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National Average Salary for Chefs


    • Different industries have different average salaries for chefs. Chefs at hotels, resorts and casinos earn an annual mean wage of $50,000, while those in the amusement and recreation industry (country clubs, marinas and bowling centers) earn an average of $53,000 a year.


    • Most chefs start out in entry-level positions such as line cooks, who earn between $19,000 and $25,000. A chef de partie, who manages a specific area of the kitchen and works under the sous chef, earns between $20,000 and $34,000 a year, while promotion to sous chef means a salary of between $31,000 and $49,000. An executive chef earns an average salary of between $55,000 and $85,000 a year.

    Highest Paying Areas

    • The average salary of a chef differs greatly from state to state. New Jersey is the highest paying state for chefs, with an annual mean wage of $59,000. Rhode Island follows closely behind, with an annual mean wage of $56,000. New York, however, is the top paying metropolitan area in the United States for chefs, with an annual mean wage of nearly $81,000.

    Concentration of Chefs

    • Nevada has the most chefs of any state in the U.S. at 2,670 employed, with 2,280 of those in Las Vegas alone. Idaho is in second place, with a total of 1,230 employed chefs. The next metropolitan areas in terms of highest concentration of chefs is Anchorage, Alaska, with 400 employed.

    Expert Insight

    • Holding a degree in the culinary arts is not required to become a chef. However, according to All Culinary Schools, "your degree or diploma will certainly give you an advantage over non-culinary school graduates."

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