The annual salary of a chef that is just starting out might seem insultingly low (probably somewhere in the low-to-middle 20s) but an experienced and well-established head chef will easily earn into the middle 30s, and a well-rounded executive chef, mid-career might expect to earn over $40,000. A specialty chef, on the other hand, might start their working career in the 30s and work up towards the 50s mid-career. Chefs that work as dietitians, nutritionists, or in other managerial areas average in the $40,000 range as well. Salary range can also vary widely depending on geographical location.
Salaries in large, well-populated urban areas might average 20% more than usual, while salaries in rural, sparsely populated areas might be on average 20% less than the standard rate of pay. Many if not most entry-level chef positions will not immediately offer benefits such as health insurance and retirement planning, but a chef working for an established restaurant, mid-career, can expect to earn these benefits later on.