Join our Webinar, 6/29, on The Digital Buying Journey | Register
View All
Industry Insights
Operational Efficiency
Food Costing
Culinary OS

2024 Salary Ranges for 6 Chef Job Types (Executive, Pastry, Sous, etc)

8Chef wages are experiencing a notable increase for 2024, but exactly how much is not always cut and dry. On paper, it looks like food production jobs have had a large increase in wages ($12.78 per hour in January of 2018 to $18.21 in October of 2023), but thanks to high inflation over the last few years, that October 2023 number comes down to just $14.67 in adjusted wages—still a nearly 15% increase in purchasing power for every hour worked.

We wanted to sort through the calculations and find out what chefs across several contexts and role types can expect for salary ranges in 2024 using real-world, up-to-date data. In this investigation, we’ll explore:

  • Reasonable salary expectations for six chef job types
  • Ways to increase your chances of earning a higher salary
  • How to add more value to your organization (and earn a higher salary)

Executive Chef Salaries: As High As $108,000

Executive chefs stand at the pinnacle of the kitchen hierarchy and are often the highest earners in a restaurant or traditional foodservice setting, often earning between $67,000 and $85,000, but sometimes upwards of $108,000.

  • Upper End: $108,942 (
  • Lower End: $47,000 (Payscale)
  • Averages: Generally around $67,000 to $85,000

Executive Chefs are often responsible for creating and updating menus, ensuring food quality, and presentation meet the highest standards. Their role transcends cooking, encompassing the broader spectrum of creative menu development, kitchen management, and business strategy within a culinary setting—often for multiple locations or teams. An Executive Chef also oversees the entire kitchen staff, including hiring, training, and supervising. They manage inventory, order supplies, and adhere to food safety regulations. In many settings, they play a crucial role in budgeting and financial planning, often collaborating with restaurant managers or owners to optimize profitability and efficiency.

Also Read: Google to Galley: What I Learned Across A Culinary Leadership Career

Head Chef Salaries: As High As $95,000

Head Chefs typically sit directly underneath the executive chef in status, but are the highest-ranking person to interact with food on a regular basis. They typically earn between $52,000 and $61,000, with potential salaries going up to $95,000. Their compensation reflects their critical role in culinary operations.

  • Upper End: $95,000 (PayScale)
  • Lower End: $28,000 (Zippia)
  • Averages: Generally around $52,000 to $61,000

The role of a Head Chef is comprehensive, encompassing the oversight of kitchen operations, staff management, and menu curation. They ensure that every dish meets the establishment’s standards in terms of quality and presentation. Additionally, Head Chefs are instrumental in training and mentoring kitchen staff, managing inventory and supplies, and upholding food safety standards. They often collaborate with management to maintain kitchen efficiency and profitability.

Sous Chef Salaries: As High As $91,000

Sous Chefs, crucial in supporting the head chef, typically see salaries ranging from $45,000 to $50,000, with the upper limit reaching around $91,000.

  • Upper End: $91,000 (Glassdoor)
  • Lower End: $43,000 (
  • Averages: Generally around $45,000 to $55,000

As the right-hand of the Head Chef, a Sous Chef is integral to the kitchen's daily operations. They assist in menu planning, oversee food preparation, and ensure the maintenance of quality standards. Sous Chefs are pivotal in staff management, often taking charge of training and supervising junior kitchen staff. Their role also involves inventory management, order placement, and ensuring compliance with food safety regulations.

Also Read: Heart-Led Leadership in Culinary Settings

Corporate Chef Salaries: As High As $114,900

Corporate Chefs, overseeing culinary operations across multiple locations, typically earn between $59,000 and $85,000, with some earning as much as $114,900. 

  • Upper End: $114,900 (
  • Lower End: $59,000 (Glassdoor)
  • Averages: Generally around $59,000 to $85,000

Corporate Chefs are tasked with maintaining consistency and quality across various dining outlets. They develop menus, standardize recipes, and implement culinary strategies across the board. Their role includes training and supervising chefs at different locations, ensuring adherence to the company’s culinary standards. They manage large-scale inventory and supply chains, playing a key role in the financial and operational aspects of the organization.

Pastry Chef Salaries: As High As $75,600

Pastry Chefs are the heads of pastry teams and usually earn between $44,000 and $58,000, with some reaching up to $75,600.

  • Upper End: $75,673 (
  • Lower End: $25,000 (Zippia)
  • Averages: Generally around $44,000 to $58,000

Pastry Chefs specialize in creating desserts, bread, and pastries, requiring a high level of creativity and technical skill. They are responsible for developing dessert menus, crafting unique recipes, and overseeing the production of all baked goods. Managing the pastry section of the kitchen, they ensure quality, presentation, and freshness of their creations. Pastry Chefs also play a role in inventory management, ingredient sourcing, and maintaining cleanliness and organization in their domain.

Also Read: The Dawn Of The Culinary Operating System

Private Chef Salaries: As High As $146,000

Private Chefs offer a personalized culinary experience, often for individual households or private clients. They can be self-employed or W-2 employees, so salary range varies significantly based on their arrangement, clientele, and location. Typically, a Private Chef earns between $75,000 and $87,000 annually, though some private chefs report salaries as high as $146,000.

Private Chefs are tasked with customizing menus to individual preferences and dietary requirements, managing kitchen inventory, and sometimes even overseeing dining events. Their role requires not just culinary expertise but also strong interpersonal skills to cater to specific client needs. Freelancers are also responsible for the business side of client engagements, such as marketing and accounting.

Maximizing Your Salary As A Chef: 3 Suggestions

Earning the upper end of these salary ranges is sometimes a matter of luck, but more often, it’s a matter of discipline, training, and curiosity. High earners are not just proficient food handlers, but embrace skill sets that set them apart and make them more valuable to the businesses and organizations they work for. 

Here are three areas we suggest chefs take seriously to improve as a professional and command a higher salary:

  1. Invest in people management skills training. As you must know if you’re reading this, the kitchen can be a difficult place. It’s hot, it’s stressful, and in some settings there’s too much yelling. Effective leaders know how to boost team morale, empower team members to do their best work, and address interpersonal challenges with calm and clarity. Learning to manage people will take you very, very far.
  2. Become a technology leader in your organization. Margins are shrinking and competition’s getting fiercer. Chefs who become champions for modern tech that saves the organization money and helps your teams operate with less waste unlock business value. It’s one thing to be able to wrangle together a few spreadsheets—it’s another to advocate for a full-fledged culinary operating system that ties all your teams and workflows together. Be the person that everyone else trusts with your tech stack.
  3. Choose curiosity first. As the ex-Google culinary director Nate Keller once put it, “arrogance is a great limiter, but curiosity opens endless doors”. There’s always more to learn. There are always ways to improve. In an industry as quickly evolving as foodservice, the curious and the learners get ahead and stay ahead.

Also Read: What Does Food Data Mastery Look Like In A Modern Food Business?

Your Next Step To Start Earning More

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving culinary world, chefs are not only required to be masters of their craft but also to be savvy in managing the complexities of kitchen operations. As we've explored the varying salary ranges across chef roles, it's clear that enhancing your business savvy and people management skills is critical to advancing your career and earning potential.

We’re Galley Solutions, and want to help you earn more as a chef. Galley is a culinary operating system that helps foodservice organizations manage their culinary operation. From precise purchasing to production planning to inventory control, Galley equips chefs with the data and tools to master the business side of food, minimize waste, and coordinate teams. 

Don’t go the chef journey alone—see how Galley’s culinary operating system can help you perform at your peak with a personalized demo.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
A Recipe Book you can build your business on.
Get A Copy

Share this post