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What Is the Average Salary for Chefs?

Career News December 23, 2014

Becoming a chef is a challenging, but rewarding endeavor and one filled with numerous opportunities to excel. The ability to create tasty works of art on a regular basis draws countless men and women to pursue a career as a chef. However, one of the greatest questions asked by someone considering a career in the culinary arts is about the amount of salary a chef can earn.

The average chef salary generally depends on the type of work being done, the location where the chef chooses to work, the job title of the chef, and the level of experience. Salaries vary from $25,000 for entry level Sushi Chefs to $35,000 for Sous Chefs, Assistant Chefs, and entry level Pastry Chefs.

The higher salary in Chef occupational choices belongs to Executive Chefs, experienced Sushi Chefs, and experienced Pastry Chefs. These chefs make between $51,000 (Pastry Chefs) to $85,000 (Executive Chefs).

Chef Specialties

Sushi Chefs have to be trained in Japanese cuisine arts and be ever aware of safety concerns when dealing with raw fish as a main course. Pastry Chefs need a degree from a culinary institute and up to four years of experience in a kitchen setting. Sous Chefs are basically the right hand of Executive Chefs and are expected to run the kitchen in the absence of an Executive Chef.

Assistant Chefs work with Executive Chefs to prepare menus and create dishes as well as managing other kitchen staff. Executive Chefs are the top dogs of the culinary world. These chefs oversee the entire kitchen, including menu preparation, staff issues, creation of new dishes, and more.


Location is another huge factor in regards to average salaries for chefs. Areas where fine dining and high end restaurants are more prevalent will give chefs a better chance of earning a more lucrative salary.

Work for It

Of course, one of the most important factors in determining a future chef’s potential salary is the amount of hard work he or she is willing to provide along the way. A career as a chef is one in which a person can start at the very bottom in a small kitchen and eventually become an Executive Chef in a multi-million dollar facility. Patience, perseverance, and dedication have led many past chefs down that very road.

Experience Level

Experience is also a vital component for a chef’s career. Salary ranges rely heavily on the amount of experience a chef has, and chefs with more experience will always be able to use that fact to their advantage when seeking a new job.


When choosing a career path, potential chefs need to consider the level of education and training involved in each specialty. Anyone considering a career as a chef should consider enrolling in a reputable culinary institute. The training and education provided by taking the time to gain a degree in culinary arts will go a long way toward advancing future career prospects.

This is a profession that will reward perseverance, natural talent, and, of course, an enthusiasm for cooking.

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