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Become A Line Cook

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Working As A Line Cook

  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $24,208

    Average Salary

What Does A Line Cook Do

A Line Cook is responsible for preparing food according to the specifications of the chef and for setting up the stations with all of the necessary supplies. They also clean up the stations and take care of leftover food.

How To Become A Line 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.


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.


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.


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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Line Cook jobs

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Line Cook Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Portuguese

  • Japanese

  • Russian

  • Arabic

  • Thai

  • Korean

  • Mandarin

  • Chinese

  • Swedish

  • Dutch

  • Vietnamese

  • Tagalog

  • Hindi

  • Filipino

  • Greek

  • Dakota

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Real Line Cook Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Line Cook Wianno Club, Inc. MA May 07, 2016 $52,801
Line Cook The Black Bass Hotel Associates, Inc. Summerville, PA Aug 10, 2015 $33,259
Restaurant Line Cook Little House CAFE, Inc. Vineyard Haven, MA Apr 26, 2016 $31,827
Line Cook Boarding House, Inc. Nantucket, MA Apr 28, 2016 $31,806
Line Cooks Douglas Island Development Oak Bluffs, MA Jun 03, 2016 $31,806
Prep/Line Cook West End Ale House and Oyster Bar LLC Provincetown, MA May 01, 2016 $31,806
Line Cooks Dredlock Holidays, Inc. Nantucket, MA Apr 01, 2016 $31,806
Line Cook The Westmoor Club Nantucket, MA May 15, 2016 $31,806
Line Cook P&G Foods Inc. Somerville, MA Apr 29, 2016 $31,034
Line Cook Glen Oaks Club, Inc. Old Westbury, NY May 01, 2016 $31,013
Line Cook BESH Restaurant Group New Orleans, LA Nov 15, 2015 $30,262
Line Cook 2 Hermitage Club LLC Dover, VT Dec 04, 2016 $29,990
Line Cooks V.R.'s Inc. Wellfleet, MA Apr 15, 2016 $29,969
Line Cook Baltusrol Golf Club Springfield, NJ May 01, 2016 $29,907
Line Cook Andrea Hotel, Inc. Westerly, RI May 05, 2016 $28,028
Line Cook The Ocean House and The Weekapaug Inn Watch Hill, RI May 01, 2016 $28,028
Line Cook Gleneagles Country Club Delray Beach, FL Oct 01, 2016 $27,841
Line Cook Frenchman's Reserve Country Club Palm Beach Gardens, FL Oct 01, 2016 $27,841
Line Cook Destination Stowe Hotel, Inc. Stowe, VT Jun 01, 2015 $27,820
Line Cook Destination Stowe Hotel, Inc. Stowe, VT Jul 01, 2016 $27,820
Line Cook 5 Stars Restaurant Group Inc. Framingham, MA Jan 02, 2015 $27,726
Line Cook II Wianno Club, Inc. MA May 20, 2016 $27,694
Line Cook Sailfish Point Property Owners and Country Club Association, Inc. Stuart, FL Oct 01, 2016 $27,131
Line Cook Table 26 Ltd West Palm Beach, FL Oct 24, 2015 $27,131 -
Line Cook Ibis Golf & Country Club, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Oct 01, 2016 $27,131
Line Cook Wycliffe Golf and Country Club, Inc. Wellington, FL Oct 01, 2016 $27,131
Line Cook Colleton River Plantation Club Inc. Bluffton, SC Oct 12, 2016 $27,131
Line Cook Lake Shore Country Club Glencoe, IL May 15, 2016 $27,131
Line Cook Windsor Club Vero Beach, FL Oct 01, 2016 $27,131
Line Cook Table 26 Ltd West Palm Beach, FL Oct 24, 2016 $27,131 -

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Top Skills for A Line Cook


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Top Line Cook Skills

  1. Kitchen Equipment
  2. Prep List
  3. Cold Food Items
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Learned all menu items quickly and how to operate all kitchen equipment.
  • Worked with owner and kitchen manager in organizing restaurant, including creating prep lists and new dishes, and organizing inventory
  • Prepared a variety of foods: meat, seafood, poultry, vegetable, and cold food items.
  • Developed popular daily specials with personally sourced ingredients for saut stations.
  • Serve menu items compliant with established standards as sell as constantly use safe and hygienic food handling practices.

Top Line Cook Employers

Line Cook Videos

Line cooking!

Paul Gerard's WORK THE LINE featuring Anthony Bourdain & Tom Colicchio

The Cheesecake Factory Line Cook Careers