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Average Sous Chef Salary in Major U.S. Cities

Sous chef salary: a male ad female cook are smiling and looking at each other, holding dishes in full uniform, in a restaurant kitchen.

There are around 2,648,700 cooks in the United States (U.S.), according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook and only 152,800 of those are sous chefs.

Sous chefs and head cooks are some of the most renowned professions in the restaurant sector and it takes time and knowledge to move up the ranks.

In this article, we explain why venturing into this high-level chef position is a good idea. We delve into the topic of sous chef salary averages in prominent cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and New York City, examining the lowest and the highest average earnings across the country.

Furthermore, we will analyze the various factors that influence a sous chef’s salary and offer practical tips on how to proactively enhance your earnings as you progress in your career.

Source: OysterLink Salary Data

What Is the Average Sous Chef Salary in the US?

Sous chefs in the U.S. can earn a salary ranging from $40,000 to over $80,000 per year, or around $50,160 median, to be precise. These numbers make it one of the highest-paying jobs in the restaurant sector.

While sous chefs may not have regular customer interaction like waiters, their base salaries are often generous.

It is important to recognize that although experience is a key factor in determining the sous chef salary, other aspects such as strong leadership skills and the ability to create exquisite meals and inspire others to do so can also significantly influence earning potential.

sous chef salary, a chef in uniform is adding garish to a luxurious teal meal.
The demand for sous chefs in the U.S. and their salaries are only expected to grow in the following years

New York City

From trendy eateries in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg to renowned fine dining destinations in Manhattan, NYC’s vibrant restaurant landscape offers an unparalleled gastronomic adventure for cooks and chefs inn search of knowledge.

Based on the most recent data, the average annual income for sous chefs in this city is approximately $60,000.

However, it’s important to note that their salaries can vary significantly, usually spanning between $51,1000 and $70,000.

Several crucial factors that impact these sous chef salary ranges are educational background, culinary certifications and the number of years dedicated to the culinary profession.


The average sous chef salary in Miami has recently been reported to be around $72,000.

However, it is important to consider that the salary range for sous chefs in this location usually spans between $63,200 and $83,000.


Chicago is renowned for its vibrant culinary landscape, boasting a staggering number of more than 7,000 restaurants. Whether you prefer laid-back eateries or luxurious dining establishments, sous chefs in Chicago have an extensive array of choices available to them.

The average sous chef salary in Chicago, IL is approximately $53,200. However, it is important to note that the salary range typically spans between $46,000 and $62,700.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is famous for its dynamic and diverse food scene, with an impressive count of over 24,000 restaurants, making it a true haven for culinary enthusiasts.

The average sous chef salary in Los Angeles in 2023 stands at approximately $56,000. However, it’s important to consider that the salary range typically falls between $48,200 and $66,000.

These figures reflect the varying factors that impact earning potential, such as experience, qualifications and the specific nature of the culinary establishment.

Sous chefs in Los Angeles can earn up to $56,000 or more per year.

What Factors Affect a Sous Chef Salary?

Working as a sous chef can be a rewarding and lucrative career path. However, your sous chef salary may vary based on several key factors:

1. Location

Sous chef salaries can vary based on the cost of living and demand for culinary talent in different regions or cities. Keep in mind though, that the big, more tourist-friendly cities also come with a higher cost of living, so the compensation has to be adjusted to the circumstances.

2. Type of Establishment

Salaries can differ depending on whether a sous chef works in a high-end restaurant, a hotel, a catering company, or a casual dining establishment, with significantly more pricey items onn its menu.

3. Shifts and Schedule

Factors such as working night shifts, weekends, or holidays may influence a sous chef’s salary due to the associated work hours and the potential for additional pay.

4. Performance and Reputation

Sous chefs with exceptional culinary skills, creativity and a strong professional track record may command higher salaries based on their reputation in the industry.

5. Your Work Experience

Your experience in the restaurant industry can also play a role in your salary. Those with more experience and expertise may be able to command higher salaries and have a greater chance of landing management roles.

How to Increase Your Sous Chef Salary

As a sous chef, there are a number of things you can do to increase your salary. Here are some tips:

  • Continuously expand your culinary skills and knowledge
  • Seek opportunities for professional development and certifications
  • Take on additional responsibilities and demonstrate leadership abilities
  • Proactively contribute to revenue growth and cost control measures
  • Build a strong professional network within the culinary industry
  • Consider working in high-end or renowned establishments
  • Pursue promotions and advancement opportunities
  • Negotiate for competitive compensation during job offers or performance reviews
  • Showcase your creativity and innovation in menu development
  • Stay updated with industry trends and incorporate them into your work
  • Demonstrate excellent leadership and management skills to increase profitability and customer satisfaction

Should sous chefs be compensated extra for working on holidays and weekends?

Find a Sous Chef Position With OysterLink

Discover your culinary career as a sous chef with OysterLink! Our platform connects job seekers to exciting opportunities and employers with high-quality workers in the restaurant industry.

Get insights into top-paying roles, access job descriptions, salaries, interview and post-interview tips.

Sign up for early membership and be the first to explore the latest restaurant job postings in your area. Take the leap and join OysterLink today for a rewarding sous chef career!

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