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As with any career choice, you have to start at square one and work your way up. Unless your father's last name is Trump or Hilton, you're probably not going to start out as a star chef on a primetime reality show. Even taking cooking classes in New York City won't guarantee an illustrious career. But it helps. Salaries for sous chefs (the second in command on the kitchen scene) make an average of $45,000, give or take. Naturally, salary earned depends on position, experience, and where you're employed.
You may have to start out doing voluntary work or intern with a restaurant in order to get your start. Eventually, you'll work your way into a position, probably somewhere around the bottom of the totem pole. Stick with it though! Work hard, keep your eyes open for new positions that showcase your talents, and align yourself to be able to accept more responsibility, and eventually, more pay.
The number one question culinary students, or people thinking about getting into the field, want to know is how much money they'll make. That's a hard one to answer because it isn't precise. Chef salaries really depend on where you work, your experience, reputation, etc. It's not unreasonable to expect to earn anywhere from $40,000 upwards of $70,000. Again, it all depends on a number of variables. A chef with an entrepreneurial streak could make a lot more by finding a niche market for their services.