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Prep Cook Duties and Responsibilities

In order to best serve the needs of the kitchen, Prep Cooks must perform a series of duties in a timely and professional manner. Here we’ve compiled a list of the primary tasks a Prep Cook is charged with, based on our analysis of several job postings.

Prepare Food Prep Cooks are in charge of preparing cold foods, including vegetables, salads and fruits. This includes preparing these ingredients for more complicated recipes – such as chopping onions, peeling potatoes and crushing garlic – which are then cooked by the more experienced chefs in the kitchen.

Clean and Maintain Kitchen As entry-level workers, Prep Cooks are often called upon to handle tasks like mopping floors, washing dishes, cleaning equipment or sanitizing workstations. This enables the more experienced chefs to focus their full energy on getting dishes out to customers as quickly as possible.

Provide Customer Service Prep Cooks sometimes work with wait staff and customers to address their concerns, such as mistakes made on a person’s order, quickly preparing a minor replacement dish, such as a salad, or conveying any more complicated issues to the rest of the kitchen staff.

Stock the Kitchen Organizing, stocking and dating newly delivered ingredients are important tasks for Prep Cooks. This ensures no time is wasted on the part of the kitchen staff when trying to locate key ingredients, as well as ensuring that the ingredients most readily available are the ones closest to expiration.

Maintain Records Prep Cooks are often asked to record and report the status of various ingredients. This includes letting management know when the kitchen is running low on supplies. They also must ensure the chef’s preparation requirements and production schedules are met, so the kitchen can run at maximum efficiency.


Prep Cook Skills

Successful Prep Cooks thrive in a fast-paced environment, where they may have to address multiple tasks or issues simultaneously. They complete each task as quickly as possible, without sacrificing quality or safety. They enjoy working with their hands, preparing food and helping out with various kitchen duties. In some cases, they must also employ people skills to ensure their customers and co-workers have a pleasant experience. Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Prep Cooks with these core skills. If you want to work as a Prep Cook, focus on the following.

  • Following orders promptly and efficiently
  • Being able to spend hours on your feet, in places of extreme heat or cold
  • Knowing state and federal regulations regarding safe food handling
  • Managing stress
  • Learning new skills quickly

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Prep Cook toolbox and broaden your career options.


Prep Cook Resources

We’ve searched the internet and found more resources to help you explore a career in the culinary arts as a Prep Cook. From cook books to organizations of experienced professionals, this list provides resources for both the aspiring cook and the professional chef alike. On the Web

Fine Cooking – A culinary website with a wide variety of recipes, videos, and advice for aspiring and professional cooks. Based off a series of shows and their own cooking magazine.

The Culinary Cook – A cooking website which focuses both on recipes and specialized ingredients. Also includes a variety of articles, links to related eBooks and even a series of basic cooking classes for beginning cooks.

Cooking Channel – This television channel’s website includes advice from some of the best chef’s in the business and what additional skills Prep Cooks can improve on in order to further build up their own culinary careers. On LinkedIn

Thanksgiving.com – A great organization for anyone looking to bulk up on their holiday recipes. This site hosts tools for meal planning and an extensive library of recipes.

Cooking with Caitlin – A food-centered company focused on employing creative ideas with classic flavor combinations and typical ingredients. A useful resource for both the beginner and experienced chefs. A widely expanded operation, with a blog, Twitter feed, and YouTube presence, for the visual learners. Industry Groups

National Restaurant Association – With a membership of more than 500,000 restaurants, the National Restaurant Association is the largest food service trade group in the world. Prep Cook Books

The Professional Chef – Food Arts magazine named this book one of the five best culinary books of the decade. This classic kitchen reference is used to understand standards of quality and basic skills required in building a culinary career. This book has something for every cook, from the beginner to the advanced practitioner.

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of the America’s Most Imaginative Chefs – This book compiles the advice of dozens of accomplished chefs to gather new and exciting ways to season your ingredients for the best possible flavors. With thousands of ingredient combinations, you are surely to find some new flavor combinations to add some additional flavor to your dishes.

The Science of Good Cooking – A powerful compilation of recipes, core principles, and illustrations taken by the editors of the culinary publication, Cook’s Magazine. This book contains more than 400 recipes ranging from basic to complex, and serious to playful.