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Date Posted: 27 August 2021
What is a typical chef salary in Australia?
Being a Chef can be one of the most rewarding jobs out there, but you work harder than most. So knowing what to expect before accepting a position is necessary to your well-being and longevity of your career.
While lifestyle and passion are crucial factors to weigh up in a job, you can’t ignore the basics: money.
How much a typical Chef’s salary depends on several factors, including experience, location and position. Here, we’ll break it down based on different chef roles, so that you can get a solid idea of how much you could (or should) make as a Chef.
Not only is this the most senior role in a kitchen, but it’s also the highest-paying.
Based on neuvoo reporting, an entry-level Executive Chef may start around $80,000. In comparison, Senior Executive Chefs can make up to $120,000. The average wage for the position in Australia is $97,500.
Skills that can lead to increased pay (Source: Payscale):
The Head Chef title seems to be the most confused for many businesses. Some may interchange Executive and Head Chef as the same role, while some small venues may require a single Chef to run their kitchen and hire a Head Chef to work the kitchen on their own.
For this reason, the title Head Chef expected salary is the toughest to nail down and receives the largest sliding scale. Glassdoor reports $72,237; Indeed $75,819 and Neuvoo reports $72,500.
The reality; as with most things, is you get what you pay for. Therefore, if you're an experienced Head Chef, running a larger kitchen Brigade look at the higher end of that scale and beyond. Certainly looking at SEEK, there are Head Chef jobs that eclipse these figures (albeit less in these challenging times). As noted, the Head Chef and Executive Chef titles can be interchangeable. Meaning you may be looking at a wage of $80,000 - $120,000 dependant on experience.
Read this article to learn more about the responsibilities of a Head Chef.
As with Executive and Head Chefs, the Sous Chef is often paid a salary given the role's importance in the kitchen.
For a Sous Chef with less than one year of experience, this salary may start at around $55,000. The average Australian wage for a Sous Chef is reported by Indeed as $69,129 and Neuvoo as $66,000. While most experienced Sous' can make up to $106,250 per year. These top salaries may carry with it the title of Executive Sous Chefs and involve running Brigades in larger establishments.
Skills that can lead to increased pay:
Nail the Sous role, by reading our guide on how to be a good Sous Chef.
Commis Chefs are often paid on a casual basis.
To make it easier to compare, however, we’ve translated these hourly rates into yearly amounts below. When a commis chef first starts, they can expect to make around $21.16 per hour for their first year of employment. This increases to $23.31 per hour on average for those with more experience, reaching about $24.60 per hour.
Again, the below are just averages, and larger establishments, which may require different skill sets than smaller ones are likely to pay more, but as expected, positions are more competitive. Looking at SEEK, it would not be unreasonable to command a salary of $60k+ as a Commis.
If you’re starting as a commis chef, Perth is a good place for you to be in terms of money. As you go up in the ranks, however, Sydney is where Chefs command higher salaries.
For Executive, Head and Sous Chefs, you are most likely to receive higher pay in Sydney, followed by the larger cities. Not to mention the high volume of restaurants in the city will give you plenty of options when it comes to finding a venue that suits your cooking style.
Generally speaking, and as expected, the more experience you get as a chef, the higher the salary you can expect. If you’re starting as a commis, you should always push yourself to learn more and do better so that you can get the more coveted roles of Sous, Head and Executive Chef. If you try hard enough, you can always succeed, it’s just like following a recipe!
New to the Chef role? Here are some great tips for new chefs.
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