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How Much Do Chefs Make?

Updated on January 28, 2014

Are you hungry for money? One good way to solve both your hunger and need for money is to become a chef! If you are already an excellent cook with a passion for food, you are surely on your way to exchanging your awesome skills for some cash.

How much do chefs make?
How much do chefs make? | Source

What Do Chefs Do?

Although going to school for culinary arts is not a necessity in this field, having that expensive piece of paper will help you to get one over on your competition, and help you to have a better salary once you do secure a job.

Chefs are not just a cook in the back; they are in charge of the kitchen and ensuring the operation is running smoothly and in accordance with local health codes. It’s a big responsibility but this is reflected in the salary.

You may be asking yourself “how much do chefs make?” There are many different types of chefs, and if one specific type doesn't suit you well, another one might. So, how much do chefs make? Find out below and try on these different chef hats to find your fit:


What type of chef would you most like to be?

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What Type of Chefs are There?

Below are some descriptions of different types of chefs, and their estimated salaries.

  • Executive Chef ($33,000-$103,000): This is the head chef of the kitchen who is really in charge. Executive chefs do not normally cook, but rather act as a drill sergeant for the cooks in the kitchen during the busy times and working the back office during the slower times. The salary range shows a hotel executive chef on the higher end, and an executive sous chef on the lower end of the pay scale.
  • Sous Chef ($24,000-$49,000): Sous chefs are directly in charge of cooking and expediting orders, and may also fill in if there is a shortage of white-hatters in the kitchen. Also known as a second chef, they are the “left-hand man” to the executive chef.

  • Pastry Chef ($20,000-$50,000): If you enjoy making delicious, sweet creations, then this one is for you. The pastry chef makes all of the sweet treats and often finishes this task in the earlier hours of the day. Other duties may include supervising other staff members and keeping inventory of the ingredients used in their recipes.
  • Sushi Chef ($20,000-$45,000): If you like the smell of fish, or can at least tolerate it, and have a love for fish, this hat might fit you well. Making those slimy little sea creatures look good enough to eat --raw-- takes a lot of patience and talent, but there is a person for every job, right?
  • Pizza Chef ($15,000-$27,000): Okay, this one is typically found at the bottom of a chef’s resume but everyone has to start somewhere, even at that chain pizza parlor. This is not only a good way to start building your experience in the food industry, but a great way to get your feet wet and “test drive” working in a commercial kitchen setting. The best part is, everyone loves pizza!


How Much do Chefs Make?

How much do chefs make?

It is important to note that the overall average salary for a chef is closer to the $30,000-$40,000 range.

Salaries are contingent on your experience, qualifications, and work ethic. You could try to make the big league like Wolfgang Puck but you are up against some tough competition, the best of the best.

Even if you don’t make a ton of money being a chef, your passion for food and love for making it pretty should make the job enjoyable enough for you to stay in it for the long haul. There is a lot of opportunity in the food industry to move up, you just have to want it enough, and be able to embrace changes in jobs once in a while.

Although the doors of restaurants and hotels are forever revolving, staying busy is good. Being a chef can be a very, very stressful job, but tell yourself that it is job stability. You will have your slow times and you will have times when you are just completely slammed and cannot even catch a bathroom break.

On the upside, at least you will never starve!

How to Become a Chef


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    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 3 years ago from India

      Nice to see so much info about the chefs. Thank you for the same :)