Maui Food and Dining

Hawai‘i Ranks First in Study on Chef Pay

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Average salaries for chefs is on the rise, according to a study. Courtesy image.

In 2017, employment for chefs and head cooks reached near-record levels in the U.S. at 131,430, up 46% percent from 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A new study from culinary site Chef’s Pencil recently released a study on employment and wage trends for U.S. chefs and head cooks.   Hawai‘i topped the list as far as pay, followed by New Jersey and District of Columbia.

The national average stands at $49,650; however, chefs in Hawai‘i are paid an average of $70,480, almost twice as much as their counterparts in Kansas ($36,470); South Carolina ($37,110) and Idaho ($38,120), the three lowest-ranking states for chef pay.

Broken down to metro areas, Kahului-Wailuku and Lāhainā were as the best-paying zones for chefs in the nation.  San Rafael, CA and Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY came in next on the list.  At the bottom were the metro areas of Spartanburg, SC; Charleston, SC and Memphis, TN.


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