Chef salary in South Africa: How much do they earn?

Chef salary in South Africa: How much do they earn?

The culinary industry in South Africa is a vibrant and evolving landscape, attracting skilled chefs from various backgrounds. Experienced chefs with advanced skills and expertise often command competitive salaries and benefits. This article gives a comprehensive overview of chef salaries in South Africa and valuable insights for those aspiring to pursue a career in the field.

Chef salary in South Africa
Professional chefs preparing food in the kitchen. Photo: Jasmin Merdan/Bernard Bodo (modified by author)
Source: UGC


Being a chef can be a rewarding career that combines creativity, passion, and skill. They have various employment opportunities in multiple sectors, including hotels, restaurants, catering companies, private homes, cruise ships, and institutions. Professional cooks with an entrepreneurial spirit can also open culinary ventures.

How much money does a chef make in South Africa?

The amount they earn varies with employer and location. According to, a chef's monthly salary in South Africa is estimated at R17,500 and around R210,000 annually. Their average hourly rate is around R108, while the weekly rate is estimated at R4,038.

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Average annual payR210,000
Average monthly payR17,500
Average weekly payR4,038
Average hourly payR108
Lowest annual payR156,000
Lowest monthly payR13,000
Highest yearly payR420,000
Highest monthly payR35,000

What is the starting salary for a chef in South Africa?

Entry-level chefs in South Africa earn around R13,000 monthly and approximately R156,000 yearly. Their weekly pay is around R3,000, while their hourly wage is estimated at R80.

The most experienced professional cooks in the country earn competitive salaries and usually work at high-end restaurants, luxury hotels, and renowned culinary establishments. They are paid around R35,000 monthly and R420,000 annually.

Cruise ship chef salary in South Africa

Cruise ship chefs earn an estimated average salary of between R28,800 – R48,000. According to Gourmet Recruitment International, premier vessels offer full salaries with a no-tipping policy. The hours worked depend on the contract; cruise vacations can take several months.

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To work as a chef on a cruise ship, individuals should have a passport, visa, relevant certifications, an understanding of diverse cuisines, and adaptability in a fast-paced environment. You should also be medically fit with no criminal record. Some employers have a no-visible tattoo policy.

A cruise ship chef
A chef serving food to customers on a passenger liner. Photo: Barry Winiker
Source: Getty Images

Military chef salary in South Africa

An army chef is responsible for preparing meals for soldiers and may need basic military skills. Their exact remuneration is not publicly known, but South African Insider estimates it to be between R38,000 and R49,0000.

Salary of a chef in a 5-star hotel in South Africa

On average, hotel chefs earn a monthly salary of around R25,000 in South Africa, according to Those working at high-end 5-star hotels receive an estimated monthly pay of R43,725. The lowest-paid hotel chefs receive around R13,875 per month.

How much does an executive chef earn in South Africa?

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An executive chef is the head of the entire kitchen operation in a restaurant. They manage inventory, budgeting, and menu planning and oversee all kitchen staff.

On average, an executive chef in South Africa earns an annual base salary of R311,876 and a monthly base salary of R26,000, according to PayScale. The highest-earning executive gets around R610,000 annually and R50,800 monthly.

The lowest-earning executive chef is paid around R107,000 annually and R8,900 monthly. They also receive bonuses of between R3,000 and R120,000.

Professional cooks in a commercial kitchen
An executive chef controls kitchen operations. Photo: Ryan McVay
Source: Getty Images

Head chef salary in South Africa

A head chef is usually in charge of the kitchen and its cooks. They create menus, order stock, ensure dishes meet quality standards, and handle administrative work.

A head chef earns an average salary of R241,200 annually and around R20,100 per month, according to The lowest paid takes home a salary of around R16,500 monthly, while the highest paid pockets around R31,333 monthly.

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Average annual payR241,000
Average monthly payR20,100
Lowest annual payR198,000
Lowest monthly salaryR16,500
Highest annual salaryR376,000
Highest monthly salaryR31,333

Sous chef salary in South Africa

A sous chef works under the command of the head chef or executive chef. Their duties include planning food presentations and managing kitchen staff.

Sous chefs earn an estimated average annual salary of R198,000 and an average monthly pay of R16,500, according to The lowest paid makes around R13,500 per month, while the highest paid takes home around R26,575 monthly.

Average annual payR198,000
Average monthly payR16,500
Lowest annual payR162,000
Lowest monthly salaryR13,500
Highest annual salaryR318,900
Highest monthly salaryR26,575

How much do assistant chefs earn in South Africa?

Assistant chefs usually work with head chefs but are less experienced than sous chefs in a professional setting. They perform duties like assisting the chef in food preparation, ensuring hygiene standards are met, training new kitchen staff, and restocking merchandise.

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The average assistant chef's salary in South Africa is estimated at R12,500 per month and R150,000 annually, according to The lowest-paid earns around R11,500 monthly, while the highest-earning gets around R24,625 monthly.

A professional plating food
A professional chef garnishing food on a plate. Photo: Westend61
Source: Getty Images

How much do junior chefs earn in South Africa?

A junior chef, also called a commis chef, works under the supervision of a chef de partie. They perform duties like measuring and preparing meal ingredients, making salads, performing basic cleaning duties, plating, and taking inventory of restaurant supplies.

A commis chef's salary in South Africa ranges between R6,200 and R20,500 per month, according to The average monthly pay is R8,000, while the average annual pay is estimated to be R96,000.

Top paying cities for chefs in South Africa

The highest-paying city in South Africa is Somerset West in the Western Cape, according to Indeed. A chef in the city earns up to R20,095 per month. Sandton in Gauteng comes in second with an average monthly salary of R15,522.

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CityProvinceEstimated monthly salary
Somerset WestWestern CapeR20,095
Cape TownWestern CapeR13,793
StellenboschWestern CapeR8,864
DurbanvilleWestern CapeR7,754

What skills should a chef have?

To be a successful professional cook, you must possess technical and soft skills, including:

  • Culinary skills like cooking techniques, ingredient combinations, and food presentation
  • Time management skills, including the ability to multi-task, prioritize tasks, and work efficiently under pressure
  • Attention to detail, including precise measurement of ingredients, plating and ensuring consistency in taste and presentation.
  • Leadership and communication skills
  • Knowledge of food safety and sanitation
  • Excellent customer service skills like addressing customer dietary needs, accommodating special requests, and ensuring guest satisfaction.

Are chefs in demand in South Africa?

Skilled professional cooks are in demand in South Africa because of the rapidly growing hospitality and tourism industries. You can enrol in a culinary-related programme at a recognized culinary school to gain the required skills.

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Commercial kitchen chef
A female chef preparing food in a commercial kitchen. Photo: James Braund
Source: Getty Images

Chef salaries in South Africa vary greatly depending on location, employer, and experience level. Working your way up the payment ladder is possible if you have the skills and good networking.

READ ALSO: Software engineer's salary per month in South Africa published all you need to know about software engineer salaries in South Africa. The profession is one of the most in-demand and lucrative careers in the country and globally.

Software engineers design and create computer systems and applications to solve real-life problems. Check the article for more details on how much they earn and how you can get into the profession.

Source: Briefly News

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