WHAT DO COOKS DO?
Do you like your job well done? Cooks are the backbone of every kitchen and place where food is prepared in the country. As a cook, your job is to prepare, cook and season food for people. Whether in a large restaurant chain or in a smaller setting, cooks will work with other kitchen staff to follow recipes, use ovens, grills, microwaves, and other industrial cooking apparatus, measure and weigh ingredients, monitor food for freshness and safety, maintain a clean kitchen and store ingredients properly.
Variations on this job include line cook, vegetable cook, fry cook, or grill cook.
HOW MUCH DO COOKS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cooks made a median income of $9.74 an hour in 2010, or $20,260 a year.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
No formal education is required, and most training for cook jobs is done on-the-job. You can choose to attend cooking school, or choose to pursue vocational or apprenticeship training.
On-the-job, your training will start with the basics of the kitchen, food and workplace safety and cooking methods, and advances from there.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Communication Skills: Communication is crucial in a kitchen. You will need to read orders, understand instruction from the head chef, and talk to your fellow cooks to make sure the food is delivered hot and delicious.
- Customer Service Skills: Customers may have special requests or complaints. If you are working in a place where they can see you, you might need to interact with the customer. Service with a smile will be necessary.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: Cooking requires great knife skills, proximity to fire and many dangerous elements. A steady hand will help you greatly.
- Sense of Taste and Smell: Knowing when food has gone bad, understanding proper seasoning and what tastes good will help you attract customers.
- Stamina: Kitchen hours can be long and grueling. You will need to be able to stand on your feet for long periods and lift heavy objects from storage.
- Teamwork: Very often, cooks are part of a large team, reporting to a head chef. You will need to be able to work as a team to create a great dining experience for customers.
CAREER PATHS FOR COOKS
THE FUTURE OF COOKS
Cook jobs will grow slowly over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.