Sous Chef Salary – What Are Your Culinary Skills Worth?

By Sydney A. Jackson

Are you considering a professional culinary career? One of the first things you may want to know is the earnings potential. A talented chef can earn six figures a year, but what about a sous chef salary? This lesser position can pay quite well, depending on where you choose to work. It is also a good way to enter the culinary field and begin working your way up to a head chef position.

The average salary of a sous chef, working for a major US hotel chain, is somewhere in the mid $40,000 range, with the low end around $32,000. The higher end of the scale is around $50,000. (source:

Sous chefs are given a lot of responsibility for their salary and will work long hours. They are second- in-command in the kitchen, and if the head chef is ever out of the kitchen, they are expected to take over. This includes overseeing all the staff and their activities. It is very important that they are familiar with all jobs in the kitchen in the event that problems arise.

Normally a sous chef must possess great interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to showcase his or her culinary skills. The bigger the kitchen (or if it is a very notable one), the higher the salary potential, since there is also more responsibility.

The key to compensation is not always the base salary amount. Depending on who you are working for, other benefits will increase the value of your compensation package. Things such as medical benefits, dental benefits, and low cost or free hotel rooms, especially if you are working for one of the large hotel chains.

Other perks may also include the chance to work at international locations. It could be very rewarding to work at a large chain in Tahiti, Bora Bora, maybe Tokyo, Hong Kong or even in Paris. There is really not a price tag you can place on an opportunity to work abroad.

The last thing that will also affect a sous chef’s salary is the education and training. If you have formal training from a culinary institute, such as the Culinary Institute of America, it will likely increase your earnings potential.(Read about culinary arts schools) Even with formal training, salaries also depend on the type of degree you obtain. Pay rates between the different types of culinary degrees may be as much as $8,000 annually. So on your way to becoming a top chef, you will encounter salary ranges that vary depending on your title, who you work for, and where the job is located.

Considering a culinary arts career? Click the following link to investigate your training options,

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