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Is it wise to pursue a career in cooking, like a chef, and does it pay well?

I am a senior and plan on going to college for culinary and business. I want to know if that a good career path that pay wells. Also are their any jobs or career specifically that both pay well and enjoyable in this career choice. #culinary-arts #business-idea #culinary-skills #food-service #culinary-management

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Frank’s Answer

Your choice to pursue a career in cooking needs to come from a love of actually cooking. The life of a chef is a tough one, very long hours (often late at night), lots of stress and negative environments, lots of obstacles to starting and maintaining a family, etc. What keeps you going through all of that is your passion for the art, not the money. Yes, the money can get very good but you'll have to put in the hours and prove yourself for years. From a salary standpoint, once you get past the prep cook and line cook jobs (your pennance), sous chefs can make from $45,000 and up. Executive Sous Chef jobs can be very lucrative and Executive Chef positions can easily reach $100,000 and up if you are talented and work in the fine dining world. And then there's the restauranteur chefs and celebrity chefs, but don't let your imagination run too wild.
Regardless, I'll say again- its probably not worth it if you don't love what you do. There's a huge burnout rate among chefs. My best advice is to do some internships or get a dishwashing job, spend some time in some kitchens and talk to people doing the job every day.

Best of luck!

Thanks Mr.Rondeau for your response. I do have a passion for cooking, but would like to be able live a life doing what I love supporting more than just me financially. I'll take what you said to me inconsideration. darryl B.

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Gary’s Answer

Good question. I have previously been an Admissions Advisor for a large Culinary college and a career as a Chef can be very rewarding, both personally and financially. As with any career choice, you may have to start off working hard, long and varied hours and lower pay to gain experience and move up in your career. This career can also lead to Restaurant/Hospitality Management, careers in food sales, service and other administrative/management types of jobs.
Good luck! :)

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Moe’s Answer


My first years as a cook (because you will not start as a chef) were not very lucrative financially. However, they were the years that required the most hard work, time, and dedication. They were are also the years that trained me for the Chef position I hold today and awarded me the opportunity to receive the salary I make today. This career requires patience, determination, dedication, and passion. Entry level positions in culinary arts are usually the hardest and pay the least. It's a demanding field that's not for everyone. Every day will not be enjoyable, some will only be bearable. But if you genuinely possess a passion for food, it won't deter you. However, If salary is your main focus, honestly this field may not be right for you. I wish you the best!