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Top 10 Chef Jobs – April 2024 Salaries

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We’ve curated a list of the top 10 Chef roles in the United States, including details on salaries, qualifications and benefits, in anticipation of the launch of the OysterLink Jobs platform in September 2024.

Best Chef Jobs in the US (Hiring Now!)

The demand for Chefs in the United States is projected to grow by 5% from 2022 to 2032. This exceeds the average growth rate for all other professions (3%).

Chef Job Growth vs Other Roles

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), one contributing factor to this job growth is the increasing demand for healthier dishes made from scratch.

In addition, there has been a rising interest in new dining experiences among Americans, leading to increased demand for skilled Chefs who can deliver unique and healthy dishes.

To assist you in your job search, here are the top 10 highest-paying Chef positions in the United States.

1. A. Marshall Hospitality  | $65,000–$69,000 per year

A. Marshall's logo

  [Source: A. Marshall Hospitality]

  • Position: Chef
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • About: A. Marshall Hospitality is a family-owned company specializing in event planning. They offer catering services under their various brands and provide event spaces for all types of occasions.
  • Requirements: A minimum of three years of experience in different kitchen positions including Line Cook, Fry Cook and Food Preparation; must be 21 years old or older
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Paid parental leave, disability insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, paid time off, vision insurance
  • Where to apply: Visit A. Marshall’s Career page

2. Cattlemens | $70,000–$80,000 per year

Cattlemen's logo

  [Source: Cattlemens]

  • Position: Chef
  • Location: Dixon, CA
  • About: Cattlemens is a family-owned steakhouse that serves hand-cut, Harris Ranch beef aged on the premises.
  • Requirements: A minimum of two years of experience as a Prep Cook
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Disability insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, 401(k), tuition reimbursement, paid time off
  • Where to apply: Visit Cattlemens’ Career page

3. Chicken Ranch Casino | $80,000 per year

Chicken Ranch's logo

  [Source: Chicken Ranch Casino]

  • Position: Chef
  • Location: Jamestown, CA
  • About: Chicken Ranch Casino is a 24-hour gaming destination for those aged 18 and over, offering over 600 machines. It’s an hour away from the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park.
  • Requirements: Must have more than five years of experience in cooking in a professional kitchen; must be at least 21 years old; have a high school diploma or GED
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Health insurance, dental and insurance plans, life insurance, 401(k), paid time off, tuition reimbursement, employee assistance program
  • Where to apply: Visit Chicken Ranch Casino’s Career page

Are Chef salaries keeping up with living costs in your area?

4. Centro Mexican | $75,000–$80,000 per year

Centro's logo

  [Source: Centro Mexican]

  • Position: Chef de Cuisine
  • Location: Boulder, CO
  • About: Centro Mexican offers a menu that blends Mexican cuisine with modern Colorado flair. The restaurant is known for its lively bar and refreshing cocktails that perfectly complement its food.
  • Requirements: A minimum of two years of experience as a Chef
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Paid time off, annual profit share, medical insurance, dental insurance, 401(k)
  • Where to apply: Visit Centro Mexican’s Career page

5. Esters Wine Shop and Bar | $85,000–$95,000 per year

Esters' logo

[Source: Esters Wine Shop and Bar]

  • Position: Chef
  • Location: Santa Monica, CA
  • About: Esters is an intimate wine shop and bar that offers a variety of seasonally inspired small plates, meat and cheeses. They showcase artisanal beers, cocktails and wines from smaller producers.
  • Requirements: Must have a California Food Handlers card; able to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: 401(k), paid time off, annual wellness stipend, dining discounts, fully covered healthcare
  • Where to apply: Visit Esters Wine Shop and Bar’s Career page

6. Herb N’ Kitchen | $60,900–$77,100 per year

Herb n Kitchen's logo

[Source: Herb N’ Kitchen]

  • Position: Chef
  • Location: Dedham, MA
  • About: Herb N’ Kitchen, a restaurant under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts Group, provides guests with a selection of seasonal soups, salads, artisanal sandwiches and pizzas, alongside regional specialties.
  • Requirements: A minimum of 2 years of experience in a similar role; ability to relocate to Dedham before starting work
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, 401(k), paid time off, employee discount
  • Where to apply: Visit Herb N’ Kitchen’s Career page

7. Buca di Beppo | $65,000–$70,000 per year

Buca's logo

[Source: Buca di Beppo]

  • Position: Chef
  • Location: Franklin, TN
  • About: Buca di Beppo is an Italian restaurant that started in 193 in Minneapolis. It emphasizes family-style dining for large groups.
  • Requirements: A minimum of two years’ kitchen and restaurant experience; ability to commute to work location
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, 401(k), paid time off
  • Where to apply: Visit Buca di Beppo’s Career page

8. Belmont Village Senior Living | $100,000 per year

Belmont Village's logo

[Source: Belmont Village Senior Living]

  • Position: Chef Manager
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • About: Belmont Village Senior Living communities cater to the specific requirements of elderly residents with personalized programs in assisted living, independent living and memory care.
  • Requirements: A minimum of two years of kitchen managerial experience; must have a ServSafe certificate
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, 401(k), paid time off
  • Where to apply: Visit Belmont Village Senior Living’s Career page

9. Aramark | $80,000–$90,000 per year

Aramark's logo

[Source: Aramark]

  • Position: Chef Manager
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • About: Aramark delivers food, facilities and uniform services to education, healthcare, sports and leisure industries around the globe.
  • Requirements: A minimum of two years of experience in a culinary position
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, 401(k), paid time off
  • Where to apply: Visit Aramark’s Career page

10. Tajima Ramen | $90,000–$100,000 per year

Tajima's logo

[Source: Tajima Ramen]

  • Position: Corporate Chef
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • About: Tajima Ramen, recognized as one of San Diego’s premier Japanese dining establishments, serves authentic Japanese cuisine and specializes in ramen. It currently has seven locations throughout San Diego.
  • Requirements: A minimum of five years of experience in a similar position
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Health insurance, paid time off
  • Where to apply: Visit Tajima Ramen’s Career page

How Much Do Chefs Make in the US?

The average base wage for a Chef is $30.12 per hour.

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and state labor sites, this translates to an average monthly salary of $5,220 or an annual income of $62,640 in the United States.

[Source: BLS]

This map is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the map to see detailed data. 

Chef salaries vary across the four major U.S. cities, with New York offering the highest pay at $70,060 and Miami offering the lowest at $63,130.

Miami

Annual mean wage

$63,130

New York City

Annual mean wage

$70,060

Chicago

Annual mean wage

$68,620

Los Angeles

Annual mean wage

$65,060

[Source: BLS]

Top Paying States for Chefs

The average salary for Chefs can vary from one state to another due to different factors such as cost of living, economic conditions, the type of establishment and employer.

Below are five top-paying states for Chefs according to BLS and the labor/employment departments of the respective states.

For a comprehensive list of Chef salaries across the United States and valuable insights on how to increase your wage, please visit our Chef Salary page.

Where Do Most Chefs Work?

The majority of Chefs in the United States are employed in restaurants and other eating places, special food services, travel accommodations, other amusement and recreation industries and elementary and secondary schools.

Restaurants and other eating places encompass a wide range of establishments, including fine dining restaurants, fast-food chains and cafes. Chefs in this industry prepare a variety of dishes for customers, from main courses to desserts.

Special food services can include various food service establishments such as food trucks, food delivery services and catering companies. Chefs working in this sector often create menus tailored to specific events or occasions such as weddings, festivals or corporate events.

Traveler accommodations refer to lodgings, resorts and other hospitality establishments that offer food services to customers. Chefs often need to create dishes that accommodate different preferences and dietary restrictions of travelers from diverse backgrounds.

Amusement and recreation industries include venues designed for leisure and entertainment, such as theme parks, concert halls and casinos. Similar to traveler accommodations, they must ensure that they create food that caters to a wide range of preferences while also ensuring efficient food service during peak hours.

Finally, Chefs working in elementary and secondary schools work to create menus that meet nutritional guidelines and dietary requirements for students, faculty and staff.

Should establishments provide bonuses or shared profits with employees?

Chef Career Growth: Pros & Cons

While a career as a Chef can be rewarding for those passionate about cooking, it also comes with its share of challenges that aspiring individuals should consider before pursuing this path.

Pros:  

  • Creativity: Chefs have the opportunity to showcase their creativity by creating new dishes and menus.
  • Skill Development: Chefs continuously improve their culinary skills by learning about different cuisines and ingredients.
  • Variety of Work Environments: Chefs can work in various settings. This provides them with many opportunities to experience new things and meet different people.
  • Networking Opportunities: Working in the culinary industry exposes Chefs to a wide network of professionals, opening doors for career advancement and collaboration.

  Cons:  

  • Long Hours and Stressful Work Environment: The demanding nature of Chef jobs often involves working long hours, making it challenging to achieve a balance between work and personal life.
  • Physical Demands: Chefs spend much of their time on their feet, working in hot and crowded kitchens, lifting heavy pots and pans and performing repetitive tasks, which can lead to burnout and fatigue.
  • Entry-Level Positions: Starting out in the culinary industry typically involves working in entry-level positions with relatively low pay. This makes it important to secure certifications and pursue continued education to help increase your salary.
  • High Competition: The culinary industry is highly competitive, so it’s essential to stand out and be prepared when you secure an interview. Our interview questions page offers a guide on how to answer the most common questions asked of Chefs.

Chef Job FAQ

Becoming a Chef generally requires a combination of formal education and practical experience.

A high school diploma is the minimum requirement but many Chefs pursue formal culinary education through accredited culinary schools, community colleges or vocational training programs.

These programs offer courses on cooking techniques, food safety and kitchen management. Apprenticeships under experienced Chefs are also valuable for gaining hands-on experience.

The working hours for Chefs often involve long shifts, evenings, weekends and holidays.

Chefs may work early mornings to prepare for breakfast service or late nights to oversee dinner service.

The fast-paced environment of restaurant kitchens can also contribute to irregular schedules and long hours. Chefs in other industries, such as special food services and educational institutions, may have more regular hours.

Chefs can advance their careers through a combination of experience, education and professional development.

Entry-level positions such as Line Cook or Sous Chef provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience and develop culinary skills.

With experience, Chefs may progress to higher-level roles such as Executive Chef or Head Chef, where they have greater responsibilities.

Some Chefs also choose to open their own restaurants, catering businesses or culinary ventures.

Chefs face many challenges in their work, such as managing a high-pressure kitchen environment, balancing multiple tasks and priorities and adapting to changing customer demands.

Other challenges include sourcing high-quality ingredients, controlling food costs, maintaining consistency in dish quality and managing staff effectively.

Chefs must also stay updated with industry trends while navigating competition and market fluctuations.

Aspiring Chefs can gain practical experience in the industry by completing internships, participating in apprenticeship programs or working as Kitchen Assistants or Line Cooks.

Networking with industry professionals, attending culinary events or competitions and volunteering in community kitchens can also help aspiring Chefs build connections and gain exposure to different culinary environments.

Chefs follow rigorous food safety protocols to prevent contamination and ensure the quality and safety of their dishes.

This includes proper handling, storage and preparation of ingredients.

Chefs also monitor cooking temperatures, implement food rotation systems and label products with expiration dates to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

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