Get Rich Quick!
Or maybe not. The 2008 StarChefs.com Salary Survey is a detailed and intriguing look at the economics of the restaurant business for those in the kitchen. The quick take-aways:
- Salaries for executive chefs are down (3.5% from last year), averaging $74,869.
- Salaries for pastry chefs are way down (13%), averaging $46,228 - guess we're all skipping desssert more often.
- Sous chef salaries are actually going up (5% from last year), averaging $44,205.
- Miami is the place to be. Executive chef salaries in Miami, at an average of $90K+, are higher than any other city noted in the survey, including NY, LA, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.
- Doing a stage in a working kitchen (especially one outside the U.S.) may be a better investment than culinary school. While culinary school grads actually make less on average than their uneducated brethren (just kidding!), chefs who have worked outside the U.S. make nearly 20% more than their peers who have never ventured abroad.
- Maybe not getting rich so quick after all - executive chefs with 5-8 years of experience are not getting close to that $75K average, instead their average salary is $52,579. It's only those with 13+ years of experience that are making in the $75K range.
- Kitchens are still, by and large, sausage fests. 78% of the 1,000+ survey respondents were men, and male exec chefs are earning nearly $15K more than women.
- Slackers need not apply. Most culinary professionals are working 9-11 hours a day and 50+ hours a week, with more than 16% working 65+ hours a week.