A chef is a person who cooks professionally. In the present times, with an increase in the number of restaurants and eat out points across the length and breadth of the country, especially in the metros and cosmopolitan cities, the demand for good chefs is pretty high. Further, chefs with specialization such as continental, Chinese, fast foods, pastries and Indian cuisines are paid more than the ones without specialization. Despite the high demand for chefs in India, the pay scales are lower across all categories when compared to international standards.

Job Responsibilities of Chefs

Job responsibilities of a chef depend on his level in the hierarchy. The main duties and responsibilities include planning menu while giving due importance to nutritional guidelines, participate or oversee cooking methods in the restaurant kitchen, determine quantity of cooking and portion size to be served, keep track of groceries and stock, manage distribution of work among different cooks, ensure safety and cleanliness guidelines and ensure that expenditure is under the cap set by the restaurant management. As a chef climbs higher in hierarchy, his actual cooking job reduces and he is more into administration of the kitchen.

A chef is higher in hierarchy than a cook or a sous chef. The highest paid chef is the executive chef. The salary of an executive chef ranges between INR 20,000 to INR 200,000 per month or even more depending on the place of employment and experience. Popular employers in India for chefs are given below.

  • The Taj Group
  • The Leela Group
  • The Oberoi Group
  • The ITC
  • The Marriot International
  • The Hyatt Hotels
  • Le Meridien hotels and resorts
  • The Park Hotels
  • The Novotel Group
  • The Hilton Group

Salaries for chefs are the highest in the Taj Group (Click below link to know more). In India, Taj Group has sixty hotels spread across forty two locations. Executive chefs in Taj Group earn between INR 281,000 and INR 3,000,000 per annum. The salary varies from state to state as well. Below given is a place-wise classification of executive chef’s salary in India (salaries are per annum).

Mumbai, Maharashtra INR 584,396 – 2,957,724
Delhi, Delhi INR 239,081 – 1,776,991
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh INR 200,000 – 1,500,000
Bangalore, Karnataka INR 589,581 – 1,017,365
Chennai, Tamilnadu INR 300,000 – 1,800,000
Salary of Chef by Expertise (per annum)
Pastry chef INR 589,581 – 1,017,365
Head cook INR 589,581 – INR1,017,365
Head chef INR 589,581 – INR 1,017,365
Sous chef INR 589,581 – INR 1,017,365

Training and Education to Become a Chef

Training for chefs begins with a minimum three year diploma in hotel management. Besides government approved colleges, several major hotel chains in India also provide chef training and diploma. Also, there are institutes which are focused only of chef training and do not include training in other aspects of hotel management such as housekeeping. Interested people should join the course after class XII. Post graduation in chef education is necessary for faster career growth and higher salaries. The salary of the chef depends on the institute from where he graduated, his skill, experience and level of education.
Chefs with an experience of more than twenty years earn as much as INR 3,000,000 per annum.