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Culinary Arts Career Outlook and Salary Information

Evidence of our nation’s devotion to food is everywhere, from entire television channels about cooking to a growing number of magazines covering everything from fine dining to everyday cooking.

The outlook for careers in the culinary arts is excellent, as the industry is expected to grow as fast as average through 2014. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for chefs and head cooks will increase 16.7% between 2004 and 2014, and jobs for cooks and food preparation workers will increase 14.9%. Job opportunities in other specialties are expected to increase as much as 16.4%.

The growth of the culinary arts industry is closely tied to the expected growth in worldwide travel and tourism. The result will be many new jobs for cooks and food preparation works in America’s biggest tourist destinations. Competition for higher salary, high profile head chef jobs will be tight, but the frequent turnover of entry level cooking jobs means many of these jobs will be available.

The wages and salaries of chefs and other food service workers depend largely on where they work. Employees of large hotels, resorts, and five-star restaurants will receive higher wages and salaries than those of family dining and fast food restaurants.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly earnings of chefs and head cooks in May 2004 was $14.75. The highest 10% of this group earned more than $26.75 per hour. Restaurant cooks earned an average of $9.39.

Whether you’re looking for a career in a restaurant, a part-time job, or short-term work, the outlook for restaurant jobs shows that opportunities will be plentiful.


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