The Salary of a Five-Star Chef

Five-star chefs turn food into art.
Five-star chefs turn food into art. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Five-star chefs are experts at preparing fine food and are paid best by high-end restaurants, hotels or private individuals, according to "Star Chefs" magazine. An executive chef at a five-star restaurant can easily earn up to $100,000 per year. Salaries are influenced by location, experience, restaurant rating and the position of the chef. A five-star chef is responsible for preparing, seasoning and cooking exceptional food.

Salaries by Industry

Restaurants and hotels with a five-star luxury environment pay their chefs upward of $100,000 annually, according to, as of 2011. A five-star chef in the catering business with high-profile clientele can earn upwards of $200,000 annually. A top chef serving the armed forces may earn up to $90,000 annually.

Salaries by Establishment

Where you work affects your salary as a five-star chef. A top chef earns an average annual income of $84,443 in an upscale hotel; $81,328 in a private or county club; $74,620 in an independent fine-dining establishment and $62,986 in an upscale casual restaurant, according to "Star Chefs."

Salaries by Location

A top chef makes top wages in the state of New York, where the average salary of an executive chef is $81,600. While New York reigns as the highest-paying state, Miami, Florida, is the highest-paying city, with an average annual income of $90,333. California pays its top chefs an annual income of $77,552, while Florida pays $74,841.

Salaries by Experience

As of 2011, the average annual salary of a five-star executive chef is $47,000, according to Simply Hired. The average salary of a five-star chef increases with years of experience. A five-star chef with five to eight years of experience earns an average salary of $52,579; nine to 12 years, $62,841; 13 to 15 years, $74,459; 16 to 20 years; $77,439; 21 to 25 years, $74,188; and 26 to 30 years, $90,313.

National Averages

The national average hourly salary for a top-chef is $21,530, and the median annual income is $44,780, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent earn $70,960 yearly, or $34.11 hourly; the top 25 percent earn $54,350 yearly, or $26.13 hourly; 50 percent earn $40,630 yearly, or $19.53 hourly and the bottom 25 percent earn $30,540 yearly, or $14.69 hourly. The bottom 10 percent earn $23,260 yearly, or $11.80 hourly.

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