Salary for Chefs and Head Cooks

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 talent cluster and get scouted 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 receive an average compensation between 32000 to 48000 depending on the level of seniority. Chefs and Head Cooks can earn wages of Forty Four Thousand Five Hundred dollars each year.

Chefs and Head Cooks can get the best pay in New Jersey, where they earn salary pay of just about $59120. They receive the highest compensation in Public Administration, where they can receive an average salary rate of $60230.

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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 30.01 percent nationwide in that time.


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

Finance and Insurance
Public Administration
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
Wholesale Trade
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

In general, they earn less within the industries below:

Retail Trade
Administrative, Support and Waste Management Services
Accommodation and Food Services
Educational Services
Health Care and Social Assistance