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Restaurant Cooks are responsible for preparing meals for restaurant patrons. They are not limited to just cooking, however. Restaurant Cooks often do prep work, clean their areas, order supplies and supervise subordinate kitchen staff. They may also mentor or coach new employees.

Restaurant Cooks work as a team with other kitchen staff. While the Restaurant Cook will generally report to a Restaurant Manager, they tend to be the lead person in the kitchen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cooks can expect to see job growth of about 4 percent through 2024 which will add an estimated 97,000 jobs to this field.

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Restaurant Cook Duties and Responsibilities

The type and size of restaurant a Restaurant Cook works for will greatly determine their duties and responsibilities. There are, however, several common primary duties nearly all Restaurant Cooks can expect to perform. A review of current job listings identified the following main responsibilities.

Prepare Ingredients

Restaurant Cooks are often tasked with what is referred to as prep work. This can entail washing produce, chopping vegetables, preparing sauces, and making salads to name a few. In larger restaurants the Restaurant Cook will generally supervise the staff performing these duties, while in smaller venues, the Restaurant Cook may be responsible for performing the prep work themselves.

Maintain Kitchen

A Restaurant Cook is expected to keep the kitchen clean and free of any potential safety hazards. To accomplish this Restaurant Cooks must adopt standard protocols for cleaning each area of the kitchen and ensure they and their staff adhere to these guidelines. They must also be sure all staff members know how to properly and safely handle all kitchen equipment. Restaurant Cooks keep a close eye on the quality of kitchen equipment and report to management if they suspect any repairs or replacements are needed to prevent possible injuries.

Prepare Food

The main task of the Restaurant Cook is, of course, to cook. Restaurant Cooks generally follow standard restaurant-specific recipes and must also be conscious of customers with dietary restrictions and allergies. In some types of restaurants, such as diners, a Restaurant Cook may prepare the entire meal, whereas in other types of restaurants the Restaurant Cook may share this responsibility with other cooks. Regardless of how much of a meal they prepare, it is generally the Restaurant Cook's duty to ensure the plated food is correctly prepared and looks appealing.

Restaurant Cook Skills

Restaurant Cooks must be passionate about food and love to cook. They should possess excellent written and verbal communication skills and work well in fast-paced environments. An eye for detail and the ability to multitask are also very important. In addition to these traits, employers look for applicants with the following skillsets.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Restaurant Cooks with these core skills. If you want to work as a Restaurant Cook, focus on the following.
  • Knowledge of food preparation and presentation
  • Ability to perform large volume cooking
  • Working knowledge of kitchen equipment such as, grills, oven and fryers
  • Physically able to stand for duration of shift, bend, and lift heavy materials

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your repertoire of skills and broaden your career options.
  • Certification or degree in Food and Beverage Services or similar area
  • Experience in specific styles of cooking

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Restaurant Cook Resources

There are more resources available on the Web for those interested in becoming a Restaurant Cook. We scoured the internet and found these links full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news.

On the Web

Chef's Resources

A fantastic website for anyone working in the culinary field or curious about it. The site is setup nicely and allows users to easily navigate between different types of foods, conversion tables, kitchen tools and a useful blog.

The Butcher's Blog

Top Tips This blogger has not been active in over a year, but there are great posts here all about meat. This third generation butcher gives insights into the business as well as wonderful information about different cuts of meats and great recipes. It's a wonderful resource for anyone working in the food industry.

Chef Magazine

This UKbased magazine offers digital and paper versions of their popular culinarythemed journal. With wonderful tips and industry news this is a great resource for the Restaurant Cook.

Twitter

@legrosgarcon

Follow actor, playwright, and author, Steven Butler as he further expresses himself artistically with his amazing restaurantstyle meals made in his own kitchen. His images and inventive creations are great inspiration for Restaurant Cooks.

@NYAmNewsFOOD

This feed is dedicated to sharing news and information on the chefs, cooks, eateries, and food events in the Harlem and greater New York area.

@tuffystone

Tuffy Stone tweets all about his BBQ team "Cool Smoke" which won the Jack Daniels Barbecue World Championships in 2015. A great feed to follow for those who work in or enjoy cooking barbecue fare.

Restaurant Cooks Books

Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference

This is a staple for all cooks, both professional and amateur. It covers over 200 spices and herbs detailing their flavor profile and best combinations and uses. It also has a great selection of recipes.

The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients

This resource book is packed full of every ingredient imaginable and the best ways to store and prepare them. It contains recipes as well.

The Science of Good Cooking

Everything a cook needs to know about the science behind the methods and processes used in cooking can be found in this great text.

Industry Groups

National Restaurant Association

The NRA was first established in 1919 and is the largest foodservice association in the world with over 500,000 members. The association aims to protect the right of foodservice workers and supply educational opportunities and set industry standards.

American Culinary Federation

ACF is North America's leading organization for chefs. Founded in 1929, it boasts a membership of over 17,500 chefs.

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