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Starting Pay for Chefs

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone! Every now and again I have come back here to see whats up but FINALLY I have began my future as a chef. As most of you would not know, my uncle is a well known chef and has done it all and owns his own place. Well he decided to open a new restaurant and that's when I decided college sucks and it's time to work on the things that have worked for me: cooking.

So anyway I am lucky enough to have recieved a position in his restaurant as starting as pantry chef and I am learning it all. He thought that was best to do before Culinary School (CIA).

Anywho I am fortunate enough to work with 4 CIA grads basically draining their 50k education for free! I have been working for about 2 weeks now and already I'm jumping on the line working my way up.

ANYWAY, my question for all of you is, what should I be looking at as far as hourly pay? I have about 4 years experience in the kitchen but obviously am not a chef more of a good line cook. I feel I should be somewhere in the 12-20 range.

Am I way off or what?
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
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Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
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post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 
Oh I am NOT recieving benefits of any kind other than the education I am learning and **** I have a notebook that I write in every night kind of a journal/recipes book. It's amazing how hands on can make you learn so much!
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
Reply
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
Reply
post #3 of 20
$20 is high but it all depends on location. In smaller towns it's not uncommon for starting pay to be $0.50 above minimum wage.
post #4 of 20
unfortunately true for many larger towns also....
post #5 of 20
When I lived in Chicago most all cooks that I knew were under $12 with an average being around $9.50 for more experienced cooks and $7.50-8 for less experienced cooks.
post #6 of 20
Up here starting wage is 9-10 dollars per hour, 10-14 for experienced cooks. 12-20 sounds very high for starting pay, a sous-chef would be very lucky to be making 20 an hour around here...
post #7 of 20
Pete and MikeB sound like they are in the right range.
I'm a bit more generous, at times, though: I've been known to offer $10 more than the average to an inexperienced chef because her breasts were bigger than my pair of woks imported from China
post #8 of 20
That may be Paul, but maybe you shouldn't publicize that. Think of this forum as an open kitchen.
post #9 of 20
:suprise: :suprise: :suprise: Don't know that that is something I'd be advertising or proud of!!!!:suprise: :suprise: :suprise:
post #10 of 20
Wow:suprise:
post #11 of 20

Starting pay

We are constantly plagued by guys like Paul: one short-lived competitor was paying $25 per hour for hotties he would meet in coffee bars. He passed the cost on to his clients, somehow. He has recently moved to Columbus, so look out, Ohio.

We were stuck one time, and hired a passle of his workers at his prices. Some were actually good, and continue to work for us at $15....but they don't work all the time. The guys that work everyday, all the time, 60 hours... are in the $10-15 range. And prep is $8 to 10.

Be grateful.....my sous chef is Spain right now, fighting for a spot on the line at a one-star. He lives in a tiny room with four dudes, all with ten years experience at high level places......and he is paid 8eu per day. To get into a three-star, you have to commit to a year of that, minimum.

Ultimate irony: the really hot workers my former competitor was lusting after.......all shopping on the other side of the aisle. There is a god, and she has a sense of humor.
post #12 of 20
I have a question about this, one seeking some clarification.

Starting cooks make $8/hour. Is this an actual per hour rate, meaning if I were to work 60 hours, I'd make $460, or even 80 and make $640?

Or, is the $8/hour figure based on an annual salary, meaning that I'd bring home $320/week, no matter how many hours I work?

OR, or, does this differ from place to place?

Sorry if this seems like a bone-headed question, but I just want to know what to expect.


thanks,
dan
post #13 of 20
$8 an hour, means just that, $8 an hour. If you work 40 hours you get paid $320 and if you work 20 hours you get paid $160. But don't forget 1 and half for any hours worked over 40 hours per week. Many states nowadays have laws regulating who can be paid a "salary". This is to keep unscrupulous operators from paying low salaries and working employees 60-80 hours a week. In most states now, to be paid a salary you must supervise people and/or spend a certain portion of your day doing administrative duties.
post #14 of 20
i want 20 an hour...
"Human that has eaten human must taste that much sweeter..."
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"Human that has eaten human must taste that much sweeter..."
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post #15 of 20
If you do the schedule while plating a banquet does it count as supervising and administrative? :D
post #16 of 20
Paul: Please don't tell me that you give lots of hands-on training. But DO tell me that you train, mentor, and give your hires a range of experience that allows them to move up in the kitchen. That's what it should all be about.

As for me, in New York City: My first job as a pantry cook after I finished culinary school in 1996 paid $7.50 an hour, extra for more than 40 hours and you can be sure I had to fight to get that extra. Next, as a catering manager, I was on salary at $28,000/year, which worked out to $13.46/hour for 40 hours (which I rarely worked; usually more, of course). Back to a restaurant: started at garde manger at $475/week (always more than 40 hours), ended as grillman at $525; then I got the title of Pastry Chef, making $600/week (whereas my predecessor had made $750, but he had much more experience and training in pastry than I; but still . . . ). Next couple of restaurants paid $575/week for line cook/tournant. To work on opening a resto with a chef I very much admired, I took a cut and received $100 per shift, which was more than anyone else received (except for the sous chefs). Took another cut to work with another very good chef, to $480/week. As Kitchen Manager for a manufacturer, supervising a staff of 2 to 5, I started at $32,500/yr (would have equalled $15.62 if I'd only worked 40 hours instead of the close-to 80 since I also had to do R&D) and ended at $35,000 (a theoretical 16.82). In my last line jobs in late 2001 and early 2002, I was back to the equivalent of $13.00/hour. NO BENEFITS IN ANY OF THESE JOBS, EVER. NO OVERTIME (except the very first). And at one job, the owner stiffed the entire staff -- including the chef and sous -- out of several weeks' pay. Such is life on the line.

Now I use all that training and experience (plus everything else I've learned in every other job) doing editorial work on cookbooks and other writing, for $20 to $28/hour, and I get paid for every hour I work in the comfort of my office or at the publisher's office. Do I miss working the line? Every day, and never.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #17 of 20
Paul is obviously a neanderthal who forgot to make the jump into the 21st century.

topchef
post #18 of 20
Let us all keep in mind the educational forum in which we participate. Some insight may vary from our own, however the spirit of which should be grounded in common sense and respect for all of our community members.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #19 of 20
Kuan, you're my hero!!!!!!:smoking: :smoking: :smoking:
post #20 of 20
Ahh, thanks for the clarificaiton. This is what I was trying to ask about before. But apparently, my brain went on hiatus. I would say it's back now except that I'm considering auditioning for FOX's new season of ****'s Kitchen.

kidding!


-dan
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