Landing a job as a country club chef of any type generally means that you will have a stable job with long -- but fairly regular -- working hours, and one that pays well. Just how well it pays depends on a few variables, including job title, location and the general health of the restaurant industry in a given year.
Type of Country Club Chef
Depending on the size of the country club, any country club can have multiple types of chefs employed. An executive chef, who is in charge of the kitchen -- and may, in some cases, be an owner of the country club -- averaged $86,883 in 2010, according to the annual StarChefs salary survey. Meanwhile, a chef de cuisine -- chef in charge of the savory part of the kitchen -- averaged $69,646 for the same time period. Pastry chefs in country club kitchens averaged $61,611, while sous chefs -- chefs who are second in command in savory kitchens -- averaged $40,846.
How Salaries Have Changed
As with other industries, country club chef salary averages change from year to year. However, the StarChefs survey notes that country club chefs, on the whole, took less of a hit from a struggling economy in the U.S. in 2010, when compared to other types of chefs. Still, fluctuations can be large. In 2008, the average country club executive chef salary was $81,328, while in 2009, it rose to $91,860 before dipping slightly in 2010. Meanwhile, club pastry chef salaries rose slightly from 2009 to 2010, as they averaged $61,167 in 2009. Pastry chef data for 2008 was not recorded separately in that year’s StarChefs survey.
Salaries for chefs in general vary greatly by location, and this includes country club chefs. In 2010, the average salary for an executive chef in New Jersey was $86,714, while it was only $76,389 in California. As with other professions, the real value of this salary is offset by the cost of living in any local area. In 2009, while the restaurant and hospitality profession was booming, an executive chef in New York averaged $91,356, while a Florida-based executive chef averaged $87,475.
The overall outlook for chef jobs of all types, including country club chefs, will be good through at least 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are interested in this career path, be aware that competition for positions of increasing responsibility -- especially well-paid positions -- will likely be fierce. It is possible to rise to a chef-level position without culinary school; however, a degree in culinary arts or baking and patisserie is helpful. Practical experience is greatly valued in all professional kitchens, and it is possible to rise to chef positions through experience, hard work and merit, even if you do not have a degree. Whether you have a degree or not, be prepared to spend years honing your skills on the job before you rise to a chef’s level of responsibility.