What Is a Sous Chef's Salary?


Chefs prepare food in commercial establishments such as restaurants, hospitals, schools and crew ships. However, large establishments demand several cooks, each with a specialty. In such cases, the sous chef acts as the assistant to the head chef and is second in command. Among other duties, he is in charge of scheduling and delegating cooking tasks, directing kitchen operations and filling in for line chefs who are off-duty.


  • A PayScale report reveals that as of June 2010, a sous chef earns a base salary of $32,035 to $43,481 per year. With annual bonuses of $486 to $2,369 and profit sharing of $509 to $3,250, total yearly compensation can range from $28,375 to $41,491.


  • The greater the experience, the higher the salary with new sous chefs receiving $14,521 to $40,223 per year. At one to four years of experience, they earn $30,097 to $40,296, and at five to nine years, they make $31,946 to $42,967. At 10 to 19 years, they get $34,016 to $45,492, and at 20 years or more, they receive $34,602 to $49,687.


  • The type of employer can affect salary with those in the federal government showing the highest income and widest range at $28,486 to $58,249, followed by those in colleges and universities at $27,736 and $45,781. Those working for school districts earn $36,430 to $47,000, while those in hospitals receive $30,000 to $40,452. Finally, those who are self-employed receive $29,661 to $43,406, while those working for franchises make $31,438 to $42,631.


  • The location of the job affects compensation to a large degree, with those in New York earning the highest incomes at $38,072 to $53,291, followed by Las Vegas at $34,782 to $48,533. Those in Los Angeles get $33,910 to $45,299, while those in Chicago earn $34,175 to $43,085. Those in Boston make $36,541 $47,866, while those in Orlando receive $35,884 to $45,777. As for states, New York pays the most at $34,084 to $49,705, followed by New Jersey at $37,545 to $40,953. Texans earn $31,083 to $41,147, while Californians receive $34,143 to $44,004. Finally, those in Pennsylvania gets $30,391 to $44,915, while those in Massachusetts receive $36,757 to $40,003.


  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for all chefs and head cooks is expected to grow at 6 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is lower than average for all positions. This translates to a lower than average growth in salary, except in upscale restaurants where competition is strongest for the highest compensation. Employees with expertise in business may find the greatest opportunities, especially in restaurant chains where keeping costs in line are important.

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