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Chef or Head Cook

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What You Need to Know About Chef or Head Cook

Job Description: Direct and may participate in the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.

List of Chef Job Duties

  • Analyze recipes to assign prices to menu items, based on food, labor, and overhead costs.
  • Estimate amounts and costs of required supplies, such as food and ingredients.
  • Check the quantity and quality of received products.
  • Arrange for equipment purchases or repairs.
  • Meet with sales representatives to negotiate prices or order supplies.
  • Record production or operational data on specified forms.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Chef?

Chefs and Head Cooks state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Management of Personnel Resources: Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

  • Cook Manager
  • Cuisine Chef
  • Chef de Cuisine
  • Line Cook
  • Passenger Vessel Chef

Job Demand for Chefs and Head Cooks

There were about 146,500 jobs for Chef or Head Cook in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 9.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 14,100 new jobs for Chef or Head Cook by 2026. The BLS estimates 20,300 yearly job openings in this field.

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The states with the most job growth for Chef are Utah, Arizona, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, Maine, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Chefs and Head Cooks Salary

The typical yearly salary for Chefs and Head Cooks is somewhere between $26,320 and $81,150.

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Chefs and Head Cooks who work in New Jersey, Hawaii, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Chefs and Head Cooks in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $48,360
Alaska $51,990
Arizona $43,240
Arkansas $45,780
California $51,400
Colorado $50,980
Connecticut $58,830
Delaware $59,330
District of Columbia $65,780
Florida $52,350
Georgia $52,890
Hawaii $74,510
Idaho $38,590
Illinois $51,800
Indiana $49,450
Iowa $42,280
Kansas $40,510
Kentucky $50,930
Louisiana $45,730
Maine $52,200
Maryland $53,040
Massachusetts $56,330
Michigan $52,230
Minnesota $51,990
Mississippi $48,330
Missouri $54,300
Montana $48,290
Nebraska $44,180
Nevada $56,290
New Hampshire $53,610
New Jersey $70,260
New Mexico $50,220
New York $56,020
North Carolina $50,690
North Dakota $46,320
Ohio $41,070
Oklahoma $44,410
Oregon $46,790
Pennsylvania $57,630
South Carolina $40,820
South Dakota $48,280
Tennessee $47,750
Texas $53,170
Utah $43,590
Vermont $45,590
Virginia $54,760
Washington $57,680
West Virginia $54,500
Wisconsin $47,210
Wyoming $54,590

What Tools do Chefs and Head Cooks Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Chefs and Head Cooks:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Email software
  • Facebook
  • Delphi Technology
  • Internet browser software
  • Culinary Software Services ChefTec
  • Axxya Systems Nutritionist Pro
  • SoftCafe MenuPro
  • EGS CALCMENU
  • ADP eTIME
  • Menu planning software
  • ReServe Interactive
  • Sage MAS 90 ERP
  • GNOME Gnutrition
  • IPro Restaurant Inventory, Recipe & Menu Software
  • Barrington Software CookenPro Commercial
  • CostGuard

How do I Become a Chef?

What kind of Chef or Head Cook requirements are there?

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Chefs and Head Cooks Sector

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Below are examples of industries where Chefs and Head Cooks work:

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Similar Careers

Those who work as a Chef or Head Cook sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

References:

Image Credit: U.S. Army Europe Images via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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