What does a Chef do?

Chefs can be found at the heart of every kitchen. Chefs can be employed by restaurants, hospitals, schools, office complexes, private person or any other place that has a kitchen. A Chef is responsible for the preparation of a wide variety of cuisines. Some Chefs specialize in a particular area of the food industry, and some adopt a variety of styles. The goal of any Chef is to prepare food that is tasty and people enjoy eating

There are no specific education requirements to hold a position as a Chef. A person's experience and quality of cooking are enough to land a job at most establishments. For higher-profile employment, a degree in culinary arts is highly preferred. These degrees are obtained from local colleges, vocational institutions or dedicated culinary arts schools. Working as a chef can be a high-pressure career. Possessing good organizational and time management skills will ensure success in this field.

What responsibilities are common for Chef jobs?
  • Collaborate with kitchen management on menu items
  • Attend all staff meetings
  • Prep kitchen before meal times
  • Prepare menu items as ordered
  • Ensure proper preparation of all food to be served
  • Assist head chef with large projects when requested
  • Maintain a clean kitchen at all times
  • Work in a safe and efficient manner
What are the typical qualifications for Chef jobs?
  • Degree in the Culinary Arts (preferred)
  • 3+ years in a kitchen environment
  • Understanding of different culinary profiles and techniques
  • Capable of following instructions without variation
  • Ability to regularly lift 35 lbs
  • A desire to learn new flavors and techniques
  • The capability to work safely, efficiently and neatly
  • Willingness to work nights and weekends
  • Comfortable working long shifts of up to 12 hrs
EducationAssociate's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.2 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

How much does a Chef make near United States?

$57,347 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Chef Career Path

Learn how to become a Chef, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Adjunct Chef
Head Chef

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Chef Insights

Read what Chef professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Merrill GardensMerrill Gardens
Executive Chef
Jan 25, 2022

“I really enjoy working here at Merrill Gardens because of the residents who are so approachable and friendly.”

Fairmont Hotels & ResortsFairmont Hotels & Resorts
Sous Chef
Nov 25, 2022

“Depending on who your manager is you will have a really good or really bad experience.”

The Hideout Lodge & Guest RanchThe Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch
Head Chef
Jan 11, 2023

“The housing is top notch and the owners always let you know where you stand.”

Danesfield House Hotel and SpaDanesfield House Hotel and Spa
Head Chef
Oct 8, 2021

“Poor rates of pay for more junior staff for what is ultimately and ‘out of the way’ hotel.”

Union Square Hospitality GroupUnion Square Hospitality Group
Sous Chef
Nov 11, 2021

“Work and life balance is the best I ever had in all my years in the industry.”

Feb 9, 2023

“The TOUR is comprised of some of the best people and leadership I've ever met in my professional career.”

Kneaders Bakery & CafeKneaders Bakery & Cafe
Pastry Chef
Jun 20, 2022

“Pay was barely acceptable based on my experience but you possibly get a raise twice a year”

Sepia (IL)Sepia (IL)
Chef De Parties
Sep 22, 2023

“The pay was bad when I was there but there have been improvements according to friends”

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Chef Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of chefs

In the typical day of a chef, these professionals are responsible for overseeing kitchen operations, which includes preparing food, and managing staff and inventory. Head chefs create menus and supervise prep, while other chef positions work at various food stations.

Being a chef can be a rewarding career. The best part about working as a chef is the opportunity to delight restaurant goers with your culinary creativity. It takes time and effort to get established, but the trade-off is the opportunity to work at many places like catered events, hotels, and specialty restaurants.

Chefs starting out may not make great money, but income increases as you gain experience and move up in your career. The average pay for a chef in the U.S. is $57,347 per year. Salaries can change based off of what kind of restaurant you might work for or if you decide to go and become a private chef.

When becoming a chef, keep in mind the physical demands of the job, as kitchen work requires long hours on your feet and a lot of repetitive movements. Kitchen atmospheres can be stressful, especially during peak hours, and most chefs work nights and weekends.

Related Careers

Executive Chef
Sous Chef
13% skills overlap
General Manager
No skills overlap
Food Service Manager
13% skills overlap

Chef Jobs