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Chefs and Head Cooks

Chefs and Head Cooks
Quick Facts : Chefs and Head Cooks*
2010 Median Pay$40,630
Entry Level EducationHigh school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 2012100,600
Job Outlook-1% (Little or no change)
Employment Change-800


Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants or other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns. Chefs use a variety of kitchen and cooking equipment, including step-in coolers, high-quality knives, meat slicers, and grinders. Some chefs use scheduling and purchasing software to help them in their administrative duties.

What Chefs and Head Cooks Do

  • Develop recipes and determine how to present the food
  • Plan menus and ensure uniform serving sizes and quality of meals
  • Hire, train, and supervise cooks and other food preparation workers
  • Order and maintain inventory of food and supplies needed to ensure efficient operations
  • Monitor sanitation practices and ensure that kitchen safety standards are followed 

Work Environment

Chefs work in restaurants, private households, and other places where food is served. They often work early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be hectic and fast paced. Most chefs work full time.
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Job Outlook

Employment of chefs and head cooks is projected to experience little or no change from 2010 to 2020, however, employment growth will be tempered as many restaurants, in an effort to lower costs, use lower-level cooks to perform the work normally done by chefs and head cooks.
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Pay

In May 2010, the average salary of chefs and head cooks was $40,630.
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Chefs and Head Cooks*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Chefs and Head Cooks

40630

Food Services Occupations

25491.0

All Jobs in the U.S.

52312.5223
Chefs and Head Cooks*
Percent Change in Employment

Chefs and Head Cooks

-0.795229

Food Services Occupations

5.989887148141861

All Jobs in the U.S.

15.767561808929724

Becoming a Chefs and Head Cooks

A growing number of chefs and head cooks receive formal training at community colleges, technical schools, culinary arts schools, and 2-year or 4-year institutions. Most chefs acquire their skills through work experience. A few learn through apprenticeship programs or in the armed forces.
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