Chef Salary Survey |

Chef Salary Survey

Most of us get into this profession for love not money. And according to a new study from the American Culinary Federation, that is probably a good thing. The study found that of all the chefs who responded, restaurant chefs were paid the least.

On average, line cooks make reported making a whopping $23,000 a year; sous chefs take home around $38,000. And things are not that much richer at the top: Male executive chefs earned on average $71,000 average. (With 80% working more than 41 hours per week and 23% working over 60 hours a week)

There was also a significant gender disparity — female executive chefs annually earn $52,000 on average, a $19,000 difference when compared to their male counterparts. And life is not sweeter in the pastry kitchen — pastry chefs had a median total compensation of $40,000, while bakers earned a median $24,282.

Other areas of the culinary industry reported paying more. Culinary educators have an average salary of $65,415, health care workers take in an average of $63,994, and chefs at private clubs averaged $83,753. The best paid job according to the survey? Research chef where the median pay is $100,000.

The good news? There is relatively low unemployment in the kitchen. Only 3% of respondents were both out of work and actively seeking work, compared to 8.3% of the general population.


rhayes001 • 02/29/2012
Can you please provide a link to the survey data? Thanks
lmclaughlin • 02/29/2012
The full data is only available to ACF members but a summary can be found here:
wberiau1 • 02/29/2012
I believe that our industry is almost bullet proof. No matter what, people need food, well prepared, efficiently prepared, nutritious and tasty. We can do that. If a person is talented, ambitious, motivated and caring, there is a job out there to be had. It may not be exactly what we want at the time, but patience pays off and eventually through perservence, we usually end up with what we want. I also believe, the salary ranges are very radical in the industry because of location, demographics, and demand. Very enlightening article. thanks, Will
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