How Much Money Do Chefs Make? It’s Probably Less Than You Think!

How Much Money Do Chefs Make?
How much money do chefs make?

How much do chefs make? The salary of an average chef’s position starts between $32,000 and $74,000 per year. It can go higher and depend on the chef’s ability, responsibilities, and roles within the kitchen.

The profession of a chef can open the doors to a myriad of diverse career opportunities in the food industry. While the location is an important part of the calculation of salary, other factors like the level of education and work experience influence every chef’s income.

What’s The Difference Between A Cook and A Chef?

To comprehend the amount that chefs earn, one must be aware of the hierarchy of an efficient kitchen. There are many who identify themselves as cooks. However, the term “cook” can be used interchangeably for a variety of roles within kitchens. It’s a broad term that must be understood.

A cook is an entry to mid-level kitchen worker. They follow the exact instructions and stay away from the recipes they call for. It is common to see a distinction among cooks based on the function they perform at the table.

It usually starts in the middle, starting with the prep cook, and moves up to the salad station, fry cook, and then onto more difficult tasks like grilling or fishing. Cooks may also be able to develop into an experienced chefs once they have gained experience and are more committed to their profession.

A chef is a more senior kitchen worker who is accountable for various areas. This might include overseeing employees and arranging workspaces across the kitchen. They’ll assist in preparing menus, creating new recipes, and playing with the ingredients and recipes. The people who have earned the title of chef have been working in the world of food for a number of years.

It is important to be aware that there are different kinds of chefs. Every type of chef has different tasks in the kitchen and has various earning possibilities. We will go over each type of chef in more detail in the following paragraphs.

While it’s not required, however, the majority of people who are looking to move to the next level in the food industry should have some sort of formal education to develop basic abilities at the table, but formal education is not compulsory. People who possess formal education will be able to access an increased number of career opportunities and could also benefit from higher earnings potential.

Chef Salary By Title

The industry of culinary isn’t any different in terms of making a living. You’ll start out in this field as a cook as it is the first title which is awarded to workers working in kitchens. It is necessary to move to the top of the ladder, and every title you earn will increase your earnings.

Managerial Chefs

Managerial chef positions are accountable for the kitchen’s operation and are responsible for the overall performance that the establishment. There is a hierarchy within the kitchen to ensure that the cooking of food is effective and with an accurate knowledge of the hierarchy of command in the kitchen.

Executive Chef

An executive chef oversees the kitchen’s activities. They typically work between 20% to 60% per day in the kitchen. However, they are an integral component of ensuring that the kitchen is running smoothly.

Executive chefs are responsible for hiring, hiring, and food expenses, as well as purchasing the overall operation of the kitchen. In the course of service, they test food items, prepare model menus for staff members, and frequently are responsible for “the pass,” where the food is taken out of the kitchen and served to customers to ensure presentation quality and timing.

If the Executive Chef is not on the pass, it usually passes down the chain of command of the kitchen’s hierarchy.

The average US salary for an executive chef is around $75,000 per year.

Chef de Cuisine

A chef de cuisine is different from executive chefs due to the sense that they concentrate on the oversight of the production of food and will have fewer administrative duties. They share many of the same duties, such as hiring and training staff members, overseeing food preparation, and the final plating.

Executive chefs have the majority of the administrative function and are responsible for the entire food service company. Chefs de cuisine is more hands-on when it comes to the preparation and cooking of meals. Like any other chef, it will require years of experience to earn the position of chef de cuisine.

The average US salary for a chef de cuisine position is around $69,500 per year.

Head Chef

Head Chef in some kitchens can be similar to the executive chef. The primary function of a head chef is to supervise every aspect of kitchen activities, manage the inventory, place orders for supplies, and would tend to be held responsible for training new chefs below their rank.

The average US salary for a head chef position is around $49,907 annually.

Sous Chef

In many kitchens, a sous chef is the second-highest-ranking employee in the kitchen. They report to the head or executive chef. The sous chef is responsible for completing orders and supporting the vision of the restaurant.

They will communicate directly with chefs and will ensure that they have all the ingredients required to cook meals. Sous chefs make more complex decisions than executive chefs.

The average US salary for a sous chef position is around $48,600 annually.

What Is The Important Factor That Affects A Chef’s Salary?

There are a variety of things to think about when you are determining the wage of any chef. The primary variables are:

  • Location
  • Workplace
  • Education
  • Experience
  • The size of the venue
  • Daily responsibilities


As we’ve already mentioned it is the location that will be important when it comes to determining how the chef’s salary will be. Certain cities might have higher salaries than other cities within similar states. Metro areas that are crowded often pay chefs a higher wage due to the volume of people the city might see on a daily basis.


Chefs are needed in a range of different dining settings, in addition to restaurants. Event chefs and private chefs, hotel and resort chefs, and chef instructors are all examples of places where chefs may work outside of a traditional restaurant.

The most lucrative places for chefs are luxurious resorts and fine dining establishments, performing arts businesses as well as private chefs for families or an individual.


Once you’ve earned your graduation certificate from a high school, you are able to learn the necessary skills to be a chef by undergoing on-the-job training for cooks or on the rapid route and enrolling in a culinary school.

A reputable culinary school will provide formal education, certificates as well as apprenticeships that can help enhance your resume and gain experience.

The possession of a certificate in culinary arts, as well as participating in similar opportunities such as the apprenticeship, is an excellent opportunity to boost your chances of earning a higher wage.


If you’re a professional chef, you’ll have the chance to earn additional money over time as your profession develops. As they progress in their careers chefs acquire experiences in the kitchen and gain experience managing various kitchen stations as well as various responsibilities outside of cooking, like managing the purchasing process and managing the team.

The promotion to chef de cuisine, sous chef de culinary, or executive chef will lead to larger pay raises with respect to your skillsets experience.

The Size Of Venue

Generally speaking, establishments that serve a lot of customers, offer a high price per client, or provide different services to generate income (casinos as well as resorts) may give their employees more enticing pay due to the stress and responsibility that comes along with it.

You can often find that chefs will receive less money at Michelin star restaurants and hotels as they work for the prestige of working there and improves their CV.

Daily Responsibilities

Experience is a huge factor in the world of culinary. The more responsibility chefs have and the more experience they have, the better pay they can qualify to receive.

The duties of a chef will differ based on the location they are employed as well as their level of experience and their level of education.

Trends in Job Growth

Today there are many chefs who are opting to venture outside of the traditional restaurant industry. There are some who are considering the market for private chefs, in which the average annual wage is a minimum of $10,000 higher than the salary of a restaurant chef.

Other avenues that have lucrative pay include the casino industry, the corporate world, and hotels. Chefs who are employed in these areas earn a median salary ranging from $9,000 to $12,000 more than that of restaurants.

New restaurants are looking for skilled chefs to be their future as they transition to an emphasis on premium gourmet, high-end, and nutritious food items. With premium menu items, chefs can anticipate higher levels of competition and more lucrative job opportunities.

A Chefs Job

A chef’s job is quite different from the typical office job that is 9 to 5 in the morning. Working in the kitchen can mean long and often unruly work hours. It also involves a variety of personalities and many physical demands. However, a job as a chef is filled with creativity, flexibility, enthusiasm, passion, and freedom.

Here are a few advantages to working in the culinary field that you’ll not be able to see on your monthly paycheck:


A chef’s cooking is an amazing way to express yourself that you are able to share with other people. It is possible to create innovative recipes, test ingredients, and even design your own restaurant. Culinary arts can be a wonderful method to show off your creativity through food.

Collaborate With Talented Chefs

It’s a fantastic method to connect with enthusiastic, creative, and like-minded individuals. There are many extremely talented people and you’ll be able to collaborate with them each day at the cooking table.

Freelance Chef

If you’re looking for a more time slot that is flexible, the culinary arts could provide you with that. There is always a chance for chefs who are talented to learn new techniques and to work in various locations. If you’re an independent person who appreciates flexibility, a professional kitchen has a lot of potential.

Restaurants are always in search of competent chefs and cooks. There are numerous career opportunities in the event that you’re willing to master new skills or relocate to a new area, or just an opportunity to change your routine. Consider the possibility of becoming a private chef for more freedom.

Being a chef requires many years of work and experience. It is necessary to work for long hours and be enthusiastic about cooking to be successful in this field. The entry-level kitchen jobs are extremely low wages, so you should be aware that this profession offers many possibilities, however, you’ll be required to work hard to earn these opportunities.

If you’re interested in cooking, but are not afraid to do the effort, and are looking to join a growing industry that is populated by creative chefs, culinary arts could be a lucrative and lasting job.

Interesting Facts & Questions

How Do Chefs Become Rich?

Chefs can definitely become rich or financially free, but that depends on your own willingness to work hard and sacrifice a part of your personal life due to long unsociable working hours. Most chefs I have known to become very successful and rich opened their own restaurant, one actually is now on The Food Network channel!

Another interesting fact is how Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood became rich TV chef celebrities after starting their careers in the kitchen.

Is A Chef A Good Career?

Climbing through the ranks in the kitchen is difficult, but it can be rewarding if you find the right restaurant or hotel to work in. Once you gain experience, you will eventually be handed new responsibilities and extra pay – but it’s no easy paycheck, you have to work damn hard for your money and tips!

Is A Chefs Job Stressful?

Yes, cooking for a living is very stressful with long hours, average pay, and a slow process in promotions. It’s definitely an industry for the strong-willed, from my personal experience.

Can I Become A Chef At 30 Years Old?

I knew tonnes of guys and girls coming into the industry around 30 years old, it’s a very difficult career choice but rewarding if you like organized chaos. It’s harder as you get older due to being on your feet, stress, and disorder throughout a busy service. Since it’s a huge industry, there is more than one way to succeed financially and personally.

Questions From The US

Can you make good money as a chef in the US?

At $52,160 per year, wages for chefs and head cooks reached an all-time high, surpassing the average national wage. Wage growth and remuneration in general is not even across the US. Chefs are paid substantially more in some states than in other.

What is the highest paid chef position in the US?

A head chef oversees the kitchen of a restaurant or other dining facility. They are the top of the chef chain-of-command in most establishments; larger restaurants have an executive chef above the head chef.

How much does a top chef make a year in the US?

The salaries of Top Chefs in the US range from $11,844 to $317,332 , with a median salary of $57,080 . The middle 57% of Top Chefs makes between $57,080 and $143,427, with the top 86% making $317,332.

How much are chefs paid in Texas?

The average salary for a chef is $15.80 per hour in Texas. 593 salaries reported, updated at July 21, 2022.

Questions From The UK

What is the highest paid chef position in the UK?

A head chef oversees the kitchen of a restaurant or other dining facility. They are the top of the chef chain-of-command in most establishments; larger restaurants have an executive chef above the head chef.

How much a chef earns in the UK?

Typical starting salaries for commis chefs are between £12,000 and £16,000. More experienced chefs, such as sous chefs, earn between £20,000 and £30,000. Head chefs can expect higher salaries of £25,000 to £55,000+.

How much do top chefs earn in the UK?

A Head Chef in the UK earns an average of £32,400 gross per year, which is about £2,130 net per month. The starting salary of a Head Chef in the UK is around £24,300 gross per year. The highest salary of a Head Chef in the UK can reach and exceed £150,000 gross per year.

How much is a chef paid per hour in the UK?

The average chef’s salary in the United Kingdom is £25,124 per year or £12.88 per hour. Entry level positions start at £22,415 per year, while most experienced workers make up to £35,000 per year.

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Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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