A head chef is a professional cook who deals with directing and controlling food preparations and approval before they are served. Head chefs are generally responsible for everything that goes on in the employer's kitchen or restaurant. As a head chef, not only will you be required to create menu items, you will also need to coordinate and monitor the activities of other cooks. You will be tasked with hiring, training, and firing the kitchen staff. Furthermore, you will be held accountable for any defects or problems concerning the restaurant or food served.

To land a job as a head chef, you need to have proven experience in kitchen management. You must have very good leadership and communication skills and adequate knowledge of the latest kitchen processes and culinary trends. You also need a degree in culinary science or a related field. Head chefs earn an average salary of $44,181 annually or $21.24 every hour.

What Does a Head Chef Do

There are certain skills that many head 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 business skills, communication skills and creativity.

Learn more about what a Head Chef does

How To Become a Head Chef

If you're interested in becoming a head chef, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 23.7% of head chefs have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 1.4% of head chefs have master's degrees. Even though some head chefs have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Head Chef

Head Chef Career Paths

Average Salary for a Head Chef

Head Chefs in America make an average salary of $45,470 per year or $22 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $71,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $28,000 per year.
Average Head Chef Salary
$45,470 Yearly
$21.86 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Head Chef

The role of a head chef includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general head chef responsibilities:

  • Training, and coaching employees, planning, assigning
  • The head chef& kitchen lead leads preparation
  • The head chef shall be responsible for food service related business

There are several types of head chef, including:



MMM, do you smell that? Working as a chef comes with some good-smelling perks, especially if you're good at what you do. Chefs are in charge of preparing food for establishments where food is served, typically restaurants.

The schedule of a chef varies widely depending on where you're cooking. Sometimes they work early mornings, late evenings, weekends and even holidays. Yes, people still want to eat your delicious food on Christmas

  • Average Salary: $46,824
  • Degree: Associate Degree

Sous Chef


Chefs are often considered artists, who create culinary masterpieces pleasing to vision and palate alike. Sous chefs are there at every step of the process, assisting the head chef, in a professionally run kitchen, in making the magic happen.

They contribute to creating the menu, making sure every necessary ingredient is in stock and fresh, supervise sanitation, and do everything in their power to reach the expected quality standard of the meals.

Defying stereotypical gender roles, or perhaps adhering to less obvious ones, the sous chef position is primarily filled by men, especially in high-end kitchens. With all the long hours, heat, and a high-pressure working environment, prejudice against women has them framed as not being physically and emotionally strong enough to work in kitchens, and receive fewer opportunities to hold high-status jobs as cooks.

Restaurants behind the scenes are apparently not just the site for exquisite food preparation but prove to be an excellent field for institutionalized sexism as well. Go sous chefettes, it is high time to change this demographic!

  • Average Salary: $48,716
  • Degree: Associate Degree

Head Cook


A Head Cook, aka the chef, is responsible for running a kitchen, usually in a high-end establishment. They delegate tasks and oversee the work of everyone involved in food preparation, making sure that the result is nothing but exquisite delicacies. They come up with new recipes, create the menu, and make sure the necessary ingredients are always in stock.

Head cooks are deeply passionate about cooking. They live and die for tasty food and know a lot about other countries' culinary cultures. They consider their profession art, rather than anything else, and just like a poet has a favorite pen, you will recognize an authentic head cook by the fact that he/she favors one knife over all others.

Not that salaries matter to a real artist; just for your information, head cooks in the U.S. make an average of $48,098 per year.

  • Average Salary: $44,412
  • Degree: High School Diploma

States With The Most Head Chef Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active head chef jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where head chefs earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Head Chef Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
3New York587$52,343
8North Carolina279$42,447
17New Jersey181$68,904
22South Carolina136$32,267
28New Hampshire73$47,060
37Rhode Island50$55,352
41New Mexico31$39,922
47North Dakota15$39,323
48South Dakota15$38,630
49West Virginia15$37,950

Head Chef Education

Head Chef Majors

11.8 %

Head Chef Degrees


42.9 %


23.7 %

High School Diploma

19.8 %

Top Colleges for Head Chefs

1. Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




4. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Southwest Minnesota State University

Marshall, MN • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Ponce

Mercedita, PR • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Head 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, 26.6% of head chefs listed kitchen operations on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and communication skills are important as well.

  • Kitchen Operations, 26.6%
  • Culinary, 9.2%
  • Dinner Service, 6.3%
  • Food Service, 4.6%
  • Cuisine, 3.3%
  • Other Skills, 50.0%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Head Chef Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Head Chef templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Head Chef resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Head Chef diversity

Head Chef Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among head chefs, 20.2% of them are women, while 79.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among head chefs is White, which makes up 56.1% of all head chefs.

  • The most common foreign language among head chefs is Spanish at 39.4%.

Online Courses For Head Chef That You May Like

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Best States For a Head Chef

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a head chef. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Head chefs make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $69,678. Whereas in New Jersey and Massachusetts, they would average $68,904 and $56,283, respectively. While head chefs would only make an average of $55,352 in Rhode Island, 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. Rhode Island

Total Head Chef Jobs: 50
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Nevada

Total Head Chef Jobs: 76
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Massachusetts

Total Head Chef Jobs: 325
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Head Chefs

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Top Head Chef Employers

Most Common Employers For Head Chef

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics$72,267$34.747
2Goodwin Recruiting$55,959$26.9010
3Darden Restaurants$51,419$24.7213
5Campus Cooks$48,453$23.297
6College Chefs$47,856$23.019
7Marriott International$46,060$22.148
8Buffalo Wild Wings$45,334$21.809
9Applebee's Canada$44,630$21.469
10Golden Corral$43,982$21.1512