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Line Cook

Average Line Cook Salary Nationwide

$13.34/hr
$9.65$13.34$17.93

Overview and Basic Information

Overview

Are you obsessed with Food Network shows like “Chopped” or “Restaurant: Impossible” and think, “I could do that”? Do you love to cook for your family and friends (and have the Insta pics to back up your skills)? If so, a line cook job might be the perfect gig for you. Line cooks are typically responsible for food preparation and assembling dishes according to restaurant recipes and the chef’s specifications. While it’s not a super-easy job—restaurant kitchens can be hot, hectic places to work—making dishes with your own two hands can be really rewarding!

Example line cook job description

We’re looking for a line cook who can prepare food items to our chef’s direction and to set up food work stations. The line cook’s duties include assisting the executive and sous chefs with their daily responsibilities. The successful candidate will play a key role in contributing to our overall customer satisfaction goals.

Typical duties include:

  • Setting up and stocking food stations with the necessary supplies

  • Preparing food for service (chopping vegetables, butchering meat or making sauces)

  • Cooking menu items and portioning in cooperation with the rest of the kitchen staff

  • Following executive or sous chef’s instructions

  • Cleaning up stations and managing leftover food

  • Appropriately stocking inventory

  • Ensuring that high-quality menu items come out simultaneously in a timely fashion

  • Complying with nutrition and sanitation regulations and safety standards

  • Maintaining a positive and professional approach with coworkers and customers

Requirements

  • Proven cooking experience, including experience as a line chef, restaurant cook or prep cook

  • Excellent understanding of various cooking methods, ingredients, equipment and procedures

  • Accuracy and speed in executing assigned tasks

  • Familiarity with industry best practices

  • High school diploma or equivalent (culinary school a plus)

Common questions about line cook jobs

How much does a line cook make?

The average salary for a line cook is about $12 an hour. A line cook with experience or a culinary school background or degree can earn up to $18.25 an hour. Depending on the restaurant, line cooks can share tips with servers. Many line cooks eat for free during their shifts, and this awesome benefit is not included in your hourly wage.

What are the education requirements?

There are no specific education requirements for a line cook, but many restaurants will require a high school diploma or GED. A lot of learning is OJT (on-the-job training). And a culinary school diploma can be very valuable when looking for a cook job, especially at high-end restaurants. Check out your local community college for classes.

Career paths for line cooks

The success or failure of any restaurant relies on the dining experience, which a line cook has a direct impact on. If you’re a really good cook and a dedicated employee, you can eventually be promoted to sous chef or even become the executive chef (if you’re really, really good). Many chefs eventually open their own restaurants or catering businesses.

The future of line cooks

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that restaurant cook jobs are expected to increase 14% from 2014-24, which is about average across all industries. This relatively slow growth will result in fierce competition for available positions. That's why education and experience are important to your success.

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