Everyone wants to be a chef these days. As we know, if you play your cards right as a chef, you can get your own TV show, rack up a number of endorsement deals, hang with the Obamas, and even become an honorary member of Academy Award-winning hip hop group.
But while the profession certainly has been glamorized a lot in the media over the past few years, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the job requires a lot of skill, long, grueling hours, and sometimes less than adequate pay. For anyone considering a culinary future, a book will be released soon by the president of the Institute of Culinary Education that sheds some light on just how much money chefs make. Nation's Restaurant News got an advance copy of the new book, Culinary Careers, and has leaked some of the salary statistics.
-- Molecular gastronomy whiz-kid Graham Elliot Bowles says that the starting salary at his eponymous Chicago restaurant is around $30,000 a year, and nearly twice that for chefs that have been promoted to higher ranks in the kitchen.The book notes that average price range of a big city sous chef is somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000 a year, and $70,000 to $140,000 for an executive chef. All the rest will be revealed when Culinary Careers pubs in May.
-- A pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton in Las Vegas says that pastry chefs at a fine dining restaurant like the Ritz can make anywhere from $80,000 to $100,000, yearly.
-- Katie Button, an ex-line cook at Jose Andres's Bazaar in LA who was planning trip to Spain to work at El Bulli notes that the salary at a restaurant of that caliber is anywhere from “free to $15.50 an hour.”