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Head Chef Jobs – July 2024 Job Listings

We’ve rounded up the top 10 Head Chef opportunities in the United States — along with salary and company information, job requirements, benefits and more.
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10 High-Paying Head Chef Jobs in the US

The U.S. currently has over 230 restaurants with Michelin star ratings — one of the world’s most prestigious awards for culinary excellence. This presents exciting opportunities for those looking to advance their culinary career as a Head Chef.

Moreover, aspiring and current Head Chefs alike can further hone their skills by working in a wide range of dining establishments throughout the country’s metropolitan areas and resort towns.

That said, below are the 10 best Head Chef jobs in the U.S. that you can apply for right now.

1. Goodwin Recruiting | $85,000–$110,000 a year

goodwin recruiting's logo

[Source: Goodwin Recruiting]

  • Position: Upscale Dining Head Chef
  • Location: Sunnyvale, CA
  • About: Goodwin Recruiting is a full-service recruitment firm based in New England. It has clients in various industries such as restaurant, hospitality, retail, finance and information technology.
  • Requirements: At least three years of experience as an Executive Chef, Head Chef or similar; minimum sales volume exposure of $4 million yearly
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Bonus plan, 401(k), paid time off, medical and dental insurance
  • Where to apply: Goodwin Recruiting’s career page

2. Woods Hill Restaurant Group | $80,000–$85,000 a year

Woods Hill Restaurant logo

[Source: Woods Hill Restaurant Group]

  • Position: Chef de Cuisine
  • Location: Concord, MA
  • About: Woods Hill Restaurant Group owns and operates a small batch of restaurants in Massachusetts. Their specialty dishes are made with fresh, organic ingredients sourced directly from local farms and markets.
  • Requirements: Senior kitchen management experience in a fine dining or upscale establishment; extensive knowledge of farm-to-table practices; strong leadership, financial management and communication skills, culinary degree or equivalent certification preferred
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Health benefits package, career advancement opportunities,
  • Where to apply: Woods Hill Restaurant Group’s career page

3. COREcruitment | $120,000 a year

corecruitment company logo

[Source: COREcruitment]

  • Position: Chef de Cuisine/Head Chef – Michelin Restaurant Group
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • About: COREcruitment is a global recruitment firm, with clients mainly from the hospitality, leisure, retail and food management sectors.
  • Requirements: At least three years of kitchen management experience in a fine dining setting; financial acumen and leadership skills; Japanese cuisine experience preferred
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Where to apply: COREcruitment’s career page

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

4. JOEY Restaurant Group | $80,000–$115,000 a year

joey restaurant group logo

[Source: JOEY Restaurant Group]

  • Position: Head Chef
  • Location: Bellevue, WA
  • About: JOEY Restaurant Group is a chain of premium-casual restaurants with over 40 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
  • Requirements: Minimum of three years of culinary experience; able to lift and carry objects up to 50 pounds
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Employee discounts, paid time off, healthcare and life insurance, training and development opportunities, referral bonus program
  • Where to apply: JOEY Restaurant Group’s career page

5. Tatte Bakery & Cafe | $71,000–$82,000 a year

tatte bakery cafe logo

[Source: Tatte Bakery & Cafe]

  • Position: Cafe Head Chef
  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • About: Tatte Bakery & Cafe specializes in brunch staple dishes, pastries, coffee and desserts. It has over 30 locations within the Boston and Washington metropolitan areas.
  • Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; at least three years of progressive culinary or kitchen management experience; able to lift and carry objects up to 50 pounds; culinary or hospitality degree preferred
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Free meals and drinks, reserved parking slot, employee assistance program, 401(k)/retirement plan, healthcare insurance, flexible schedule with no late nights, free foreign language classes
  • Where to apply: Tatte Bakery & Cafe’s career page

6. Vandalay Brands | $80,000–$90,000 a year

Vandalay Brands company logo

[Source: Vandalay Brands]

  • Position: Head Chef
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • About: Headquartered in the Chicago metropolitan area, Vandalay Brands operates multiple restaurant concepts. Among the restaurants in its portfolio is Millennium Hall, a dining space located under the famous Cloud Gate sculpture.
  • Requirements: Previous experience as a Head Chef in an upscale restaurant, hotel or catering company; proficiency in relevant health and safety regulations; strong background in food preparation, food service and food handling
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Healthcare insurance, 401(k)/retirement plan
  • Where to apply: Vandalay Brands’ career page

7. Willow Tree Recruiting | $85,000–$90,000 a year

willow tree recruiting logo

[Source: Willow Tree Recruiting ]

  • Position: Chef de Cuisine – Upscale Casual Restaurant
  • Location: Carlsbad, CA
  • About: Willow Tree Recruiting is a hospitality recruiting firm based in California. Moreover, one of their client companies is a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Diego area.
  • Requirements: At least two years of experience as a Chef de Cuisine in a high-volume, upscale establishment; strong knowledge of budgeting and cost control
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Bonus plan, employee relief fund, medical, dental and vision insurance, meal discounts
  • Where to apply: Willow Tree Recruiting’s career page

8. The Little Nell | $80,000–$90,000 a year

The Little Nell Aspen logo

[Source: The Little Nell]

  • Position: Chef de Cuisine – Element 47
  • Location: Aspen, CO
  • About: The Little Nell is a five-star, ski-in ski-out hotel situated on the base of Aspen Mountain.
  • Requirements: Previous experience in a managerial or supervisory role; culinary degree preferred
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Medical, dental and vision insurance, paid time off, flexible spending account, 401(k)/retirement plan
  • Where to apply: The Little Nell’s career page

9. Gecko Hospitality | $82,000–$102,000 a year

Gecko Hospitality company logo

[Source: Gecko Hospitality]

  • Position: Head Chef
  • Location: Annapolis, MD
  • About: Gecko Hospitality specializes in hotel and restaurant management recruiting. It currently has 80 offices throughout the U.S. and it was even listed as one of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms by Forbes.
  • Requirements: At least two years of experience in a fast-paced restaurant environment; excellent leadership, culinary and financial management skills; open availability
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Bonus program, paid time off, 401(k), medical,dtnal and vision insurance
  • Where to apply: Gecko Hospitality’s career page

10. Levy Restaurants | $85,000–$100,000 a year

Levy Restaurants usa company logo

[Source: Levy Restaurants]

  • Position: Chef de Cuisine – Dodger Stadium
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • About: Levy Restaurants is a subsidiary of Compass Group USA. It’s known for providing food and beverage services to more than 350 sports, cultural and entertainment venues in the U.S. — including Dodger Stadium in LA.
  • Requirements: At least five years in a culinary leadership role; interpersonal, financial and stakeholder management skills; proficiency in MS Office; culinary degree preferred
  • Job type: Full-time
  • Benefits: Associate shopping program, healthcare, life and disability insurance, commuter benefits, flexible spending accounts
  • Where to apply: Compass Group USA’s career page

How Much Can You Earn From Head Chef Jobs?

Head Chefs who work in the U.S. have an average annual salary of $73,632. On a monthly basis, this would be around $6,136.

Where Can US-Based Head Chefs Earn Higher Salaries?

When looking for Head Chef jobs across the U.S., it’s important to know which states and districts you’re more likely to get higher pay.



[Calculated using Indeed, Salary.com, ZipRecruiter and Talent.com data]

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

The graph above shows that the District of Columbia offers the highest average salaries for Head Chefs, followed by New York and Washington. Average salaries for Head Chef vary across different locations due to factors like local economic conditions and company budgets.

Additionally, when it comes to a Head Chef’s individual salary, it often depends on their level of culinary expertise and training.

Check out our Head Chef Salary page for more comprehensive insights into compensation for this role.

Legal Requirements Related to Head Chef Jobs

Below are some federal laws and regulations on kitchen operations and employment that Head Chefs need to follow.

State-mandated health inspections

Given that Head Chefs are in charge of the overall back-of-house operations, one of their responsibilities is to make sure their establishment passes health inspections. To do that, they must constantly check if everyone in their team is adhering to kitchen safety and sanitation requirements.

Requirements for hiring minors

Head Chefs can hire minor-age applicants for their staff as long as the applicant is at least 14 years old. However, the Head Chef must ensure that these younger applicants have an employment certificate or permit.

Moreover, Head Chefs must know which kitchen tasks are legally allowed for employees below the age of 18. For instance, those aged 14 to 15 cannot be assigned to perform baking tasks or cook food over an open flame.

Exemptions from overtime pay

Most Head Chefs fall under the “learned professionals” category of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which means they’re exempt from overtime pay.

As per the FLSA, learned professionals are employees who make at least $684 a week and have primary duties that require advanced knowledge – both of which are the case with many (if not all) Head Chefs.

Head Chef Jobs FAQ

No, you need to have some supervisory or managerial experience in a commercial kitchen. This is because Head Chefs hold either the highest or second-highest position within a restaurant’s back-of-house staff.

Most Head Chef jobs require applicants to have around two to five years of prior experience as a Sous Chef, Kitchen Manager or a similar role.

The best way to prepare for a Head Chef job interview is to research what questions employers often ask and practice how you would answer these questions.

For a comprehensive list of questions, answer examples and interview tips, visit our Head Chef Interview Questions guide.

Yes, Head Chef jobs in the U.S. generally pay well. For context, the average salary for Head Chefs is $73,632 a year, as per recent data from Salary.com, Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Talent.com.

However, Head Chefs who work in major cities may earn significantly more than the nationwide average. For instance, in New York City and Los Angeles, the average annual salaries are $83,631 and $81,149 respectively.

Criteria for Selecting Our Top 10 Head Chef Jobs

Curious about how we picked which Head Chef jobs to include on our list? Here are the three main factors we took into consideration:

  1. Competitive yearly salaries: The jobs above offer a starting salary of at least $71,000. This is because we aimed to feature Head Chef positions that pay close to or above the U.S. average salary for this role.
  2. Prime locations: Each of the job listings above is located in a metropolitan area and/or a fairly popular tourist destination. After all, these kinds of places typically have lively dining industries — therefore providing ample opportunities for Head Chefs to showcase their culinary expertise.
  3. Reputable companies and establishments: We’ve made sure to feature Head Chef jobs from employers that are well-respected within the restaurant and hospitality industry. In fact, some of these jobs are in Michelin-starred establishments.

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