What is the Average Salary of a Chef Living in California?

What is the Average Salary of a Chef Living in California?

Apr 9, 2015 | 12:00 pm

The average salary of a chef living in California is dependent upon quite a few things like city or area location, type of establishment, experience, and culinary education. Chefs in California are blessed with the opportunity to work in a state where culinary arts are revered and standards are high. This is good news for anyone wanting a career as a chef in California. For those chefs with the passion, commitment, and dedication to rise to the top of their game, working as a chef in California can be a very lucrative choice.

However, because California is filled with quality dining establishments and experienced chefs, there is usually fierce competition for culinary jobs. Chefs in California have to be the best they can be in order to succeed. In order to earn a decent wage, these chefs must be willing to work long and hot hours in fast-paced kitchens to gain the experience necessary to beat out their peers for the best paying jobs.

Average Salary from Line Cook to Executive Chef

The average yearly salary for an entry-level chef in California is between $30,305 and $45,457. After gaining some experience in the kitchen, a mid-level chef can expect to earn between $36,798 and $55,198. At the top of the game, executive chefs should expect an average salary between $43,292 and $64,938. California chefs typically earn more than chefs in several other states, but the cost of living in California is quite a bit higher (18% above the national average) as well.

Location, Location, Location

The average salary of a chef in California has a lot to do with the city or area where a chef works. An executive chef working in a large city such as Los Angeles or Burbank will earn an average salary of $73,127 yearly while a chef working in Fresno will earn an average of $67,984. Things like the socio-economic atmosphere of a location will play a part in the amount of salary a chef should expect as well. Cities with more economic hardship will generally pay less and have fewer customers with money to spend dining out than cities where the economy is thriving.

Work Environment

Another factor that plays a big part in determining the average salary of a chef in California is the type of work environment where he or she works. Chefs typically work in places like restaurants, hotels, casinos, and schools. It stands to reason that a chef working in a fine dining establishment will earn quite a bit more than a chef working in a school or fast food kitchen.


California is a fantastic state in which to embark on a career as a chef. There are numerous career opportunities and many ways that a chef can earn a decent wage. With the abundance of cultural diversities that make up the state of California, anyone choosing to work as a chef there should have no problem enjoying a satisfying career. Learn more about your career potential by contacting a college of your choice.