The Quick Report

10 Jobs for Culinary Degree Graduates and What They Pay

Do you love to prepare meals? Is the kitchen your natural environment? If so, then you may be interested in pursuing a culinary arts degree. This article will examine the 10 highest-paying jobs in the culinary field. Let’s get cooking!

A culinary degree can open the door to a wide variety of career opportunities. Many of these jobs have entry-level roles, while others may require some work experience. Some roles will require further specialized education.

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1. Food Service Director

The average annual salary in the US for a food service director is $85,210.

Food service directors maintain vigilant oversight over the procurement of ingredients. They meticulously select vendors and suppliers who adhere to stringent quality standards. Their watchful eyes scrutinize every aspect of the food preparation process, ensuring that sanitation and hygiene protocols are meticulously followed. From the storage of ingredients to the cleaning of equipment, no stone is left unturned in regards to public health.

Beyond their commitment to food safety, food service directors play a crucial role in optimizing distribution methods. They ensure that meals reach their intended recipients with minimal waste and maximum efficiency. They carefully analyze food consumption patterns, adjusting production schedules and inventory levels to meet the ever-changing demands of their clientele.

2. Food Technologist

The average annual salary in the US for a food technologist is $75,980.

Food technologists scrutinize every aspect of production to guarantee the safety and integrity of the final product. Food technologists often find themselves employed by large corporations. They generally work with a vast array of packaged food items, such as cookies, chips, sodas, and other snack foods. They collaborate closely with marketing teams, consumer research specialists, and production engineers. Food techs help create products that meet consumer preferences and align with the company’s overall brand identity and strategic goals.


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Food technologists play a pivotal role in shaping the modern food landscape. They ensure that the packaged food products we consume are delicious, convenient, and safe.

3. Executive Chef

The average annual salary in the US for an executive chef is $72,450.

Executive chefs meticulously craft and refine menus. This ensures that the culinary offerings align with the restaurant’s concept and appeal to a discerning clientele. Their keen eye for quality extends to the procurement of ingredients and equipment. Theyselect carefully selecting purveyors and suppliers who share their commitment to excellence.

Beyond their culinary prowess, executive chefs play a pivotal role in shaping the culture and atmosphere of the kitchen. They instill a sense of purpose and passion in their team, fostering a collaborative environment where creativity and innovation thrive. Through mentorship and guidance, they impart their knowledge and expertise, empowering their staff to excel in their culinary endeavors.

4. Head Chef

The average annual salary in the US for a head chef is $66,520.

The structure of the kitchen significantly influences the scope of a head chef’s responsibilities. In some establishments, head chefs assume a more hands-on approach. In other kitchens, they may focus more on the operational aspects, overseeing menu development, scheduling, and inventory management.

Regardless, head chefs share a common goal: to foster a kitchen environment where culinary creativity and excellence flourish. They provide guidance and mentorship to their team, empowering them to develop their skills in the kitchen. Through their leadership and expertise, head chefs ensure that every dish that emerges from their kitchen is a testament to their culinary artistry.

5. Pastry Chef

The average annual salary in the US for a pastry chef is $59,350.

Working closely with other chefs, pastry chefs collaborate to design a comprehensive menu that showcases their creativity and skill. Their creations grace the menus of traditional restaurants, catering companies, and bakeries, adding a touch of sweetness to every occasion.

With an innate understanding of the culinary arts, in collaboration with fellow chefs, pastry chefs reign as the architects of sweet delights. They meticulously craft breads, desserts, pastries, and confections that tantalize taste buds and evoke pure joy. Their artistry transforms humble ingredients into edible masterpieces, each creation a testament to their passion and skill.

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6. Food Safety Specialist

The average annual salary in the US for a food safety specialist is $56,560.

Food safety specialists carefully assess the cleanliness of restaurants and food production facilities, scrutinizing every aspect of the operation to identify potential sources of contamination. Their keen eyes spot lapses in sanitation procedures, faulty equipment, and improper storage practices that could harbor harmful pathogens. Through their rigorous inspections and interventions, they play a critical role in protecting patrons from foodborne illnesses.

Food safety specialists extend their vigilance beyond the inspection of premises, venturing into the realm of food testing to ensure the safety of edible products. They meticulously analyze food samples for the presence of harmful microorganisms, utilizing sophisticated laboratory techniques to detect even trace amounts of contaminants. Their efforts provide invaluable assurance that the food we consume meets the highest standards of safety and quality.

7. Restaurant Manager

The average annual salary in the US for a restaurant manager is $49,830.

Restaurant managers monitor the performance of their staff, providing guidance, mentorship, and performance reviews to ensure that each team member contributes to the overall success of the establishment. They foster a culture of teamwork and professionalism, motivating their staff to deliver exceptional service and uphold the highest standards of hospitality.

Their keen eye for detail extends to the realm of operational efficiency. They implement systems that streamline service times, simplify interactions between staff and patrons, and optimize food preparation processes. Through their ingenuity and problem-solving skills, they identify areas for improvement and devise strategies to enhance the overall dining experience.

Restaurant managers also bear responsibility for adhering to safety and cleanliness regulations, ensuring that the establishment operates by all applicable health codes. They conduct regular inspections, monitor sanitation practices, and educate their staff on the importance of maintaining a hygienic environment.

8. Caterer 

The average annual salary in the US for a caterer is $48,640.

At the heart of a caterer’s role lies a deep understanding of their clientele’s preferences and the ability to translate those desires into a delectable menu. Through open communication and attentiveness, they collaborate with clients to craft a culinary tapestry that aligns with the event’s theme and ambiance. Their creativity knows no bounds as they seamlessly blend traditional flavors with innovative twists, ensuring that every dish is a symphony of textures and tastes.

Behind the scenes, caterers orchestrate a meticulous logistical dance, ensuring that every element of the event is executed flawlessly. They wield their mathematical prowess to develop and quote prices for their services, meticulously planning ingredient procurement and ensuring that their culinary creations will satiate even the most discerning palates. With precision and efficiency, they transport and set up their culinary haven, transforming event spaces into gastronomic havens.

9. Sous Chef

The average annual salary in the US for a sous chef is $45,220.

As the right-hand person to the head chef, the sous chef plays a pivotal role in managing the daily operations of the kitchen. They collaborate closely with the head chef to create and refine menus, ensuring that the culinary offerings align with the restaurant’s concept and appeal to a discerning clientele. Their organizational skills are put to the test as they oversee scheduling, inventory management, and the implementation of health and safety protocols.

The sous chef’s responsibilities extend to mentoring and guiding the team of chefs, fostering a culture of excellence and continuous improvement. They provide hands-on instruction, sharing their culinary knowledge and techniques to elevate the skills of their colleagues. Through their leadership and expertise, the sous chef contributes significantly to the success of the kitchen, ensuring that every dish that emerges is a testament to the collective efforts of the culinary team.

10. Culinary Specialist

The average annual salary in the US for a culinary specialist is $38,580.

In the heart of the United States military, culinary specialists design and refine menus that cater to diverse palates and dietary needs, ensuring that every meal is a testament to their culinary artistry and commitment to excellence. They meticulously plan meals, considering factors such as troop movements, training schedules, and special dietary requirements. Their attention to detail extends to every aspect of the culinary process, from ingredient procurement to portion control.

Beyond their culinary prowess, culinary specialists play a pivotal role in maintaining the highest standards of sanitation and organization within the galley or mess hall. They implement and enforce strict hygiene protocols, ensuring that food preparation areas are impeccably clean and that equipment is properly sanitized. Their organizational skills are put to the test as they coordinate the efforts of kitchen staff, ensuring that meals are served promptly and efficiently.