Salary Guide To How Much You Can Earn As A Chef

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The monthly salary of a sushi chef is around $6,500 to $9,000 in Singapore, according to data from salary guides Glassdoor and Indeed.

Of course, a sushi chef is paid that much because of the expert knife skills required to cut fish appropriately. You won’t want to eat sliced puffer fish sashimi and get poisoned or eat fresh uni and get a bad reaction.

Other than the skill level which leads to higher pay, the salary of a chef in Singapore varies depending on factors such as experience, type of establishment, and location.

Monthly salaries for chefs in Singapore can range from a low base of $2,000 for basic kitchen roles to five figures ($15,000) for top roles, according to data from Indeed. This shows that there is a wide scope of salary growth and progression within the industry itself.

The data from revealed that a beginner cook can earn $3,000 per month. Meanwhile, an executive chef can earn $6,800 a month.

Top companies that hire chefs include caterer RE&S Enterprises and according to a survey from 72 employees there, the average salary for a chef is $6,400 a month. Another top recruiter for chefs is Marina Bay Sands, offering an average salary of $6,900 per month.

Enter The World Of Cuisine: Chefs And Their Different Titles

In the culinary world, various chef titles signify different levels of expertise, responsibilities, and experience.

High-end restaurants, hotels, and renowned establishments may offer higher salaries, especially for experienced and skilled chefs. Additionally, chefs with international experience or those specialising in specific cuisines may also command higher salaries (think Michelin star chefs).

To understand the different chefs and their job scopes in the kitchen, here are some chef titles in Singapore:

  • Executive Chef: The head chef in charge of the entire kitchen. They are responsible for menu planning, managing kitchen staff, and ensuring the overall quality of the food.
  • Sous Chef: The second-in-command in the kitchen, the person who works directly under the executive chef. The sous chef oversees day-to-day kitchen operations, helps with menu planning, and may step in for the executive chef in their absence.
  • Chef de Cuisine: A chef de cuisine is typically in charge of a specific kitchen within a restaurant. They manage the staff, plan menus, and ensure the quality and consistency of dishes.
  • Chef de Partie: Also known as a station chef or line cook, a chef de partie is responsible for a specific section or station in the kitchen, such as the sauté station or grill.
  • Commis Chef: An entry-level position where individuals learn the basics of cooking and kitchen operations. Commis chefs work under the supervision of more experienced chefs.
  • Pastry Chef: Specializes in desserts, pastries, and baked goods. They may work in dedicated pastry kitchens or oversee the pastry section in a larger kitchen.
  • Sushi Chef (Itamae): Specializes in preparing sushi and other Japanese dishes. Sushi chefs require specific skills and knowledge of Japanese cuisine.
  • Garde Manger Chef: In charge of the cold kitchen, responsible for preparing cold dishes such as salads, appetizers, and cold appetizers.
  • Private Chef: Works for an individual or a private household, preparing meals according to the employer’s preferences. Private chefs may also travel with their clients.
  • Catering Chef: Specializes in catering events, responsible for planning and executing menus for large groups.
  • Corporate Chef: Works in a corporate setting, such as for a food service company or a large organization, overseeing menu planning and kitchen operations.

Some Unique Chef Roles That Can Be Found In Singapore: R&D Chefs, Line Cooks

In Singapore, certain roles are unique. This includes line cooks for central kitchens or cloud kitchens and hotels. A line cook works under the chef de partie or station chef and is responsible for the preparation of dishes within a specific station in the kitchen.

There are also roles such as research and development (R&D) chefs. Partly due to Singapore’s high focus on research and innovation, many food companies base their research teams here too. This can include plant-based food companies and those with sustainable food goals.

An R&D chef works on creating and testing new recipes, developing menu concepts, and ensuring that culinary offerings remain innovative and appealing.

Why Do Chef Salaries Differ

Chef salaries can vary in Singapore due to a variety of factors. Firstly, the experience and skills level – similar to other industries where people are paid according to their skill and experience – matters.

It is notable to mention that chefs with formal culinary education, certifications, or additional training may be eligible for higher salaries. Continuous professional development and staying current with culinary trends can also contribute to increased earning potential.

Chefs with more experience and advanced culinary skills also often command higher salaries. Executive chefs or head chefs with a proven track record may receive higher compensation than entry-level or less-experienced chefs.

The type of establishment also determines how much a chef can be paid. Fine-dining restaurants, upscale hotels, and renowned culinary establishments may pay chefs more than smaller or less prestigious establishments. The location of where the eatery or restaurant is matters as well. Chefs working in the central business district or more affluent areas may receive higher salaries to offset the higher living costs.

Chefs who specialise in particular cuisines, for example, a sushi chef or a French cuisine chef, will be able to receive higher salaries for their specialised skills.

Another notable factor is market forces. When the borders reopened following the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a severe shortage of kitchen and chefs in restaurants and that led to a price war among many restaurants to hire the shortfall in kitchen staff as some foreigners returned to their countries and couldn’t return due to lockdowns.

A Different Breed: Celebrity Chefs

There is also the rise of a new breed of chefs – celebrity chefs. The earnings of celebrity chefs in Singapore are priced to match their status and their ability to bring in high-net-worth clients or fans who love to watch their cooking clips.

While television is ultimately the primary way for a chef to become a celebrity, some have achieved this through success in the kitchen, cookbook publications, and achieving awards such as Michelin stars. Celebrity chefs can also be home cooks who shot to fame from competitions like MasterChef Singapore.

Celebrity chefs often generate income from various sources beyond their salaries. They usually sign endorsement deals with food and kitchen product brands. The income from these deals can significantly contribute to their overall earnings. Very often, these celebrities also have social media platforms that can lead to brand partnerships, sponsored content, and increased visibility, all of which can contribute to more income.

If a celebrity chef is featured on television shows, he or she may receive compensation for their appearances even as their profile is boosted. This can include hosting cooking shows, participating in competitions, or making guest appearances.

Many celebrity chefs also own or partner with restaurants. The success and popularity of these establishments can contribute to their income. Profit-sharing arrangements, licensing fees, and brand recognition all play a role. Following that momentum, some also write cookbooks to boost their earnings.

Read Also: Salary Guide To How Much You Can Earn As A Singapore Airlines (SIA) Air Stewardess/Air Steward 

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