What is the Career Outlook for Chefs Working in California?

What is the Career Outlook for Chefs Working in California?

Mar 29, 2015 | 8:00 am

Working as a chef in California can be challenging, but extremely rewarding. Chefs in California have the opportunity to work with some of the best ingredients in some of the most discerning cities in the United States. Sophistication in dining is the norm for California chefs and because of that, chefs in that state must understand bold flavors and have the ability to deliver the best a kitchen has to offer.

The chef career outlook for California culinary artists is positive. This is partially due to the fact that the state is blessed with such a wide variety of cultures and diverse lifestyles. California is a cultural Mecca, beckoning great chefs and diners with discerning culinary tastes. The result is that anyone choosing to work as a chef in California should expect a long, lucrative career in a culinary specialty area of choice as long as they are willing to put in the time and effort to gain the necessary experience.

Chef Career Outlook for California Chefs

According to the website, Recruit.com, California currently has the most chefs of any state in the United States. The same website predicts an expected job growth for head chefs in the United States to increase by 2.48% over the next few years with over 17,980 new chef jobs added. Since California is already at the top of the list for chef jobs, the chef career outlook for that state is positive and should steadily increase.

Salary Expectations for California Chefs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the current median salary for chefs in the United States is $42,480 per year. For experienced California chefs, the average yearly salary varies from $63,000 for a restaurant chef to $89,000 for a corporate chef. Sous chefs in California should expect to earn $47,000 to $61,000.

It is easy to see why California-based chefs earn more than their peers in most parts of the country. This is because the quality of dining experience expected in California is much higher than some of the rural states in the U.S. Because of these high expectations, chefs are expected to perform at a higher level and with these high quality chefs come a higher pay range.

Educational Requirements

Culinary chefs in California or any other state should expect their salary and job outlook prospects to be directly tied in with their education, experience, and location. Most successful chefs receive their formal training through a respected culinary arts program, culinary school, or through mentoring from a more experienced chef. For that reason, there is no industry standard on educational requirements for chefs in California. However, most companies prefer a chef with a strong culinary background, including training from an accredited culinary arts program.


The culinary chef career outlook for chefs in California is promising overall. Salaries are higher for California chefs as well, partially because of the strong cultural and economic diversity that exists in that state. Chefs who decide to pursue a career in California should expect stiff competition, thorough training, long hours, hard work, and a lucrative career once the commitment has been made.