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Working as an Executive Chef

Every dish that comes out of the kitchen is the responsibility of an executive chef. You can be assured that whatever you're currently putting in your mouth was given the green light from the executive chef. That's because they have a hand in all the decisions regarding food in a kitchen. From the quality of the food to making sure regulations are being met to coming up with new and improved recipes, the executive chef has a hand in all major food decisions.

The majority of executive chefs work in the restaurant industry. But rest assured that there are many other options for executive chefs. For instance, they could work for a catering company or a nursing home. Maybe they find a job at a hotel. Whatever job you decide on, just make sure you can lead the kitchen staff. A good executive chef won't have dishes sent back to them from customers because something wasn't good enough.

Becoming an executive chef can be stressful and tough. Sometimes your team may not live up to your expectations, while other times customers will have set their expectations too high. You might come across an order that seems impossible to pull off because of all the substitutions and changes made to the original dish. Perhaps the most stressful of all is when someone has an allergy. You definitely don't want to be the reason someone has an allergic reaction. So, yeah. Being an executive chef is stressful. But if you love the art of creating an exquisite dish while being able to lead a team to produce a similar result, then you're going to be ok.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being an executive chef. For example, did you know that they make an average of $26.09 an hour? That's $54,272 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 11% and produce 15,400 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does an Executive Chef Do

There are certain skills that many executive chefs have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed dexterity, sense of taste and smell and physical stamina.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be an executive chef, we found that a lot of resumes listed 15.1% of executive chefs included quality food, while 12.9% of resumes included menu planning, and 8.1% of resumes included food service. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the executive chef job title. But what industry to start with? Most executive chefs actually find jobs in the hospitality and finance industries.

How To Become an Executive Chef

If you're interested in becoming an executive chef, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 22.0% of executive chefs have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.1% of executive chefs have master's degrees. Even though some executive chefs have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become an executive chef. When we researched the most common majors for an executive chef, we found that they most commonly earn associate degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on executive chef resumes include high school diploma degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become an executive chef. In fact, many executive chef jobs require experience in a role such as sous chef. Meanwhile, many executive chefs also have previous career experience in roles such as chef or line cook.

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Average Salary$54,272
Job Growth Rate11%

Executive Chef Jobs

Executive Chef Career Paths

Top Careers Before Executive Chef

Chef
15.2%

Top Careers After Executive Chef

Chef
17.7%

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for an Executive Chef

Executive Chefs in America make an average salary of $54,272 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $82,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Salary
$54,272

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range55k - 89k$71k$70,607
Salary Range54k - 86k$68k$68,480
Salary Range52k - 82k$66k$66,176
Salary Range50k - 86k$66k$66,026
Salary Range51k - 83k$66k$65,884
Salary Range48k - 78k$62k$61,929
$36k
$89k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Executive Chef
Executive Chef
Gecko Hospitality
Gecko Hospitality
10/29/2020
10/29/2020
$70,00010/29/2020
$70,000
Gecko Hospitality
Executive Chef
Executive Chef
Gecko Hospitality
Gecko Hospitality
10/27/2020
10/27/2020
$90,00010/27/2020
$90,000
Executive Chef
Executive Chef
Gecko Hospitality
Gecko Hospitality
10/27/2020
10/27/2020
$75,00010/27/2020
$75,000
Goodwin Recruiting
Executive Chef-Upscale Casual Restaurant
Executive Chef-Upscale Casual Restaurant
Goodwin Recruiting
Goodwin Recruiting
10/24/2020
10/24/2020
$55,00010/24/2020
$55,000
Executive Chef
Executive Chef
Gecko Hospitality
Gecko Hospitality
10/16/2020
10/16/2020
$65,00010/16/2020
$65,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Executive Chef Demographics

Gender

male

83.4%

female

13.1%

unknown

3.5%

Ethnicity

White

60.6%

Hispanic or Latino

18.3%

Black or African American

10.5%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.2%

French

22.1%

Italian

16.2%
See More Demographics

Executive Chef Education

Majors

Degrees

Associate

50.7%

Bachelors

22.0%

High School Diploma

10.6%

Top Colleges for Executive Chefs

1. Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$53,244
Enrollment
15,557

2. University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH

Tuition and fees
$11,000
Enrollment
25,973

3. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Tuition and fees
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

4. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX

Tuition and fees
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

5. Boston University

Boston, MA

Tuition and fees
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

6. Southwest Minnesota State University

Marshall, MN

Tuition and fees
$8,612
Enrollment
2,022

7. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Ponce

Mercedita, PR

Tuition and fees
$5,914
Enrollment
4,155
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming An Executive Chef

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For an Executive Chef

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.1% of executive chefs listed quality food on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and sense of taste and smell are important as well.

  • Quality Food, 15.1%
  • Menu Planning, 12.9%
  • Food Service, 8.1%
  • Kitchen Equipment, 7.6%
  • Food Preparation, 6.7%
  • Other Skills, 49.6%
  • See All Executive Chef Skills

Best States For an Executive Chef

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an executive chef. The best states for people in this position are Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Indiana. Executive chefs make the most in Idaho with an average salary of $69,927. Whereas in Washington and Oregon, they would average $69,899 and $68,946, respectively. While executive chefs would only make an average of $66,266 in Indiana, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Idaho

Total Executive Chef Jobs:
24
Highest 10% Earn:
$107,000
Location Quotient:
1.07
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Executive Chef Jobs:
88
Highest 10% Earn:
$108,000
Location Quotient:
1.19
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Wyoming

Total Executive Chef Jobs:
11
Highest 10% Earn:
$97,000
Location Quotient:
1.1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Executive Chef Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an executive chef. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless executive chef resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write an Executive Chef Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless executive chef resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

How Do Executive Chef Rate Their Jobs?

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5.0

Being an executive chefMarch 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoBeing an executive chefMarch 2019

What do you like the most about working as Executive Chef?

The responsibility and instant gratification when a customer has a wow monment Show More

What do you NOT like?

Lazy workers who do not care about the products that they are working with and their teammates Show More

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Top Executive Chef Employers

1. Sodexo Operations
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$29,410
Executive Chefs Hired: 
665+
2. Aramark
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$30,568
Executive Chefs Hired: 
618+
3. Hilton Worldwide Holdings
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$31,688
Executive Chefs Hired: 
370+
4. Holiday Inn Express
3.5
Avg. Salary: 
$30,927
Executive Chefs Hired: 
304+
5. Compass Group USA
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$34,860
Executive Chefs Hired: 
275+
6. Marriott International
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$33,316
Executive Chefs Hired: 
214+

Executive Chef Videos

Recently Added Executive Chef Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020