What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Chef?
Many people who love to cook or bake turn their hobbies into careers in the culinary field. Some go to culinary schools to take culinary courses such as 2-year associate's degree programs or 4-year college degree programs. Well-prepared and professionally trained chefs are always in high demand and have little difficulty finding employment at food service establishments such as restaurants, hotels, resorts, country clubs, schools, hospitals, cruise ships and anywhere in between.
Just about every restaurant has a head chef that works or supervises the kitchen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chef positions are expected to grow 10% faster than the average employment rate, and in 2016, there were nearly 150,000 chefs in the US. Some chefs who work on cruise ships enjoy traveling to different places while on the job, while others find employment at food services establishments overseas. Chefs can find available jobs nearly anywhere they want to go and can enjoy long-term employment once they find jobs that match their skills and interests.
Salary ranges differ widely for chefs. The 2018 median salary for chefs was roughly $59,000, although chefs who hold leadership or management positions can often earn substantially more. Some who work as executive chefs for 5-star hotels and first-class restaurants can earn an annual income that approaches or exceeds the six digits. A few handfuls turn into millionaires by becoming celebrities and operating several restaurants bearing their names, while others start their own cookware and utensil lines, write cookbooks, judge cooking events and work as regular magazine contributors. They turn their passion into a lucrative business once they make it to the limelight. These celebrity chefs earn royalties from books and additional income from show appearances. Even though not everyone can be a celebrity chef, the income that a chef brings is competitive with most average occupations.
Chefs can work up the ladder by gaining more experience. They can start as prep cooks and become short-order cooks, line chefs, sous chefs, executive chefs and corporate chefs. Some can become culinary teachers while others may choose to work as private chefs for affluent individuals. In addition, a chef can start his own restaurant or catering business and become his own boss. The job outlook for chefs is, according to the BLS, positive. with substantial growth in the coming decade for these positions.
Most chefs feel drawn to the culinary world because of their passion for food and creating wonderful experiences for guests. For many, it's not just a job or a career, it's a lifelong calling. Working as a chef opens endless opportunities to grow professionally, meet dynamic and interesting people, experiment with your craft, work in different environments, and for some, to travel the world doing what they love. What could be better than that?