Culinary Arts Salary Information

Find current salary data for culinary arts careers.

Factors That Influence Salary

pastry chef with mixer and culinary arts salary

A quick search for culinary arts salary information will show that chef salaries vary widely. This can make it tricky to pin down exactly what you can expect to earn if you choose to pursue a chef career.

In any industry, your earning potential is dependent on a number of factors, and culinary careers are no exception. Your chef salary is customized for you. Only by considering your unique circumstances can you predict your future wages.

Here are some of the key ingredients in figuring out the culinary arts salary equation:

  • Work Environment – Fine dining restaurants usually pay some of the highest wages. Other high-paying employers include hotels, resorts and individuals who hire private chefs. Institutional cafeterias, casual or fast food restaurants and cruise ships tend to be among the lowest paying employers.
     
  • Culinary Education – Whether you go to school to get your culinary degree or you learn hands-on, being prepared to handle the challenges of a fast-paced professional kitchen will help you advance to positions of higher responsibility—and pay.
     
  • Work Experience – Like education, work experience has a way of teaching you a lot of the skills you'll need to advance in your career. Not to mention that sometimes you have to pay your dues before you're ready for the more glamorous jobs.
     
  • Geographic Location – Culinary arts salaries are bound to be higher in areas where the cost of living is higher. Cities with a thriving culinary scene will also have higher demand for skilled chefs, and salaries will reflect this demand.

Average Culinary Arts Salaries

Here is what you can expect to earn in various fields within the culinary arts career:

Culinary Job Title Median Annual Salary*
Cooking Assistant $25,661
Executive Chef $69,336
Executive Pastry Chef $60,480
Food Scientist $65,214
Line Cook $22,372
Restaurant Manager $48,533
Sous Chef $44,520

Sources: Salary.com's January 2014 Survey; Assistant Chef; Executive Chef; Executive Pastry Chef; Food Scientist; Line Cook; Restaurant Manager; Sous Chef.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.