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How much do top chef's make?

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
How much do top chef's make?

On H3ll's kitchen it said the job Rock got at the Las Vegas resort paid $250k, for a chef of his caliber with a little more experience how likely is a salary in the 6 figure range at a fancy retaurant/resort?
post #2 of 54
in STL which top chefs are making 6 figures
pastry chef from Bayona's in NO was asking 80k
Emeril wants 100k per stage demo.
cooking with all your senses.....
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post #3 of 54
I would post my salary, but I dont know if other chefs want to post theirs, so I dont want to start something bad.
post #4 of 54
Just wondering what what a line cook just out of school, just done with externship, with some experence, would make just wondering?
post #5 of 54
This has a lot to do with the area you want to work.
Larger cities have more opportunity, and therefore better wages.
A city with a culinary school churns out graduates, and local owners know they can hire and replace cooks very cheaply.
Gambling towns, Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, Tahoe, have great opportunities for the chosen few.
I've heard cruise ships pay well, but I'm not 100% sure, maybe someone else can confirm that.
Here in podunk you're not going to find very high paying jobs, and of the few top tier in the area, once someone has them they try to hang on to them.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #6 of 54
Thread Starter 
No, please don't post it, I just want to get an idea for the industry a whole, like at a 4 or 5 star restaurant, how much the executive chef would make.
post #7 of 54
Zillion factors to consider. The most important one being what the customer is paying for his/her dining experience, second most important being how many staff you're responsible for, third being your track record, fourth being your negotiating power.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #8 of 54
or are you at a country club or private club that has huge member dues....
are you owner/chef?

Then ask quality of life questions.....money is one aspect. This topic has come up several times recently. Being able to create different menus and not go into the kitchen on a daily is important to me. I work hard when I work....when it's slower I have lots of other things to do.
Like this morning is pig head pickup at market day....5 heads, offal etc....
one of STL top chefs is coming in to my kitchen and making scrapple and headcheese just to show me how it's done. Tomorrow is tourring Mo wine country in a bus with another of STL's finest, Monday several chefs are showing up to play with piggy bits and pieces.

You can't put a price tag on this shtuff. Being able to explore and grow is integral to the definition of a good life....
Ok bash away.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 54
Everything depends on the revenue. 40k at a top small bistro doing say $500,000 per year to about 350k at a hotel doing $15 million.
post #10 of 54
There was a chef here in Sydney, Australia a few years back that ran one of the hotels in the city. He was reportly paid over $350k.
post #11 of 54
Realistically, outside of major food metropolis like NYC, you would be doing well to pull twelve bucks an hour.

No vacation, no sick leave, no medical.

In a union environment, you would probably have medical after six months, and might build a little more wage over time.

In many areas, deep south, rust belt, midwest?
You are looking at not much better than minimum wage.

Sorry, but thats the truth the culinary school recruiters and the ACF don't want you to hear.

I'm not trying to discourage you. I'm trying to tell you that two things are necessary:

#1: TOTAL commitment.

#2: A backup plan including training in a secondary trade in case #1 just isn't enough. Because no matter how committed, how skilled, how innovative/talented/handsome/pretty/clever you may be, it can still all go pear shaped for you. This business is fickle, non-sensical, and peculiar.

Lady luck and the harsh mistress are having a constant chick fight every time you walk in the kitchen door.
post #12 of 54
You're right rivetman. I spent 14 years in the classic south of Georgia and had to go to work at an electronic retailer as an inventory/security manager to make more than 40k per year before tax.
I finally got on wit an international food service contractor in healthcare as an EC for the mid forties before tax!!!:beer:
post #13 of 54
Australian dollars?
post #14 of 54
Take it from someone who has worked his way from the East coast to Vegas. The best place to make money in this business is Casino Hotels. The Exec. at the Rio in Vegas makes over 200K. Wolfgang Von Wieser at the Bellagio makes over 500k. These jobs are hard to come by and highly prized, but even the Room chefs at the bigger hotels make 50k-55k plus bonuses based on performance. Running a single restaurant will rarely make you a great living unless you are in a town that warrants Michelin ratings. NY, San Fran, Vegas, LA. I salivate at the idea of only having one restaurant to be responsible for. Currently I have a Steakhouse, 24 hour casual dining, sports bar/pizzeria, 1000 seat banquet facility, room service for 400 rooms and off site catering contracts in five separate venues. When you grow in responsibility level, your salary grows along with it. Don't limit yourself to running one restaurant. That is for your years approaching retirement. When you are young and out to conquer the world you have to take chances and come to a town like Vegas. Even line cooks out here in the union start at about $15.85/hr. Contact me if you want more info about the real Vegas.
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It's Good To Be The King!
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post #15 of 54
Montelago,

I've sent you a PM.
post #16 of 54
She might have asked but I'm sure all she got was laughter and a hand shake.

Here line cooks just started getting payed descent say 11 to 13 an hour to start
sous chefs anywhere around 33 to 36 k and chefs go 50 to 60 k depending on the restaurant
post #17 of 54
This is very true, when we went to job fairs the starting pay was about $7.50 an hour for kitchen grunt, and $12.50 for an Asst. Head Pastry Chef in a MILLIONAIR'S PRIVATE ISLAND resort.

and the hours are brutal, had a very hard time with my experience and age to even get past the interviews.

so they want them young to work them to death..lol

******************************************
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
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Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
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post #18 of 54
Also, Rock never got that salary. It is 100k and it is only for one year. He is not even the chef. He is what we call an assistant room chef. He has a room chef over him just like every restaurant in the casinos. His boss' job was posted on all the employment web sites out here for a month before he even won the show. The girl that won the year before is also an asst. room chef at Red Rock Casino out here. It is all a sham, though I'm sure he is happy with the 100k for a year.
It's Good To Be The King!
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It's Good To Be The King!
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post #19 of 54

In the U.K.

In the U.K, for a top quality and experienced Chef, there is a possibilty of £12/£13+ an hour (about $24/$26)...
I would say mine but I can see that that is not the done thing on this thread, so if you need to know email me!
:chef:
post #20 of 54

As a private chef you can make 40k to more the 100k a year, if you have culinary school training.

post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamuna View Post

As a private chef you can make 40k to more the 100k a year, if you have culinary school training.

I'm not really sure the "culinary training" is an essential prerequisite to become a "top earning private chef", note: I said "training", not "ability", "skill", "experience", or a multitude of other adjectives or modifiers.

 

I would suspect that the key to becoming a top earning private chef is the ability to satisfy your employer's needs and wants, culinary training may "get your foot in the door" but performance is what will decide the size of the check!
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by shroomgirl View Post

or are you at a country club or private club that has huge member dues....
are you owner/chef?

Then ask quality of life questions.....money is one aspect. This topic has come up several times recently. Being able to create different menus and not go into the kitchen on a daily is important to me. I work hard when I work....when it's slower I have lots of other things to do.
Like this morning is pig head pickup at market day....5 heads, offal etc....
one of STL top chefs is coming in to my kitchen and making scrapple and headcheese just to show me how it's done. Tomorrow is tourring Mo wine country in a bus with another of STL's finest, Monday several chefs are showing up to play with piggy bits and pieces.

You can't put a price tag on this shtuff. Being able to explore and grow is integral to the definition of a good life....
Ok bash away.


thats the real key.....how much money do you make for the amount of stress and time you have to put in.....myself, I like to see my family....
 

post #23 of 54

When I semi retired and came to Florida my last job in NY paid 58000 plus leased car every 3 years which was in addition. Plus medical.that was 1990.But about 60 hours a normal week 7 months a year.other part of year about 48 hours week.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #24 of 54

I was making close to 80k as a pastry chef until I got whacked to hire a new culinary graudate for half the salary, go figure.

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post #25 of 54

 PeteMcCracken, I agree with you , but again while searching for the jobs, I could see the difference in compensation, between school trained chefs and once that were unique in there own way. I got culinary education not long ago and can charge my client up to $50 and hour. Before it was anywhere form 25 to 40 dollars. So when speaking  to how much chefs make, This is how it worked for me, In New York.

post #26 of 54

Yeah...but don't forget.  The ones paying more for newly minted culinary graduates vs. experienced non-schooled ones are the HR managers or newly minted owners with no experience themselves. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamuna View Post

 PeteMcCracken, I agree with you , but again while searching for the jobs, I could see the difference in compensation, between school trained chefs and once that were unique in there own way. I got culinary education not long ago and can charge my client up to $50 and hour. Before it was anywhere form 25 to 40 dollars. So when speaking  to how much chefs make, This is how it worked for me, In New York.

Interesting, I've worked as a personal chef/caterer for over 10 years in a city of around 35,000 and I started at $50/hour, currently my hourly rate is a little higher .

 

I will agree, when applying for jobs through an HR department, a "certificate" or "diploma" may improve one's chances of being considered. However, I have serious reservations as to the effect on potential pay rates.

 

NTBS, a "certificate" or "diploma" may boost one's "self confidence" in asking for a higher compensation rate but, IMHO, maintaining a higher rate is highly dependent on one's ability to perform, not one's educational record.


IMHO, culinary schools certainly provide an opportunity to learn those skills that the school deems necessary for the successful performance of the tasks common to food production. Whether one "learns" those tasks is solely dependent on the student.

 

Now, does attending "culinary school" make financial sense? That is the real question!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #28 of 54

Moved this out of the pro forums because well, they are for pros only to post (please respect that everyone).

 

At the height of my career in the 90's I was at 32K a year with health benefits for a large size restaurant. Back in that day if you were making 50K a year as a chef that was a great salary but if you break it down by the hours you put in here is the reality of the situation:

 

I think this is a conservative estimate check my math and see if I am correct.

 

As a chef you will probably:

 

work 6 days a week

12 hours a day

which is 72 hours a week

You work around 3,744 hours a year.

 

 

You make $50,000 a year

which means your only making around $13.35 an hour. If your not getting any health benefits then your making even less.

 

Sadly you can go to McDonalds and make pretty close to that. *Current Illinois minimum wage is $8.25. 

 

I think the tough question anyone needs to ask themselves going into cooking is 13.00 an hour to be a chef worth all the time I will lose with my family?

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Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
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post #29 of 54

Oh, BTW, as a personal chef/caterer, I can not remember any week where I put in more than about 50 hours billable and, on average, probably closer to 16-24 hours per week.

 

What difference does that make? Well, at $50/hour and 16 hours/week, that's

  • $800/week GROSS,
  • less $120 for SS and MediCare (approx 15%)
  • probably $80 for income tax reserve (say 10%, maybe it should be 20%)
  • $50-100 for health insurance (that's $200-$00/month, YMMV),(remember, self-employed do not qualify for State disability or Worker's comp)
  • Say $100 for "unemployment savings", self-employed do NOT qualify for unemployment insurance

 

That alone, which ignores business licenses and permits, liability insurance, health permits, car, equipment, etc., results in a "take-home" of about $500/week or about $25,000/year.

 

Using the average of 2,080 hours/work year (40 hours per week), I'm netting almost $13/hour or about 1/4 of my "hourly rate".

 

Yes, my net DOES increase if I raise my weekly billable hours, but remember, if I'm working, I'm NOT marketing/selling, and if I'm not marketing/selling, I probably won't be "working"

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #30 of 54

Does anyone really do this for the money? If you have the drive and talent, you'll be fine. Life is about trade-offs...and our work is no exception...in 40 years in the trade, only 8 did I work for someone else...and rarely had to do more than a 5 day week=50 hrs...I know this is'nt the norm, it wasn't in 1970...but I was lucky to be hired by a gentleman new to the restaurant-ownership game who believed everyone should have two days off.......okay, iv'e never made 350k a year....but I never dreamed I would make what I have in my lifetime and be so happy doing what I love. Every one has to make the right choices for themselves ......and as someone said earlier...IT'S GOOD TO BE KING1 

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