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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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Real Line Cook Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Line Cook VDJ Group, LLC ME Sep 22, 2014 $54,492
Line Cook The Black Bass Hotel Associates, Inc. Summerville, PA Aug 10, 2015 $33,259
Line Cook P&G Foods Inc. Somerville, MA Apr 29, 2016 $31,034
Line Cooks The Westmoor Club MA May 31, 2014 $30,241
Line Cooks The Ocean House and The Weekapaug Inn RI May 01, 2014 $30,199
Line Cook Glen Oaks Club, Inc. Old Westbury, NY May 01, 2015 $29,907
Line Cook Baltusrol Golf Club Springfield, NJ May 21, 2015 $29,907
Line Cook The Westchester Country Club NY May 20, 2013 $29,781
Line Cooks The Westmoor Club Nantucket, MA May 31, 2015 $29,781
Line Cook Glen Oaks Club, Inc. NY May 01, 2014 $29,176
Line Cook The Ocean House and The Weekapaug Inn Watch Hill, RI May 01, 2015 $29,030
Line Cooks Wequassett Inn, LLP MA Apr 01, 2014 $28,968
Line Cooks Douglas Island Development Oak Bluffs, MA May 19, 2015 $28,905
Line Cook Boarding House, Inc. Nantucket, MA Apr 20, 2015 $28,905
Line Cook Table 26 Ltd West Palm Beach, FL Oct 24, 2015 $27,131 -
Line Cook Wycliffe Golf and Country Club, Inc. Wellington, FL Oct 01, 2015 $27,131
Line Cook Sacramento Street Partners, LLC San Francisco, CA Aug 01, 2013 $27,131
Line Cook Sacramento Street Partners San Francisco, CA Aug 01, 2013 $27,131
Line Cook Table 26 Ltd West Palm Beach, FL Oct 24, 2016 $27,131 -
Line Cooks Douglas Island Development MA May 20, 2013 $27,048
Line Cook Windsor Country Club FL Oct 01, 2014 $27,048
Line Cooks St. Stephen's Green Publick House Spring Lake Heights, NJ Dec 30, 2014 $26,998
Line Cook St. Stephen's Green Publick House Spring Lake Heights, NJ Apr 16, 2015 $26,998
Line Cooks Eastward Ho! Country Club, Inc. MA May 12, 2013 $26,588
Line Cook Breda LLC ME Apr 15, 2014 $26,380
Line Cook Breda LLC ME Apr 01, 2013 $26,380
Line Cook Jonathan's Inc. ME Apr 15, 2013 $26,380
Line Cook AAL Enterprise, LLC Vienna, VA Mar 09, 2015 $26,312
Line Cooks Boarding House, Inc. MA Apr 19, 2014 $26,192

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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.

Line Cook Videos

Line cooking!

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

The Cheesecake Factory Line Cook Careers