Chef Salary in South Africa

Chefs play a crucial role in the culinary scenes; they skillfully combine a medley of flavor and cultural nuances to present their inventive talents. The scope for the position of the chefs is widening in South Africa as hotel and restaurant businesses are thriving.

Monthly Salary Range:R 9636 – R 33325
Average Monthly Salary:R 21480.5
Description:A chef is a professional cook and a tradesman who has expertise in preparing special cuisine.
Minimum Qualification:There are no restrictions or specific requirements to become a chef; a person with a culinary diploma or a skilled person can become a chef.

If you are about to pursue a career but are uncertain whether chefs earn appropriate compensation, you should see the details related to their financial side. Come with me to understand the salary structure of a chef position, his responsibilities, and the facilities he receives as an employee.

Overview of Chef Salary in South Africa

The restaurant and hotel business is increasing day by day in South Africa because of the new marketing trends. Therefore the demand for chefs is also increasing in our country in restaurants and hotels. People from different backgrounds are coming to large metropolitan cities to acquire chef positions.

Surveys show that the lowest salary of a chef in our country is about R9,636, and the highest recorded pay is R33,325. There is a list of factors that affect the salary of a chef, such as experience, education, or gender. The average salary of a chef in the country is R21,116; additionally, they receive several facilities from an organization.


You may find a salary below expectations, but you should know that a chef gets several bonuses, incentives, and facilities from the restaurant or a hotel. According to the poll, 58% of the employees get bonuses and incentives while 42% of the employees are deprived of the extras. The major bonus a chef gets is the performance bonus if he achieves a goal before the deadline.

Additionally, the company also provides a major amount of money to employees when it accomplishes a great milestone. Some hotels and restaurants also provide yearly increments in the salaries of their chefs. Moreover, other organizations give them facilities like free accommodation, transportation, meals, and healthcare services based on their rank.

Salary Structure

The salary structure of a chef position is simple, and there is no complex hierarchy of the ranks. The majority of the chefs work in the private sector, such as in restaurants, hotels, companies, and organizations, while a very small number of professional cooks are recruited in government institutes. However, there are some determinants of their incomes, such as experience, education, gender, location, and the sector.

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Years of ExperienceMonthly Salary in Rands
0-2 YearsR10,866
2-5 YearsR14,733
5-10 YearsR21,775
10-15 YearsR26,325
15-20 YearsR28,716
20+ YearsR31,266

In this table, you can see that the salary is increasing over time, based on the years of service. You can see that the entry-level salary of a chef is R10,866, but over time, it increases by 34% to R14,733 per month. Similarly, the income difference between a 5-year experienced chef and a 10-year experienced chef is 48%, and a 10 to 15-year experienced professional cook’s pay rises by 22%.

The salary of a 15-year and 20-year experienced chef rises by 9%, and after 20 years of service, the increase is by 8%. The table also indicates that the highest rise in pay is from 5 to 10 years and 2 to 5 years. However, the salary rise after 15 to 20 and 20+ years is by 8% and 9% only, respectively.


Education LevelMonthly Salary in Rands
High SchoolR12,692
Certificate or DiplomaR24,559

This table illustrates the differences between the salary of a high school degree holder and the certificate or diploma holder’s salary. There are no restrictions or educational-specific requirements for chefs; however, some companies only require a certificate or diploma holder to be a professional cook. The salary of a high school degree holder is 93% less than that of a diploma holder chef.

Other Factors

  • Gender: Unfortunately, South Africa’s salary laws are inspired by the colonial era in which gender discrimination was common. Therefore, a male chef earns comparatively more than her female counterpart. Polls indicate an 11% difference between male and female chef salaries, as males get higher pay than female professional cooks.
  • Location: It is also possible that the location determines the salary you are earning. For example, in small cities like Durban, companies and organizations pay lower salaries than the restaurants and hotels in Cape Town and Soweto.
  • Sector: Lastly, the government and private sector can determine your salary. The government sector pays lower salaries than private restaurants and hotels.

Responsibilities of a Chef


A core responsibility of a chef is to cook food, but it is not only about preparing a piece of meat lubricated in oil and covered in spices. The food must be beyond the simple food you taste in your daily life. A cook should be creative, have an understanding of cuisines, know how to cook food with the help of different techniques, and make food more delicious than regular meals.

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Menu Planning

The menu you see at a restaurant or hotel is not designed by authorities but by the chefs. Authorities are familiar with other businesses while a chef, who has a basic understanding of the food, designs a daily menu. A chef plans a new menu based on the current trend in the area.

Kitchen Management

A chef is also responsible for managing the kitchen, keeping it clean, and maintaining hygiene. Some senior chefs do not cook food; instead, they have workers to follow orders. In such conditions, a chef is responsible for the hygiene of these workers, and he should improve the quality of food by providing people with clean and safe food.

Additionally, he should provide all the resources used for making food to the workers. The chef is responsible for quality control, maintaining the quality of the food, and keeping an eye on the new trends coming in the food world. Anyhow, a chef is the senior body in the kitchen, so he should remain attentive and observant.


Are chefs in demand in South Africa?

Yes, the chef profession is in demand in South Africa due to the growing restaurant and hotel businesses.

How long is the chef course in South Africa?

The duration of a course is based on the type of course you are enrolled in. However, becoming a chef in South Africa takes 1 to 3 years.

What qualifications does a chef need?

A chef should have a food safety certificate.

How many hours do you work as a chef?

The working hours may vary from restaurant to restaurant. However, a chef may be required to work more than 50 hours a week.

A chef dedicates hours tirelessly to preparing our favorite cuisine, making foods more delicious and attractive, and giving it a touch of artistic presentation. We should acknowledge their efforts and appreciate the income they make monthly. I hope this information will help you in the future; thank you.

Article Modified on October 28, 2023. The data in this article is written and collected by multiple authors. Learn how we research on About Us.