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Chef Salary Information

Career News November 22, 2014

When deciding if a culinary career as a chef is the right decision, students must take into consideration the issue of a chef’s salary. Successful chefs earn great salaries, but that salary generally comes after several years of hard work, experience, and dedication. Executive Chefs aren’t made overnight. They are groomed through years of blood, sweat, and tears in the culinary trenches.

How Much Does an Executive Chef Earn?

The median salary for an Executive Chef is $69,410, according to Remember, this is for an Executive Chef or the top dog of the culinary world. Entry level chefs make nowhere near that kind of salary.

Most chefs start out as line cooks or pastry chefs and work their way up from that point. This could take years depending on where the chef works as well as other factors, such as technique, style, and palate development.

Job Description

One reason an Executive Chef earns almost double that of an entry-level chef is the amount of responsibility placed squarely on his or her shoulders. These chefs direct and oversee all kitchen operations, including menu development, inventory, and ensuring sanitary conditions at all times. In addition to those responsibilities, Executive Chefs are also the creative geniuses of their respective kitchens.

Executive Chefs earn a lot of their salary on the premise that they can create innovative, tasty dishes with innovative techniques. Creativity is a must. Executive Chefs without the ability to think outside the box will not hold a position at the top of their field for long.


In order to get that high Executive Chef salary, education in either a school setting or in an informal kitchen setting is crucial. Chefs at all levels have to possess a certain number of skills and food knowledge. Knife skills, ingredient recognition, palate development, flavor profile creation, and more, are all vital chef talents.

Whether a chef chooses to attend culinary school or the school of hard knocks at the back of a kitchen, a thirst for knowledge is important. Chefs must take every chance to learn techniques and better ways of preparing food. Those that fail to grasp this concept will never succeed as a chef or earn a lucrative salary as an Executive Chef.

The Right Choice?

Is a career as a chef the right choice? Chefs must be creative, innovative, hard working, dedicated, attentive, vocal, and unafraid to take criticism. In addition, chefs must be leaders. As a chef’s career advances, leadership is the key. Executive Chefs are vocal and hands-on leaders. Kitchen staff will look to their Executive Chef for direction and discipline.

If a potential chef wants a typical nine to five job, then it would be a good idea to reconsider career choices. Chefs work odd, long hours, and weekends are a must. It’s safe to say a chef has to be hardcore and unwavering in their pursuit of a successful career in order to effectively become the best chef they can and, in return, receive the best possible chef salary.

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