chef Salaries

Training
up arrow 34%

Inventory Management
up arrow 3%

chef
up arrow 3%

Operations Management
up arrow 2%

Order Inventory
up arrow 1%

People Management
up arrow 1%

Menu Planning
0%

National Average
$41,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 1%

Job Scheduling
up arrow 1%

Chef (Opscode)
up arrow 33%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 118 votes.

Gender

Female
17 %
Male
83 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
15%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
39%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 43%
dental benefits
Dental: 25%
medical benefits
Vision: 16%
dental benefits
None: 56%
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