The food service industry in Chicago continues to thrive, the restaurants in Chicago are varied and vibrant as are the chefs who plan, prepare and supervise the food preparation. There are many restaurants in Chicago and each establishment needs a chef. The number of four-star restaurants in Chicago continues to increase and those types of restaurants typically hire a sous chef and a main chef.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the job outlook for chefs to grow five percent from 2012 to 2022, the opportunities will arise from workers who choose to leave the occupation. The pay is typically highest at upscale restaurants, casinos and hotels and those positions will be highly competitive.

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For the most part, the occupation does allow candidates to work their way up from the kitchen, however, as candidates do work their way up in seniority, some type of formal training such as culinary school would be helpful as the position gets more competitive towards the top.

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For those who can push the limit in culinary cuisine, Chicago is the place to be. Chicago’s openness to variety and love of delicious food allows the talented chef to offer innovative menus and creative restaurant concepts. The title of one of Washington Post’s articles sums up culinary cuisine well when referencing the recent James Beard Awards gala held in Chicago: “The Search For America’s Best Food Cities: Chicago.”

There is no doubt that Chicago is a very special food city with over 40 James Beard award-winning chefs and restaurants, a chef who is willing to be open and receptive can be very successful in the Windy City. Finding that special niche in Chicago is highly possible for a chef as the opportunities continue to grow in the City of Chicago. Chicago’s love of food is not going away anytime soon nor are the employment opportunities for chefs.

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Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner living in Chicago, Illinois. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of and Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of Chicago, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on