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What is a Dietary Cook

Dietary cooks are responsible for preparing and serving meals according to the cycles menu. They monitor food handling methods and perform assigned work and cleaning routines for the dietary department while maintaining compliance with all applicable laws and regulatory and organizational standards. They also cook and serve food that follows specific, predetermined standards and nutritional or dietary guidelines. Dietary cooks earn an average salary of $24,000 annually or $12 per hour.

Dietary cooks are professionals who are passionate about what they do and perform lots of duties. Some of them include preparing food for the residents, assisting any residents that need help eating their meals, and assisting in the clean up, kitchen maintenance, setting up, and taking down the dining areas. They also deliver food to residents' rooms, prepare and serve snacks, and take inventory of food and kitchen supplies.

Dietary cooks typically hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. They are expected to have proven experience with food preparation and nutrition. Some employers prefer candidates with attention to detail, a food handler's card, and in-depth knowledge of the protocols and procedures for their facilities, as well as the rules and regulations for the states where they work.

What Does a Dietary Cook Do

Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods, which may include soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.

Learn more about what a Dietary Cook does

How To Become a Dietary Cook

Most cooks learn their skills through on-the-job training and work-related experience. Although no formal education is required, some restaurant cooks and private household cooks attend culinary schools. Others attend vocational or apprenticeship programs.

Education

Vocational cooking schools, professional culinary institutes, and some colleges offer culinary programs for aspiring cooks. These programs generally last from a few months to 2 years and may offer courses in advanced cooking techniques, international cuisines, and various cooking styles. To enter these programs, candidates may be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Depending on the type and length of the program, graduates generally qualify for entry-level positions as a restaurant cook.

Training

Most cooks learn their skills through on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. Trainees generally first learn kitchen basics and workplace safety and then learn how to handle and cook food.

Some cooks learn through an apprenticeship program. Professional culinary institutes, industry associations, and trade unions may sponsor such programs for cooks. Typical apprenticeships last 1 year and combine technical training and work experience. Apprentices complete courses in food sanitation and safety, basic knife skills, and equipment operation. They also learn practical cooking skills under the supervision of an experienced chef.

The American Culinary Federation accredits more than 200 academic training programs and sponsors apprenticeships through these programs around the country. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 17
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Pass substance abuse screening

Some hotels, a number of restaurants, and the Armed Forces have their own training programs.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many cooks learn their skills through work-related experience. They typically start as a kitchen helper or food preparation worker, learning basic cooking skills before they advance to assistant cook or line cook positions. Some learn by working under the guidance of a more experienced cook.

Advancement

The American Culinary Federation certifies chefs, personal chefs, pastry chefs, and culinary administrators, among others. For cooks seeking advancement to higher level chef positions, certification can show accomplishment and lead to higher paying positions.

Advancement opportunities for cooks often depend on training, work experience, and the ability to prepare more complex dishes. Those who learn new cooking skills and who handle greater responsibility, such as supervising kitchen staff in the absence of a chef, often advance. Some cooks may train or supervise kitchen staff, and some may become head cooks, chefs, or food service managers.

Important Qualities

Comprehension. Cooks need to understand orders and follow recipes to prepare dishes correctly.

Customer-service skills. Restaurant and short-order cooks must be able to interact effectively with customers and handle special requests.

Dexterity. Cooks should have excellent hand–eye coordination. For example, they need to use proper knife techniques for cutting, chopping, and dicing.

Physical stamina. Cooks spend a lot of time standing in one place, cooking food over hot stoves, and cleaning work areas.

Sense of taste and smell. Cooks must have a keen sense of taste and smell to prepare meals that customers enjoy.

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  1. Aramark Jobs (9)
  2. Good Samaritan Hospital Jobs (12)
  3. Brookdale Senior Living Jobs (7)
  4. National Healthcare Services Jobs (11)
  5. HealthCare Services Jobs (9)
Average Salary
$24,964
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
11%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
136,496
Job Openings
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Dietary Cook Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Dietary Cook

Dietary Cooks in America make an average salary of $24,964 per year or $12 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $34,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $17,000 per year.
Average Salary
$24,964
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5 Dietary Cook Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Dietary Cook Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Dietary Cook resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Dietary Cook Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Aramark Jobs (9)
  2. Good Samaritan Hospital Jobs (12)
  3. Brookdale Senior Living Jobs (7)
  4. National Healthcare Services Jobs (11)
  5. HealthCare Services Jobs (9)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Dietary Cook Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Dietary Cook templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Dietary Cook resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Dietary Cook Resume
Dietary Cook Resume
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Dietary Cook Resume
Dietary Cook Resume

Dietary Cook Demographics

Dietary Cook Gender Distribution

Male
Male
35%
Female
Female
65%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Dietary Cooks, 64.7% of them are women, while 35.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Dietary Cooks is White, which makes up 65.2% of all Dietary Cooks.

  • The most common foreign language among Dietary Cooks is Spanish at 67.7%.

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Dietary Cook Education

Dietary Cook Majors

14.6 %

Dietary Cook Degrees

High School Diploma

40.6 %

Associate

27.0 %

Diploma

14.4 %
Job Openings

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Top Skills For a Dietary Cook

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.7% of Dietary Cooks listed Food Service on their resume, but soft skills such as Sense of taste and smell and Dexterity are important as well.

  • Food Service, 15.7%
  • Kitchen Equipment, 11.2%
  • Diet Orders, 10.4%
  • Menu Items, 9.4%
  • Meal Service, 8.4%
  • Other Skills, 44.9%

Best States For a Dietary Cook

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Dietary Cook. The best states for people in this position are Nevada, New York, California, and Alaska. Dietary Cooks make the most in Nevada with an average salary of $41,920. Whereas in New York and California, they would average $41,652 and $41,619, respectively. While Dietary Cooks would only make an average of $41,246 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Nevada

Total Dietary Cook Jobs:
383
Highest 10% Earn:
$56,000
Location Quotient:
1.02
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Utah

Total Dietary Cook Jobs:
503
Highest 10% Earn:
$51,000
Location Quotient:
0.88
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Idaho

Total Dietary Cook Jobs:
262
Highest 10% Earn:
$49,000
Location Quotient:
0.89
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Dietary Cooks

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Top Dietary Cook Employers

Most Common Employers For Dietary Cook

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Dietary Cook SalaryAverage Salary
1$33,479
2$32,904
3$32,216
4
4.The Heritage Company
$30,641
5$28,426
6$27,888

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