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Chef or Head Cook

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What is a Chef or Head Cook?

Job 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

  • Supervise or coordinate activities of cooks or workers engaged in food preparation.
  • Order or requisition food or other supplies needed to ensure efficient operation.
  • Collaborate with other personnel to plan and develop recipes or menus, taking into account such factors as seasonal availability of ingredients or the likely number of customers.
  • Demonstrate new cooking techniques or equipment to staff.
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, or work areas to ensure conformance to established standards.
  • Arrange for equipment purchases or repairs.

Chef Skills

Chefs and Head Cooks state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Other Chef Job Titles

  • Chocolatier
  • Chef, Instructor
  • Corporate Executive Chef
  • Kitchen Supervisor
  • Cake Froster

Job Opportunities for Chefs and Head Cooks

In the United States, there were 146,500 jobs for Chef or Head Cook in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 9.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 14,100 new jobs for Chef or Head Cook by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 20,300 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Chef are Utah, Arizona, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, Maine, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Chef Average Salary

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

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Chefs and Head Cooks who work in New Jersey, Hawaii, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Chefs and Head Cooks make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $48,360
Alaska $51,990
Arizona $43,240
Arkansas $45,780
California $51,400
Colorado $50,980
Connecticut $58,830
Delaware $59,330
District of Columbia $65,780
Florida $52,350
Georgia $52,890
Hawaii $74,510
Idaho $38,590
Illinois $51,800
Indiana $49,450
Iowa $42,280
Kansas $40,510
Kentucky $50,930
Louisiana $45,730
Maine $52,200
Maryland $53,040
Massachusetts $56,330
Michigan $52,230
Minnesota $51,990
Mississippi $48,330
Missouri $54,300
Montana $48,290
Nebraska $44,180
Nevada $56,290
New Hampshire $53,610
New Jersey $70,260
New Mexico $50,220
New York $56,020
North Carolina $50,690
North Dakota $46,320
Ohio $41,070
Oklahoma $44,410
Oregon $46,790
Pennsylvania $57,630
South Carolina $40,820
South Dakota $48,280
Tennessee $47,750
Texas $53,170
Utah $43,590
Vermont $45,590
Virginia $54,760
Washington $57,680
West Virginia $54,500
Wisconsin $47,210
Wyoming $54,590

Tools & Technologies Used by Chefs and Head Cooks

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Chefs and Head Cooks:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Email software
  • Facebook
  • Delphi Technology
  • Internet browser software
  • Culinary Software Services ChefTec
  • Axxya Systems Nutritionist Pro
  • SoftCafe MenuPro
  • EGS CALCMENU
  • ADP eTIME
  • Menu planning software
  • ReServe Interactive
  • Sage MAS 90 ERP
  • GNOME Gnutrition
  • IPro Restaurant Inventory, Recipe & Menu Software
  • Barrington Software CookenPro Commercial
  • CostGuard

How do I Become a Chef?

What education or degrees do I need to become a Chef or Head Cook?

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What work experience do I need to become a Chef?

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Where Chefs and Head Cooks Are Employed

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Below are examples of industries where Chefs and Head Cooks work:

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You May Also Be Interested In…

Career changers with experience as a Chef or Head Cook sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

References:

Image Credit: U.S. Army Europe Images via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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