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Chefs and Head Cooks

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Life As a Chef

Occupation Description Direct and may participate in the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.

A Day in the Life of a Chef

  • Instruct cooks or other workers in the preparation, cooking, garnishing, or presentation of food.
  • Determine how food should be presented and create decorative food displays.
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, or work areas to ensure conformance to established standards.
  • Determine production schedules and staff requirements necessary to ensure timely delivery of services.
  • Demonstrate new cooking techniques or equipment to staff.
  • Recruit and hire staff, such as cooks and other kitchen workers.

Chef Required Skills

When polled, Chefs and Head Cooks say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Management of Personnel Resources: Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

Other Chef Job Titles

  • Sous Chef
  • Chef de Cuisine
  • Executive Sous Chef
  • Cake Froster
  • Cake Maker

Are There Job Opportunities for Chefs and Head Cooks?

In the United States, there were 146,500 jobs for Chefs and Head Cooks in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 9.6% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 14,100 new jobs for Chefs and Head Cooks by 2026. There will be an estimated 20,300 positions for Chef per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Chefs and Head Cooks in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Chefs and Head Cooks are New York, California, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, South Dakota, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for Chefs and Head Cooks

The average yearly salary of a Chef ranges between $26,320 and $81,150. The median salary is $48,460.

Salary Ranges for Chefs and Head Cooks

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Hawaii

$74,510

New Jersey

$70,260

District of Columbia

$65,780

Delaware

$59,330

Connecticut

$58,830

Washington

$57,680

Pennsylvania

$57,630

Massachusetts

$56,330

Nevada

$56,290

New York

$56,020

Virginia

$54,760

Wyoming

$54,590

West Virginia

$54,500

Missouri

$54,300

New Hampshire

$53,610

Texas

$53,170

Maryland

$53,040

Georgia

$52,890

Florida

$52,350

Michigan

$52,230

Maine

$52,200

Minnesota

$51,990

Alaska

$51,990

Illinois

$51,800

California

$51,400

Colorado

$50,980

Kentucky

$50,930

North Carolina

$50,690

New Mexico

$50,220

Indiana

$49,450

Alabama

$48,360

Mississippi

$48,330

Montana

$48,290

South Dakota

$48,280

Tennessee

$47,750

Wisconsin

$47,210

Oregon

$46,790

North Dakota

$46,320

Arkansas

$45,780

Louisiana

$45,730

Vermont

$45,590

Oklahoma

$44,410

Nebraska

$44,180

Utah

$43,590

Arizona

$43,240

Iowa

$42,280

Ohio

$41,070

South Carolina

$40,820

Kansas

$40,510

Idaho

$38,590

What Tools do Chefs and Head Cooks Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Chefs and Head Cooks may use on a daily basis:

  • Sage MAS 90 ERP
  • Microsoft Office
  • Delphi Technology
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Word

Where do Chefs and Head Cooks Work?

Chef Sectors

Similar Careers

Are you already one of the many Chefs and Head Cooks in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

  • Cooks, Private Household

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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