Chef Salaries Dropped In 2008
Celebrity chefs may make a fortune but chefs across the country make more modest salaries and those salaries got a little smaller in 2008. StarChefs.com, the online magazine for culinary insiders, recently conducted its fourth annual Salary Survey and found that after four years of increases culinary industry salaries dropped. Executive chef salaries went from $77,611 to $74,869, a drop of 3.5 percent. Chef/owners saw an even bigger decline, a change of 9.7 percent, from $94,288 to $85,179. But even they aren't suffering as much as the pastry chefs. The masters of sugar and chocolate saw their salaries slide nearly 13 percent from an average of $53,017 to $46,228 below the US median household income of $50,740.
If you want to make money as a chef, aside from getting your own television show or book deal, the money is in being an executive chef at a country club or a hotel where salaries are significantly higher. A hotel executive chef makes an average of $84,443, a country club chef makes $81,328 but an executive chef at an independent fine dining restaurant brings in an average of $74,620. Chefs in big cities make the most but surprisingly Miami has the highest reported average salary for executive chefs at $90,333. You can read the full report at the Starchefs website.
Given the current state of the economy and the fact that many are looking to take dining out off their lists of expenses, 2009 isn't likely to bring an uptick in these numbers.