There are currently an estimated 146,500 culinary chefs in the United States. The culinary chef job market is expected to grow by 9.6% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are culinary chefs?

CareerExplorer rates culinary chefs with a C employability rating, meaning this career should provide moderate employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 23,200 culinary chefs. That number is based on 14,100 additional culinary chefs, and the retirement of 9,100 existing culinary chefs.

Are culinary chefs in demand?

The fast pace and long hours demanded by this occupation typically lead to a high rate of turnover. Not surprisingly, therefore, the majority of job openings for culinary chefs will result from the need to replace those who choose to leave or retire from this occupation. Competition for the most prestigious and highest paying jobs at high-end restaurants and hotels is expected to be very strong. Job prospects will be best for chefs who combine a culinary degree with several years of experience, proven creativity, and business skills. Demand for chefs is not created solely by restaurants; exclusive retirement communities, convention centres, cruise ship companies, and private hospitals consistently hire culinary experts. Some established movie production companies are also employing culinary chefs to literally ‘cater’ to the actors, extras, and crews on their movie sets. General population growth is expected to create demand for more fine dining experiences, resulting in continued demand for innovative culinary chefs.

What’s the supply of culinary chefs?

The culinary chef industry is concentrated in California, New York, Florida

Culinary Chef job market by state

State Name Employed Culinary Chefs
California 18,350
New York 16,890
Florida 8,770
Texas 7,270
Massachusetts 4,800
Illinois 4,740
Ohio 4,150
South Carolina 4,130
Arizona 3,940
Nevada 3,450
Pennsylvania 3,440
Virginia 3,000
New Jersey 2,870
Michigan 2,870
Colorado 2,730
Tennessee 2,600
Georgia 2,490
Maryland 2,330
Connecticut 2,240
Minnesota 2,240
North Carolina 2,100
Washington 2,020
Missouri 1,850
Wisconsin 1,810
Louisiana 1,710
Oregon 1,540
Kansas 1,300
Hawaii 1,230
Oklahoma 1,120
Indiana 1,080
District of Columbia 990
Iowa 980
New Hampshire 960
Kentucky 900
Utah 890
Alabama 880
Mississippi 810
Alaska 700
Arkansas 680
Idaho 560
Vermont 550
Delaware 520
New Mexico 510
Maine 490
Puerto Rico 490
Rhode Island 420
Nebraska 380
Guam 360
Montana 340
West Virginia 290
Virgin Islands, U.S. 230
Wyoming 220
North Dakota 210
South Dakota 90