What's Could be the Average Salary for Different Chef Jobs?


In your career as a chef a wide variety of jobs will be open to you. What you can expect to earn covers a similarly broad range; an average salary for a chef varies tremendously according to job description and the industry sector in which he or she is employed. As a general rule, the average salary for a chef will be determined by three main factors:

  • Geographic location (with major metropolitan areas paying most)
  • Type of food services establishment (average salary being highest for the chef employed in a high-class, fine dining restaurant)
  • Job description; different chef jobs may entail different skills and responsibilities and therefore they may command a different average salary.

Different Chef Jobs and Average Salary Expectations

  • Executive Chef
    Coordinates staff, plans menus, and oversees all food preparation and cooking. With regard to average salary, the most recent figures published by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) give the median salary for an as Executive Chef approximately $50,000 (i.e. meaning that there were an equal number of salaries both higher and lower than this number).
  • Sous Chef
    Assists in planning and supervising the daily operations of the kitchen. NRA figures give the median salary for Sous Chef jobs as around $32,000 a year.
  • Pastry Chef
    Prepares desserts, puddings and cakes. Candidates for Pastry Chef jobs are usually expected to have specialist training and this is reflected in their average salary. The NRA gives the median salary for a Pastry Chef as around $31,000 per annum.

The salary figures given are approximate. Actual earnings are always strongly influenced by the type of establishment in which a chef is employed, its location, and the chef's qualifications, experience and expertise.


About the author
Jane Smallman runs a mountain guiding business with her husband. Her early training was in hotel management and she has worked in the hotel industry in France, Holland, the US and the UK. Following this she worked in an administrative capacity for a number of not-for-profit organizations in the UK, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Refugee Legal Centre. While doing this she earned a degree in Social Sciences through distance learning with the Open University. After graduation she progressed to the University of Sussex as a full-time student where she was awarded a Masters Degree in Social and Political Thought.