13 Culinary Jobs That Pay Well

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 16, 2023

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Watch Cole, a lifelong foodie, try out three engaging jobs in food and food service.If you enjoy working with food, you may want to consider a position in the culinary industry. There are many ways you can contribute to providing a memorable dining experience, so it’s important to tailor your research to roles that highlight your skills. In this article, we discuss the culinary industry and explore 13 culinary careers that pay more than $30,000 per year.

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What is the culinary industry?

The culinary industry includes all of the jobs related to food preparation and presentation. It is closely related to the hospitality industry, as many hotels and conference centers have restaurants and offer catering services. You can work in many different sectors of the culinary industry, including:

Administrative support

Administrative support staff help managers and owners take care of the business side of a restaurant or catering company. They often work with financial records, file and organize papers and order supplies. They may also work with vendors and logistical staff to schedule orders. Administrative staff often oversee scheduling and help with the hiring process as well.


The management team oversees the business operations of a culinary establishment. They handle the finances, hiring, permitting, logistics, inventory and other aspects of running a restaurant, cafe or catering company. Management is also usually involved in scheduling repairs and upgrading appliances or buildings.


People who work in culinary logistics package, order and deliver supplies and food needed to operate culinary businesses. The logistics staff may also be involved in repairing equipment and maintaining food safety requirements, particularly regarding food storage.

Kitchen staff

The kitchen staff includes everyone involved in the preparation and presentation of food. They are responsible for safely storing and preparing food as well as sanitizing their workspaces. The kitchen staff is comprised of many different roles, depending on the establishment, but usually includes preparation cooks, line cooks, sous chefs and executive chefs.

Support staff

Culinary support staff includes bartenders, servers, dishwashers and bussers. People in these roles often work directly with customers or provide the tools that other staff members need to perform their duties.Related:Top 12 Careers in Food

13 high-paying culinary jobs

Here are 13 culinary positions that pay more than $30,000 per year. Note that the salaries below were populated using data from Indeed Salaries:

1. Pastry cook

National average salary:$34,749 per yearPrimary duties: Pastry cooks create, prepare, decorate and present cakes, cookies, pies and other confectioneries. They are responsible for preparing desserts for a restaurant, bakery or catering company. They must be familiar with traditional confections and design new ones to display, sell and bring to events. Pastry cooks are often creative and precise. They should have excellent time management skills and be able to follow complex directions.

2. Culinary specialist

National average salary:$34,890 per yearPrimary duties: A culinary specialist provides food service to military executives. They are responsible for designing menus, ordering ingredients and supplies and overseeing dining facilities. Culinary specialists might also be responsible for maintaining records and allocating a budget. They are highly organized and excellent problem solvers.

3. Caterer

National average salary:$40,408 per yearPrimary duties: Caterers are responsible for the food service provided at events. They work closely with clients to determine their budget and needs, and then they negotiate with vendors for ingredients, seating and other necessities. Caterers prepare, present and serve food to guests, and they also set up and break down tables, chairs and food service stations at events. Caterers should be skilled in customer service and time management.

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4.Purchasing coordinator

National average salary:$42,771 per yearPrimary duties: Purchasing coordinators oversee the orders for any ingredients, supplies and other purchases that a culinary establishment makes. They work closely with vendors and often negotiate contracts. They also schedule regular deliveries, manage purchasing orders and track shipments. Purchasing coordinators should be excellent communicators, highly organized and able to transition between tasks easily.

5.Wine sommelier

National average salary:$43,440 per yearPrimary duties: Wine sommeliers work closely with management to develop a wine list and recommend food and wine pairings. Sommeliers also suggest wines to diners based on their meals and personal preferences. They often train waitstaff on the available wines, including how to describe, store and serve them. Sommeliers also negotiate with vendors, manage budgets and organize events.

6. Restaurant bar manager

National average salary:$44,228 per yearPrimary duties: Restaurant bar managers oversee the daily operations of a bar in a restaurant. They work closely with other management staff to develop a budget and order supplies. Restaurant bar managers are responsible for hiring, training and overseeing bar staff. They also typically manage the bar’s inventory, ensure that any licensure is current, schedule promotional events and negotiate contracts with vendors.

7. Sous chef

National average salary:$46,888 per yearPrimary duties: Sous chefs are assistants to the head chef. They are responsible for overseeing food preparation, managing inventory, designing menus, training kitchen staff and planning schedules. Sous chefs may also act as support for other kitchen staff if needed. They handle customer concerns and oversee the kitchen workflow, sanitation and storage procedures.Related:Learn About Being a Sous Chef

8. Nutritionist

National average salary:$47,572 per yearPrimary duties: Nutritionists are nutrition experts who help their clients meet their dietary goals. They might work directly with clients or in healthcare, education or long-term care facilities. They develop meal plans, help clients track their progress and teach the public about nutrition. Nutritionists should have an understanding of research methods and stay up to date on trends and research.Related:Learn About Being a Nutritionist

9. Restaurant manager

National average salary:$48,205 per yearPrimary duties: Restaurant managers are in charge of the daily operations of running a restaurant. They create budgets, manage the restaurant’s finances and work closely with vendors to order supplies, ingredients and other necessities. Restaurant managers are also often involved in marketing and networking to build the restaurant’s brand. They may write schedules and are usually involved in hiring and training staff.Related:Learn About Being a Restaurant Manager

10. Food safety specialist

National average salary:$63,631 per yearPrimary duties: Food safety specialists make sure that food is packaged and stored correctly. They write safety manuals and perform audits or inspections to verify that storage facilities, prep stations and cooking surfaces are properly maintained. They also work with food distributors, processors and packing facilities and give presentations on food safety protocols.

11. Food and beverage manager

National average salary:$70,745 per yearPrimary duties: Food and beverage managers work closely with the restaurant manager to oversee the restaurant’s daily operations. They help design menus and ensure that food and beverages are stored safely. Food and beverage managers also oversee the hiring, training and scheduling of staff, and they are typically responsible for the customer service experience as well, including interacting directly with customers and handling any concerns.

12. Food technologist

National average salary:$72,381 per yearPrimary duties: Food technologists are food scientists who manufacture food products and develop methods for preserving and processing food safely. They are responsible for overseeing safety protocols and revising recipes to meet customer demand. Food technologists also monitor the effects of additives, write reports, work with factory processes and launch new products.

13. Private chef

National average salary:$81,686 per year Primary duties: Private chefs usually work with individual families to prepare their meals and oversee their nutrition. They often work closely with the family or household to understand their dietary needs, and they are responsible for shopping for ingredients, preparing food and cleaning up after meals. Personal chefs often specialize in particular dietary needs, such as paleo, vegan or vegetarian diets.