While starting salaries for sous-chefs are fairly modest, make it to the top of your game and you could be earning hundreds of thousands of pounds. All for doing what you love too; it can’t be bad!
Here in the UK, you can be forgiven for thinking Gordon Ramsay – a man as well-known for his fiery outbursts as his food – is only famous country-wide. Not so; he’s praised around the world for his Michelin-star fine dining restaurants, with premises as far away as Las Vegas. He’s only in his mid 40s, yet he continues to expand his empire across the UK and America, with restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, too.
Of course, Gordon Ramsay – or ‘Chef Ramsay’ as he’s better known in the US – is famous for his TV shows, too. The fact is, once you’ve made your mark as a top chef and providing you have a personality people either love or loathe, you could be absolutely raking it in. Ramsay is in Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-paid chefs in the world, with an estimated £24 million in earnings – and it’s not through lack of hard work.
Rachael Ray comes a close second on Forbes’ list, thanks to her many cooking shows over in the US. Another name you might recognise, Mario Batali – who co-owns a string of Italian restaurants in New York, LA and Las Vegas – is third on the list, earning millions in the last year alone. These are just some of America’s biggest players; we haven’t mentioned about some of our biggest stars in the UK are celebrity chefs, like Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Heston Blumenthal – each of whom are bringing in a pretty penny!
Cooks and bakers like Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry can’t be far behind, either – and it’s all thanks to tv shows like The Great British Bake Off.
It goes to show, then, that if you’ve a talent for the skill and a determination to succeed – people like Paul Hollywood worked their way up the ranks to become what they are today – you’ve got a great chance to go far. And there’s absolutely no harm in aiming for the top; leisure jobs like becoming a chef are rarely seen as an easy choice but the rewards are more than worth the initial effort.
Want to get started? We say begin by working out which is the best cookery course for you, before making it your business to get signed onto it. We will be going into this in a lot more depth in a future ‘how to become a chef’ guide. Next, hands-on experience in a local kitchen will stand you in good stead. Just don’t go in all guns blazing like Ramsay himself might; when you’re just starting out, it’s important to have personality, yes, but confidence can always come off as arrogance. Instead, show your passion for the job but be aware of how you treat others; a strong, firm character is great, but ‘Lording it’ over people in the kitchen isn’t.
Whether you’re embarking on a culinary course or starting as an assistant in a local restaurant, be keen and say and do all the right things. Who knows, a place in the coveted Forbes rich list may one day be yours…