Salary for Chefs and Head Cooks

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Also known as:  Banquet Chef, Chef De Cuisine, Chef De Froid, Executive Chef, Head Chef, Kitchen Chef, Master Chef, Pastry Chef, Sous Chef, Sushi Chef helps find better paying jobs across all specialties and locations. Sign up in our career community today!

Chefs and head cooks are charged with the responsibility of managing, directing and participating in primary kitchen activities necessary to restaurants or personal residences. These responsibilities include preparing and pricing menus and menu items, ensuring food products used in meals meet safety standards, supervise kitchen cooks and aides in preparation techniques and finalizing food displays for those dining at the establishment. These individuals have a clear understanding of budgets as they are often required to order needed supplies within a set financial bracket. They collaborate well with other chefs and head cooks to create new and innovative menus and meals. An associate's degree or related vocational training degree is required for employment in this professional post.

A Chef or Head Cook can expect a wage between $30,300 to $90,790 based on seniority. will most likely receive an average compensation of fifty-eight thousand seven hundred and fourty dollars per year.

can receive the highest pay in New Jersey, where they can earn an average job salary of about $83,700. Employees who work in this job make the greatest compensation in Transportation and Warehousing, where they can receive wages of $72,320.

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The national wage distribution is shown below. To overlay local salaries for a Chef or Head Cook, please select your state.
Annual salary
Hourly rate
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The annual compensation for this career has gone up since 2004. Salaries have increased by an average of 71.37 percent nationwide in that time.


Chefs and Head Cooks tend to make the most in the following industries:

Transportation and Warehousing
Public Administration
Management of Companies and Enterprises
Administrative, Support and Waste Management Services

In general, they earn less within the industries below:

Retail Trade
Health Care and Social Assistance
Educational Services
Accommodation and Food Services
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing