New Book Reveals Kitchen Salaries; Starbucks Defends Schultz’s Pay Day

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, a new book being released in May will feature a look at what kitchen workers around the country are being paid. The book, written by Rick Smilow, president and CEO of the Institute of Culinary Education, includes profiles on various executive chefs, sous chefs, and line cooks who discuss their annual salaries, as well as advice for finding your “dream job in food.” Titled Culinary Careers, the book even includes a bit on what to expect if you’re applying at El Bulli, Restaurant’s Best Restaurant in the World.

*Graham Elliot Bowles, a chef-owner of Graham Elliot in Chicago, said cooks in Chicago on average earn around $30,000, with chefs earning about twice that amount.

*Jason Gronlund, a research and development chef with Tabasco who works with restaurant chains and food companies, said individuals in his area can make “up to $200,000 for executive positions.”

*Katie Button, a former line cook at Bazaar by José Andrés in Beverly Hills, Calif., who was on her way to cook at Ferran Adria’s elBulli in Roses, Spain, said the salary range for a person at her level is between “free to $15.50 an hour.”

Despite the somewhat tumultuous time that Starbucks  has had in recent years, owner Howard Schultz didn’t fare too bad in 2009. According to a recent Seattle Times article, between base pay and stock options, Schultz made over $12.1 million during 2009 including a $1M “discretionary bonus”, a number that surprised many investors. At the request of “institutional investors and an institutional shareholder advisory service”, Starbucks defended the pay at a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Schultz greatly exceeded the board’s expectations, the filing said. “He drove the Company to achieve strong financial results for the year despite the extraordinary challenges facing the Company in a period of unprecedented global financial turmoil, and made significant progress in transforming Starbucks and returning the Company to sustainable, profitable growth while preserving its values and guiding principles.”

The coffee giant saw a drop of 77% in earnings during the second quarter of 2009, after closing nearly 800 stores in late 2008.

~Jennifer Heigl

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