Prep Cook

Average Prep Cook Salary Nationwide


Overview and Basic Information


Prep cooks play an integral role in the operation of restaurant kitchens all over the country. From chopping and dicing to mixing and baking, prep cooks have a variety of responsibilities that ensure hungry guests are served the delicious meals they expect. Prep cooks are the foundation of a successful foodservice business and are extremely valuable assets to talented chefs.

Example prep cook job description

Our popular restaurant is seeking a hard-working, organized and detail-oriented individual to be the prep cook in our successful kitchen. The prep cook is responsible for meal prep duties including the preparation of ingredients, side dishes and sauces for each restaurant shift. The ideal candidate for this position works well under pressure and is dedicated to excellence. If you are proud of your basic cooking skills and enjoy a daily challenge, our prep cook position is right for you!

Typical duties include:

  • Execute daily food preparation tasks as assigned by the head chef and sous chef

  • Manage inventory of kitchen ingredients and stock items as necessary

  • Communicate progress and needs with kitchen staff 

  • Accurately measure ingredients and follow recipes to make sauces, dressings, entrees and side dishes

  • Wash and prepare food ingredients according to health department standards

  • Maintain a sanitary and organized work environment

  • Properly label food items and store in the designated area

  • Wash dishes, take out trash and all other kitchen duties as assigned


  • Proper food safety training and knowledge of sanitation guidelines

  • Ability to follow orders and work in a fast-paced environment

  • Ability to multitask and prioritize responsibilities

  • Knowledge of how to properly use kitchen tools such as knives, blenders, oven and gas range

  • Ability to communicate effectively

  • Strong desire to work as a team player

  • Ability to life between 25-60 lbs on a regular basis

  • High school diploma or equivalent

Preferred qualifications:

  • Prior kitchen experience as a prep cook

  • Food handling certification

  • Proper training in a professional kitchen

Common questions about prep cook jobs

How much does a prep cook make?

On average, prep cooks earn $11.50 per hour. In addition to competitive wages, prep cooks also enjoy flexible schedules and other benefits such as restaurant discounts.

What are the education requirements?

Prep cooks are typically required to have a high school diploma or GED. Certain upscale restaurants, however, prefer prep cooks to have formal training in the kitchen.

Career paths for prep cooks

The position of prep cook is an ideal starting position for individuals who want to pursue a career in the restaurant industry. Many prep cooks are promoted to line cooks while others go on to culinary school and become executive chefs.

The future of prep cooks

There is a bright future ahead for prep cooks as the restaurant industry continues to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the position of prep cook is projected to grow over 8% between now and 2028, which is faster than the average career.

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