Culinary Careers

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If you are considering a career in culinary arts, you are probably wondering what positions are available and where you might work. The following is an overview of different culinary careers as well as the salaries that you can expect:

Executive Chef – $55,000 to $90,000

The executive chef is responsible for coming up with menu items, choosing ingredients, managing supplies, and overseeing kitchen workers. Depending on where you find a position as an executive chef, you may oversee more than one kitchen. Some executive chefs are assisted by a sous chef. Read more about becoming an Executive Chef.

Sous Chef – $30,00 to $55,000

The title sous chef comes from the French word for “under”. The sous chef serves as the second in command under an executive chef. Depending where you work, most of your duties will be managerial, overseeing the kitchen for the chef. You may assist with cooking and “expediting,” which is ensuring that orders are prepared in the correct sequence for timely delivery to customers. In this position, you will gain valuable experience in the industry. Read more on becoming a Sous Chef.

Pastry Chef – $45,000 to $72,000

A Pastry chef is usually in charge of a bakery or is responsible for creating baked goods and desserts for a larger restaurant. In this position, you will be responsible for creating menu items, ordering supplies, managing kitchen workers, and selecting ingredients. You may also work as part of a larger chain of restaurants, providing menu items and training chefs at a number of kitchens to create desserts and baked items. Read more about becoming a Pastry Chef.

Assistant Cook – $20,000 to $30,000

As a cooking assistant, you will be in charge of a specific station in the kitchen, such as the meat or vegetable station. You will prepare food under the guidance of an executive and/or sous chef, and as instructed by kitchen management. Your salary can vary greatly based on the complexity of your job and the location where you are employed. Read more about becoming an Assistant Cook.

Line Cook – $20,000 to $28,000

Line cook positions are often the entry level job for a culinary school graduate. Line cooks are responsible for preparing food as directed by the chef and management. Line cooks are employed everywhere from chain restaurants to exclusive private eateries. Your salary will depend greatly on where you are able to obtain your first job. Read more about becoming a Line Cook.

Restaurant Manager – $35,000 to $60,000

The job of a restaurant manager is to control all aspects of both front–of–house (dining area) and back-of-house (kitchen). You will be responsible for hiring and managing workers throughout the restaurant from the wait staff to chefs. Responsibilities also include customer service, managing reservations, and overseeing the bar and kitchen functions. Overall, the restaurant manager is responsible for managing all daily operations for the restaurant but will likely not do very much cooking. Read more about becoming a Restaurant Manager.

Hotel Manager – $68,000 to $125,000

A hotel manager can be responsible for a wide variety of functions. You will likely be responsible for customer service, overseeing the hotel kitchen, staffing, ordering, financial affairs, and any other duty that is not performed by your staff. The type of hotel you manage will determine your salary. In general, more luxurious hotels will pay higher salaries. Read more about becoming a Hotel Manager.

Food Scientist – $45,000 to $76,000

A food scientist is employed by companies who produce foods, especially those who market ready-to-eat products. You will be responsible for creating recipes for completed items that can be sold at grocery stores or to restaurants. You may also be involved in developing recipes for new products in retail or foodservice. Read more about becoming a Food Scientist.