The salary for a chef is determined by a great many things: The position of the chef, as in head chef, sous chef, or assistant chef accounts for the base salary. Other variables, such as location, experience, and the restaurant rating, all factor in the pay and benefits package. The salary is also rated according to the classification of the chef.
The pastry chef has a degree from a culinary institute and two to four years of experience in the kitchen. The job requires the chef to be creative and skilled in pastries and baked goods. An experienced pastry chef is an artist who yields wonderful masterpieces from the kitchen. The salary range for a pastry chef starts at $34,000 and goes to a little over $51,000. There are benefits packages which offer incentive to what some would call a lower pay scale.
The sous chef is in charge when the executive chef is not present. The sous chef is experienced in running a kitchen and managing the staff, as well as being a skilled chef. The starting salary for the sous chef ranges from $35,000 to just under $40,000. More experience results in a higher pay scale.
The assistant chef works closely with the head chef when preparing the menu. The assistant must be experienced in the workings of the kitchen and staff members. The assistant chef creates dishes that complement the chef's entrees. The average salary for an assistant chef is around $35,000 annually.
Because of the food preparation requirements for fish, a sushi chef must be trained in the art of Japanese cuisine. There are health issues and certain safe food handling practices that must be strictly adhered to when creating sushi. The salary for the sushi chef can start at $25,000 for someone with little experience and grow to $70,000 for a sushi chef with years of experience.
The executive chef has earned the title through years of training and experience. The executive chef oversees the entire workings of the kitchen and staff. They prepare the menus, determines which ingredients will be used, creates new recipes, and stays abreast with what is happening in the food service industry. The executive chef with a short time of experience in the kitchen starts out averaging $50,000 or more a year. As their experience and reputation grow, the salary can increase to over $85,000 annually. The higher figures are generally offered by five star hotels and restaurants in the larger cities.
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