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A lead cook is an essential member of the kitchen staff. Working under the supervision of a Head Chef, lead cooks prepare simple dishes such as soups, salads, sauces, and entrees. Just like any other kitchen staff, the lead cook also contributes to keeping a clean working area and adheres to the kitchen's safety regulations.

Cleaning and preparing ingredients, plating and garnishing meals is also the privilege of the lead cook, as well as supervising the work of line cooks who are below them in the kitchen hierarchy. Keeping cooking stations stocked with ingredients and clean equipment is also the lead cook's task.

This is a full-time job with long hours that desperately needs your passion in order to keep at it for long. Working over the weekends and nights will be a regular thing, and the job is high-paced and stressful. If you are in love with food; however, and wish to dedicate your life to preparing it, this is an excellent position to learn all the secrets you need.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a lead cook. For example, did you know that they make an average of $16.36 an hour? That's $34,031 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 11% and produce 282,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Lead Cook Do

There are certain skills that many lead cooks have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed comprehension, dexterity and physical stamina.

Learn more about what a Lead Cook does

How To Become a Lead Cook

If you're interested in becoming a lead cook, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 17.4% of lead cooks have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 1.2% of lead cooks have master's degrees. Even though some lead cooks have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a lead cook. When we researched the most common majors for a lead cook, we found that they most commonly earn associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on lead cook resumes include bachelor's degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a lead cook. In fact, many lead cook jobs require experience in a role such as cook. Meanwhile, many lead cooks also have previous career experience in roles such as line cook or sous chef.

Lead Cook Career Paths

Average Salary for a Lead Cook

Lead Cooks in America make an average salary of $34,031 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $42,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Lead Cook Salary
$34,031 Yearly
$16.36 hourly
$27,000
10 %
$34,000
Median
$42,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Lead Cook Education

Lead Cook Majors

14.1 %

Lead Cook Degrees

Associate

34.5 %

High School Diploma

32.5 %

Bachelors

17.4 %

Top Skills For a Lead 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, 17.7% of lead cooks listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as comprehension and dexterity are important as well.

  • Customer Service, 17.7%
  • Food Service, 13.6%
  • Kitchen Equipment, 12.9%
  • Menu Items, 12.1%
  • Storage Areas, 7.3%
  • Other Skills, 36.4%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Lead Cook Resume templates

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

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Lead Cook Demographics

Lead Cook Gender Distribution

Male
Male
73%
Female
Female
27%

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

  • Among lead cooks, 27.4% of them are women, while 72.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among lead cooks is White, which makes up 60.7% of all lead cooks.

  • The most common foreign language among lead cooks is Spanish at 60.6%.

Online Courses For Lead Cook That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Cook Real Food: How to Make Simple Plant-Based Meals
udemy
4.6
(1,117)

Learn how to cook whole plant foods to make quick, easy, and healthy vegan meals for practical everyday eating...

Cooking for Busy Healthy People
coursera

Cooking is one of the most powerful ways in which we can optimize our enjoyment of great quality food while protecting our health. Even on a tight budget, cooking can be a cost-effective, joyful and rewarding way to love the food that will love us back for a lifetime. In this course, you'll learn some basic recipes from a home cook and two professional chefs who prioritize healthful eating. You'll also learn some of the fundamentals of principle-based cooking that can help you break free from th...

The Hidden Side of Energy Access: Understanding Clean Cooking (Virtual Knowledge Exchange)
edX (Global)

Access to clean cooking solutions, including modern stoves and cooking fuels, is often overlooked as part of the wider energy access agenda. This is surprising, given that four billion people – over half the world’s population – lack access to modern energy cooking service, also known as MECS, for their daily cooking practices. This means that families around the world continue to rely on fuels like wood or charcoal and rudimentary stoves, leading to devastating health, climate, environmental...

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Best States For a Lead Cook

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a lead cook. The best states for people in this position are Massachusetts, Hawaii, Alaska, and Connecticut. Lead cooks make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $47,573. Whereas in Hawaii and Alaska, they would average $46,690 and $46,363, respectively. While lead cooks would only make an average of $46,072 in Connecticut, 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. Alaska

Total Lead Cook Jobs:
247
Highest 10% Earn:
$53,000
Location Quotient:
1.62 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. Pennsylvania

Total Lead Cook Jobs:
3,056
Highest 10% Earn:
$50,000
Location Quotient:
1.44 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. Hawaii

Total Lead Cook Jobs:
195
Highest 10% Earn:
$51,000
Location Quotient:
1.28 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 Lead Cooks

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Top Lead Cook Employers

Most Common Employers For Lead Cook

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Aramark$38,960$18.73359
2Marriott International$34,679$16.6786
3Pizza Hut$34,031$16.36323
4SAGE Dining Services$31,189$14.9982
5Compass Group USA$30,872$14.8464
6Panda Express$30,328$14.5870
7Cracker Barrel$30,018$14.4394
8Applebee's Canada$29,584$14.2298
9Ruby Tuesday$29,574$14.2290
10IHOP$29,421$14.1461

Lead Cook Videos