The main advantages of being a chef are the excellent job prospects, good salaries and good opportunities for career growth. Other fringe advantages include opportunities to be creative, being able to eat good and healthy food and being respected and even famous.
The most important advantage of being a chef is that there are almost unlimited employment opportunities. Apart from hotels and restaurants, chefs can work in hospitals, nursing facilities, correctional facilities, schools and universities and in the catering department of the airlines industry. Grocery stores, delicatessens, cafes, trains, cruise ships and convenience stores also employ chefs. Employment is easy to find in any part of the world as long as the individual is skilled, and jobs usually tend to be long-term positions.
Salary estimates for executive chefs in five-star hotels or premier restaurants frequently touch or exceed six digits. Although the salary at the junior levels is usually not commensurate with the long hours and hard work, it scales up quite considerably with each promotion. A report showed that in 2009, the average salary for a chef ranged from $32,000 to $86,000 annually. Evolving into a celebrity chef, owning several restaurants, writing books and launching cookware and utensil lines also provide great opportunities for additional income.
Chefs who are talented and experienced can move up the career ladder, and there are ample opportunities for growth. After starting as prep cooks, they can progress to short-order cooks, line chefs, sous chefs and executive and corporate chefs. They can also branch out into different aspects such as pastry and desserts, entrées or cold foods or regional cooking.