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Working as a Specialty Cook

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a specialty cook. For example, did you know that they make an average of $14.18 an hour? That's $29,498 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 Specialty Cook Do

There are certain skills that many specialty 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 dexterity, physical stamina and sense of taste and smell.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a specialty cook, we found that a lot of resumes listed 21.4% of specialty cooks included sous, while 17.7% of resumes included kitchen equipment, and 13.6% of resumes included cuisine. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the specialty cook job title. But what industry to start with? Most specialty cooks actually find jobs in the hospitality and retail industries.

How To Become a Specialty Cook

If you're interested in becoming a specialty cook, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 19.8% of specialty cooks have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 2.5% of specialty cooks have master's degrees. Even though some specialty 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 specialty cook. When we researched the most common majors for a specialty cook, we found that they most commonly earn associate degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on specialty cook resumes include high school diploma degrees or diploma degrees.

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

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Average Salary$29,498
Job Growth Rate11%

Average Salary for a Specialty Cook

Specialty Cooks in America make an average salary of $29,498 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $36,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $23,000 per year.
Average Salary
$29,498

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Attleboro, MA
Salary Range31k - 41k$36k$36,016
Stamford, CT
Salary Range30k - 41k$36k$35,762
Edison, NJ
Salary Range30k - 41k$35k$35,498
New City, NY
Salary Range29k - 40k$34k$34,255
Seattle, WA
Salary Range28k - 39k$33k$33,446
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range27k - 39k$33k$33,118
$20k
$41k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Asian Cuisine Specialty Cook-ZEN Noodle
Asian Cuisine Specialty Cook-ZEN Noodle
Penn National Gaming
Penn National Gaming
01/05/2021
01/05/2021
$37,56601/05/2021
$37,566
Specialty Cook
Specialty Cook
SMG
SMG
01/23/2020
01/23/2020
$47,02001/23/2020
$47,020
Specialty Cook
Specialty Cook
Walt Disney Co.
Walt Disney Co.
01/11/2020
01/11/2020
$42,47001/11/2020
$42,470
Specialty Cook
Specialty Cook
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
01/10/2020
01/10/2020
$42,47001/10/2020
$42,470
Specialty Cook
Specialty Cook
Walt Disney Co.
Walt Disney Co.
12/18/2019
12/18/2019
$42,47012/18/2019
$42,470
See More Recent Salaries

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Specialty Cook Demographics

Gender

male

67.8 %

female

27.3 %

unknown

4.9 %

Ethnicity

White

58.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

20.1 %

Black or African American

9.3 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

French

37.5 %

Spanish

25.0 %

Thai

12.5 %
See More Demographics

Specialty Cook Education

Majors

Business
13.0 %

Degrees

Associate

38.3 %

Bachelors

19.8 %

High School Diploma

17.3 %
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Specialty 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, 21.4% of specialty cooks listed sous on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and physical stamina are important as well.

Best States For a Specialty Cook

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a specialty cook. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Specialty cooks make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $35,958. Whereas in Massachusetts and New Jersey, they would average $35,837 and $35,520, respectively. While specialty cooks would only make an average of $34,855 in Rhode Island, 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 Specialty Cook Jobs:
374
Highest 10% Earn:
$43,000
Location Quotient:
1.52
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. Vermont

Total Specialty Cook Jobs:
77
Highest 10% Earn:
$42,000
Location Quotient:
0.93
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. Rhode Island

Total Specialty Cook Jobs:
108
Highest 10% Earn:
$45,000
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
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Top Specialty Cook Employers

1. Burger King
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$22,368
Specialty Cooks Hired: 
21+
2. The Walt Disney Company
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$34,183
Specialty Cooks Hired: 
10+
3. Foxwoods Resort Casino
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$33,588
Specialty Cooks Hired: 
7+
4. Kabobs
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$25,146
Specialty Cooks Hired: 
4+
5. Gate Gourmet
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$31,147
Specialty Cooks Hired: 
3+
6. Green Bancorp
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$33,546
Specialty Cooks Hired: 
3+
Updated October 2, 2020