Restaurant Cooks

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Also known as:
Banquet Cook, Breakfast Cook, Chef De Partie, Line Cook, Saucier, Specialty Cook

ABOUT RESTAURANT COOK CAREERS
Video transcript

Across the nation, over 700,000 restaurant cooks prepare literally millions of meals each day, most of them cooked to order. Since different foods require different preparation techniques and cooking times, filling the dinner order for just a party of four can be a major challenge. That's the challenge restaurant cooks routinely master. Specific duties vary depending on the restaurant.

In smaller establishments, the cook may be responsible for everything from menu planning and recipe selection to buying the ingredients, to peeling, chopping, and paring and of course, cooking them. In large restaurants, cooks work under the direction of an executive chef and may specialize in areas like pastry- or bread-making, broiler cooking, or sauce preparation.

A cook's work schedule is usually tied to the restaurant's serving hours. That can mean working late at night but it can also mean that your afternoons will be free between the end of the noontime rush and the beginning of the dinner hour.

Certainly a love of cooking is essential -but increasingly, so too is vocational or other post-secondary school training. The best and best-paying hotels and restaurants tend to hire cooks with the most formal training. After all, the success of their restaurants depends on their cooks and kitchen staff.

SNAPSHOT
Prepare, season, and cook dishes such as soups, meats, vegetables, or desserts in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
HIGH
Daily tasks

Bake breads, rolls, cakes, and pastries.

Consult with supervisory staff to plan menus, taking into consideration factors such as costs and special event needs.

Substitute for or assist other cooks during emergencies or rush periods.

Carve and trim meats such as beef, veal, ham, pork, and lamb for hot or cold service, or for sandwiches.

Wash, peel, cut, and seed fruits and vegetables to prepare them for consumption.

Prepare relishes and hors d'oeuvres.

Estimate expected food consumption, requisition or purchase supplies, or procure food from storage.

Portion, arrange, and garnish food, and serve food to waiters or patrons.

Observe and test foods to determine if they have been cooked sufficiently, using methods such as tasting, smelling, or piercing them with utensils.

Turn or stir foods to ensure even cooking.

Season and cook food according to recipes or personal judgment and experience.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Food Production Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
TOP SKILLS
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.