What is the Starting Salary for Chefs?

What is the Starting Salary for Chefs?

Apr 11, 2015 | 9:00 am

The chef starting salary that you usually hear is moderate and does not take into account what a chef should be making, or is going to make on average. Starting wages are essentially a test, just to see how well the relationship goes. When greater trust is established, and greater responsibilities can be added to your job description, you do have the potential to make more. The good news is that once you prove your skills and professionalism, you won’t be working by commission. You will earn money upfront as people begin to associate your name with the best quality dining.

Starting Salaries for Chefs

According to some sources such as Global Gourmet, the starting salary for a line cook is usually between $19,280 and $25,229. A cooking assistant earns slightly more, since presumably he or she understudies and experience private cook. This salary is between $23,096 and $28,862.

The chef starting salary depends on where you want to work, as well as what skills you bring to the restaurant. Granted, a lot of newcomers to the culinary arts are students and only have textbook knowledge, as well as natural cooking talent. Therefore, their prime concern should be learning the business side of cooking and gaining experience in working in a fast-paced kitchen environment.

Remember that there are plenty of hiring employers, but the jobs you can definitely qualify for are not always going to be the prestigious career goal you have in mind. For example, cooks can work in fast food restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, resorts, private restaurants, or even opening their own place. Logically speaking, resorts and hotels pay the most. However, as you gain experience you can earn more.

Chefs make averagely $43,870 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chefs can make even more money when they apply for theme parks ($53,300), travel jobs ($52,750), or scientific jobs ($65,350). According to a story in The Washington Post, some chefs make considerably more. One chef, who started his career roughly in the 1990s, had nothing but a car to his name, which he sold. However, sixteen years later, he built a reputation as an executive chef and is now making $140,000 per year plus a percentage of profits.

That sounds like a lofty career goal and it is one that you can achieve. What’s best to do now, during your training, is to seek out real world experience. This way, by the time you graduate, you will have built a strong resume starting out. Your beginning education may be just what you need to land that first entry-level job. Naturally, your cooking ability is ultimately what will sell you—whether as a line cook, or eventually as your own executive chef.

For more information on a chef starting salary and what employers tend to pay based on location, visit sites like Salary.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can also start looking for culinary schools right now and begin planning your exciting future.