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How to Write a Cook Resume

Your cook’s resume format is as important as how you write your resume. This sample resume demonstrates the best resume layout hacks to follow: 1-inch margins, bullet points and clear resume headings for each of the following sections. 

cook resume
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  • Professional header and contact info:

    • Include your name, contact information, and a professional email address.

  • Compelling summary statement:

    • A brief resume summary or objective highlighting two or three restaurant-relevant skills, experience or accomplishments.

  • Highlight your skills:

    • Create a dedicated section to showcase hard and soft skills specific to cook work, like food prep, kitchen upkeep and time management.

  • Emphasize your work history:

    • List your work experience in reverse-chronological order: include job titles, company names, dates of employment, and key responsibilities and achievements for each role in a bullet list.

  • Supporting education section:

    • Detail your educational background, mentioning any relevant degrees, diplomas or certifications obtained.

  • Additional sections:

    • You can add resume sections for licenses, certifications, industry memberships or unions, awards, volunteer experience or spoken languages.


How to Write a Cook Resume Summary

The resume summary is your first professional pitch — convince hiring managers to read on by highlighting three essential qualifications and achievements as a cook. It is a concise introduction to your resume and can significantly impact the hiring manager’s decision. Follow these guidelines to craft an attention-grabbing cook resume summary:

Keep it concise and impactful:

The resume summary should be a brief paragraph consisting of three to four sentences. Focus on highlighting the most relevant qualifications and accomplishments that align with your target cook role. 

Showcase your expertise:

Emphasize the experience and skills that make you a strong candidate for the cook position. Mention your years of hospitality experience, proficiency in preparing ingredients, developing recipes, multitasking and any other relevant skills that set you apart.

Tailor it to the job description:

Customize your resume summary to match the specific requirements of the server role you’re applying for. Use keywords and phrases from the job description to demonstrate that you possess the desired qualifications and understand the position’s needs.

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Good cook resume summary

“Experienced restaurant cook with over seven years of expertise in preparing high-quality meals in fast-paced kitchen environments. Proficient in various cooking techniques, including grilling, sautéing, braising, and baking, and skilled in Italian, Mediterranean, and American cuisines. Praised for exceptional teamwork, efficient time management, and a commitment to maintaining the highest food safety and cleanliness standards. Dedicated to creating visually appealing and flavorful dishes that exceed customer expectations.”

This resume summary persuades the reader by including specific technical skills hiring managers look for in a cook. It also emphasizes the candidate’s commitment to superior service and outstanding culinary experiences. 

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Poor cook resume summary

“I have several years of experience cooking in different restaurants. I can prepare a variety of dishes and follow recipes accurately. I work well with my team and maintain a clean kitchen. I am seeking a position to develop my cooking skills further.”

This example needs to employ active language to grab the reader’s attention. Additionally, it fails to mention any specific skills that would be valuable to the employer. 

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The resume summary works best if you have over three years of experience. Try the resume objective if you’re a first-time job seeker, freelancer or career changer. This alternative introduction pitches your transferable skills and downplays your lack of relevant experience. 


How to Add Your Cook Work History

The work history section of your cook resume provides an opportunity to highlight your relevant professional experiences and accomplishments. Follow these guidelines to showcase your work history effectively:

Start with your most recent role:

List your work history with your current or most recent position as a restaurant cook. Include the name of the restaurant, your job title and the dates of employment.

Focus on achievements:

Instead of listing job responsibilities, emphasize your accomplishments and contributions in each role. Highlight any improvements you made or positive outcomes you achieved. Use quantifiable metrics whenever possible to demonstrate the impact of your work.

Tailor it to the role:

Highlight experiences directly relevant to the position you’re applying for. Emphasize food prep, time management, attention to detail, recipe testing and other culinary skills that showcase your suitability for the role.

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Good cook work experience example:

    Restaurant Cook | Gourmet Bistro

    Denver, CO | June 2018 – Present


    • Prepared and cooked various dishes, including appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
    • Implemented a new inventory management system that reduced food waste by 15%.
    • Trained and mentored new kitchen staff, improving team efficiency by 25%.
    • Developed daily specials that increased daily revenue by 10%.

This example is convincing because it displays specific accomplishments and quantifiable results. It underlines the candidate’s ability to drive positive outcomes and manage cook responsibilities. Including metrics like reduced food waste and improved team efficiency reinforces the impact of the achievements. 

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Poor cook work experience example:

    Line Cook | Seafood Haven

    Denver, CO | January 2020 – Present


    • Prepared and cooked various dishes.
    • Trained and mentored new kitchen staff.
    • Developed daily specials.

This work experience section lacks specific triumphs that showcase the value the job seeker brings to the restaurant. It needs to include more information that advocates for their abilities as a restaurant cook. 


How to Write a Cook Education Section

Formal education is usually optional for roles in the culinary industry. However, you should include any relevant academic program that informs your knowledge and qualifications as a restaurant cook. Follow these guidelines to present your educational qualifications effectively:

1Start with your highest level of education:

Begin the education section with your most advanced degree. Include the degree type, primary or focus area, institution name and dates of attendance or graduation.

Degree resume example:

Bachelor in Culinary Arts, Culinary Institute of America
St. Helena, CA | September 2014 – May 2018

2Highlight specialized certifications and training:

Emphasize any certifications or specialized training that enhance your qualifications as a restaurant cook. This could include certificates in food safety or specific programs relevant to your role.

Certification resume example:

Certification in Food Safety | National Registry of Food Safety Professionals
Denver, August 2018

3Showcase relevant coursework and research projects:

Mention any coursework or research projects demonstrating your culinary arts expertise or relevant study areas. This can provide insights into your knowledge and skills in the field.

Relevant coursework resume example:

Anthropology of Food | Culinary Institute of America

4Include notable institutions or educational affiliations:

If you have attended prestigious educational institutions or are affiliated with reputable culinary associations, highlight them to strengthen your resume’s credibility and showcase your commitment to excellence.

Membership association resume example:

Member, American Culinary Federation

5Mention professional development activities:

Highlight workshops, conferences, or training programs relevant to the culinary arts you have attended. Include the program name, organization, and dates to demonstrate your commitment to staying updated with the latest trends and best practices in the field.

Professional development resume example:

Food Service Training Program
Inspiration Kitchens | November 2019

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Adding these or similar action verbs on your resume can help you describe your innovative approach, multitasking abilities, and impact in previous roles. Tailor your language with relevant verbs that match the job ad’s tone and tense. 


15 Skills For Your Cook Resume

We covered how to incorporate soft, hard and technical skills throughout your resume. Your skills section is the last place to add culinary skills you’d like employers to know about. Here’s a starting list of restaurant-friendly skills to feature on your cook resume: 

soft skills

Cook soft skills

  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork
soft skills

Cook hard skills

  • Food safety and sanitation
  • Recipe development
  • Knowledge of food and beverage pairings
  • Ingredient preparation
  • Inventory management
soft skills

Cook technical skills

  • Sous vide cooking
  • Pastry and baking
  • Butchery
  • Plating and presentation
  • Multi-station cooking 
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Including a well-rounded mix of resume skills specific to restaurant cook responsibilities, you can effectively showcase your capabilities and suitability for the role. Remember to tailor your skills section to align with the requirements of the specific cook position you are applying for.


20 Cook Action Verbs

With the ease of online job boards and professional social media sites like LinkedIn, hiring managers can see dozens to hundreds of applications for a single opening. Unique action verbs and power words can help your resume stand out against the monotony of repetitive resumes. 

  • Baked
  • Blanched
  • Braised
  • Carved
  • Chopped
  • Cooked
  • Garnished
  • Grilled
  • Marinated
  • Measured
  • Mixed
  • Plated
  • Prepared
  • Roasted
  • Sautéed
  • Seasoned
  • Simmered
  • Sliced
  • Steamed
  • Stirred


Additional Resume Sections

Consider adding the following sections to your cook resume based on your specific circumstances and to enhance your qualifications:

  • Certifications:

    Include a separate section to showcase relevant credentials.

  • Professional Development:

    Use a professional development section featuring workshops, seminars or educational programs to replace or supplement your education section. 

  • Awards and Achievements:

    If you have received recognition or awards for your performance, productivity or safety record, include a section to showcase these accomplishments.

  • Volunteer Experience:

    Replace your work history section with a volunteer section if you have less than three years of experience. Use this space to demonstrate relevant skills or attributes, such as organization, discipline and service.

  • Language Proficiency:

    Since kitchens can host a diverse range of cooks, multilingual fluency could support your daily responsibilities. 

  • Memberships:

    Let hiring managers know about your membership to culinary-specific organizations or unions. 

Use a Cover Letter to Express Yourself

A resume is a concise overview of your skills and experience — a cover letter expands on this foundation. Add a cover letter to share one or two examples of how you excelled in similar roles or how your skills match a company’s needs. Use this sample as a guide, or visit our helpful resources to boost your application.

Cook Resume FAQ

How do you describe a prep cook on a resume?

The best place to describe your job as a prep cook is in your resume summary. Approach this section as an elevator pitch to the employer. Think of your most impressive skills and accomplishments and show them the value you can bring to the kitchen. Here’s an example: 

“Detail-oriented prep cook with over five years of experience supporting kitchen operations and preparing ingredients for high-volume restaurants. Skilled in precise knife work, efficient food preparation, and maintaining a clean and organized workspace. Known for reducing preparation time by 20% through optimized workflow and meticulous attention to detail. Dedicated to ensuring a seamless and productive kitchen environment to deliver exceptional dining experiences.”

Should I tailor my cook resume to each job application?

Tailoring your resume to each job application is essential. Carefully read the job description, identify key skills and requirements, and customize your resume. Highlight experiences and achievements that directly relate to the specific needs of the restaurant cook position.

Can I include non-culinary-related work experience in my resume?

You can include non-culinary-related work experience if it showcases transferable skills or qualities relevant to the role. Focus on highlighting skills such as time management, communication or problem-solving that can be valuable in a restaurant setting.

Should I include references on my resume?

Including references on your resume is optional. Instead, have a separate document ready with references and provide it when specifically requested.