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Book Sheds Details on Chef Salaries

From Pamela Parseghian, Nation's Restaurant News: Rick Smilow, president and chief executive of the Institute of Culinary Education, takes a look at the salaries earned by chefs and other culinary professionals in an upcoming book called "Culinary Careers."

Nation's Restaurant News got a sneak peek at a proof copy of the book, which offers advice on "how to get your dream job in food." In it, Smilow writes that executive chefs in some of the nation's top restaurants or large restaurant companies can earn up to six-figure salaries.

Jo-Lynne Lockley, owner of Chefs' Professional Agency, a San Francisco-based recruiter, said in the book that executive chefs make $70,000 to $140,000, while sous chefs earn between $45,000 and $50,000.

Smilow and his co-author, Anne E. McBride, profile various people who work in the restaurant industry, from executive chefs to line cooks, many of whom revealed either their own salaries or general information about salaries in their respective fields.

Examples in the book include:

  • Joseph Wrede, chef and partner in Taos Restaurant Group, which has five restaurants in New Mexico and Colorado, said he makes “$150,000 base salary, plus profit sharing.”
  • Graham Elliot Bowles, a chef-owner of Graham Elliot in Chicago, said cooks in Chicago on average earn around $30,000, with chefs earning about twice that amount.
  • Jason Gronlund, a research and development chef with Tabasco who works with restaurant chains and food companies, said individuals in his area can make “up to $200,000 for executive positions.”
  • Chris Hanmer, executive pastry chef of the Ritz-Carlton in Las Vegas, said salaries in the pastry area range from $80,000 to $100,000.
  • Another pastry chef, Kimberly Schwenke of 312 in Chicago, said that the range can go from $35,000 to $50,000 “depending on what you are doing and the type of property.”
  • Katie Button, a former line cook at Bazaar by José Andrés in Beverly Hills, Calif., who was on her way to cook at Ferran Adria’s elBulli in Roses, Spain, said the salary range for a person at her level is between “free to $15.50 an hour.”

"Culinary Careers" is scheduled to be published this May by Clarkson Potter.

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