How Much Money Does A Chef Make?

While cooking every day for yourself or your family is a basic need, many people also do it as a hobby or because they're interested in a career in food. Seeing celebrity chefs and cooking competitions on TV might peak a lot of people's interest in a career in the culinary world.

According to Webstaurant Store, a lot of people prefer to choose a culinary career because the profession allows you to have plenty of creative freedom to come up with different kinds of variations and even new recipes, leaving no room for boredom or monotony.

Statistics compiled by Data USA show that culinary careers are gradually gaining popularity in the United States and there has been a 10% growth rate among people employed by different companies, restaurants, and hotels as chefs or head cooks. The website further mentions that in 2018, there were 458,983 people employed as chefs or head cooks in the U.S., while this number grew to approximately 506,000 in 2019.

How much do chefs earn on average?

Pay scales for chefs or head cooks differ from country to country but, in general, a culinary career could offer you good pay. Per Salary Explorer, statistics from 2022 show that a person working as a chef in the United States can, on average, make up to $57,400 per year — around $4,780 per month. The website further mentions that the minimum salary a chef can get per year is $29,800. On the other hand, a chef can earn a maximum of $87,800 per year.

The salary of a chef also varies from state to state. As Zippia explains, an executive chef in Hawaii, for instance, can earn up to $71,544 per year. Meanwhile, Wyoming offers the lowest salaries to chefs, which is about $27,439. Head chefs, on the other hand, make a lot more. For example, they can earn as much as $125,138 in New York (via Comparably).

What kind of education and training do chefs need?

Choosing a career as a chef could be a very lucrative choice, but it takes time and effort to be fit for the job. As explained by Become, the first step in this regard is to gain some practical experience by joining a restaurant kitchen. However, most beginners don't get to cook and have to perform mundane tasks instead, such as cleaning the dishes or being on garbage duty.

Once some experience is gained, Become says the next step is to enroll in a culinary school but for that, a high school diploma or GED is required. As the website details, culinary schools offer several programs to aspiring students. You can opt for a one-year diploma or a four-year bachelor's degree.

While it is not a requirement to undergo formal education to become a chef, having a degree or certification from a culinary school certainly helps in finding jobs, especially in up-scale restaurants or renowned places.