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Become A Specialty Foods Cook

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Working As A Specialty Foods 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

  • $28,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Specialty Foods Cook Do

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

Duties

Cooks typically do the following:

  • Ensure the freshness of food and ingredients
  • Weigh, measure, and mix ingredients according to recipes
  • Bake, grill, or fry meats, fish, vegetables, and other foods
  • Boil and steam meats, fish, vegetables, and other foods
  • Arrange, garnish, and sometimes serve food
  • Clean work areas, equipment, utensils, and dishes
  • Cook, handle, and store food or ingredients

Cooks usually work under the direction of chefs, head cooks, or food service managers. Large restaurants and food service establishments often have multiple menus and large kitchen staffs. Teams of restaurant cooks, sometimes called assistant cooks or line cooks, work at assigned stations equipped with the necessary types of stoves, grills, pans, and ingredients.

Job titles often reflect the principal ingredient cooks prepare or the type of cooking they do—vegetable cook, fry cook, or grill cook, for example.

Cooks use a variety of kitchen equipment, including broilers, grills, slicers, grinders, and blenders.

The responsibilities of cooks vary depending on where they work, the size of the facility, and the level of service offered. However, in all establishments, they follow established sanitation procedures when handling food. For example, they store food and ingredients at the correct temperatures to prevent bacterial growth.

The following are examples of types of cooks:

Restaurant cooks prepare a wide selection of dishes and cook most orders individually. Some restaurant cooks may order supplies, set menu prices, and plan the daily menu.

Fast-food cooks prepare a limited selection of menu items in fast-food restaurants. They cook and package food, such as hamburgers and fried chicken, to be kept warm until served. For more information on workers who prepare and serve items in fast-food restaurants, see the profiles on food preparation workers and food and beverage serving and related workers.

Institution and cafeteria cooks work in the kitchens of schools, cafeterias, businesses, hospitals, and other institutions. For each meal, they prepare a large quantity of a limited number of entrees, vegetables, and desserts, according to preset menus. These cooks usually prepare meals in advance and seldom take special orders.

Short-order cooks prepare foods in restaurants and coffee shops that emphasize fast service and quick food preparation. They usually prepare sandwiches, fry eggs, and cook french fries, often working on several orders at the same time.

Private household cooks, sometimes called personal chefs, plan and prepare meals in private homes, according to the client’s tastes and dietary needs. They order groceries and supplies, clean the kitchen, and wash dishes and utensils. They also may cater parties, holiday meals, luncheons, and other social events. Private household cooks typically work for one full-time client, although some are self-employed or employed by an agency, regularly making meals for multiple clients.

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How To Become A Specialty Foods 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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Average Length of Employment
Cook/Baker 3.1 years
Cook/Trainer 2.8 years
Short Order Cook 2.3 years
Cook 2.0 years
Specialty Cook 2.0 years
Assistant Cook 2.0 years
Mexican Food Cook 1.9 years
Grill Cook/Prep 1.9 years
Kitchen Cook 1.8 years
Prep Cook 1.7 years
Deli Cook 1.7 years
Grill Cook 1.7 years
Cook/Server 1.7 years
Cook/Dishwasher 1.6 years
Fast Food Cook 1.6 years
Back Line Cook 1.6 years
Pizza Cook 1.4 years
Cook/Team Member 1.4 years
Fry Cook 1.3 years
Top Careers Before Specialty Foods Cook
Cashier 20.0%
Cook 12.8%
Prep Cook 8.4%
Server 4.0%
Food Prep 3.7%
Line Cook 3.1%
Janitor 2.7%
Supervisor 2.3%
Internship 2.3%
Manager 2.3%
Top Careers After Specialty Foods Cook
Cashier 14.0%
Cook 12.3%
Prep Cook 8.1%
Server 5.3%
Line Cook 3.9%
Food Prep 3.5%
Driver 2.4%

Do you work as a Specialty Foods Cook?

Specialty Foods Cook Demographics

Gender

Male

62.4%

Female

25.6%

Unknown

12.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

73.9%

French

8.7%

Ukrainian

4.3%

Hebrew

4.3%

Polish

4.3%

Korean

4.3%
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Specialty Foods Cook Education

Schools

The Academy

11.6%

University of Phoenix

9.3%

Fox Valley Technical College

7.0%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

7.0%

Ashford University

5.8%

Davenport University

5.8%

National College

4.7%

Full Sail University

4.7%

Tidewater Community College

4.7%

Hillsborough Community College

4.7%

Wake Technical Community College

3.5%

Middle Tennessee State University

3.5%

Augusta Technical College

3.5%

Savannah Technical College

3.5%

Erie Community College

3.5%

Monroe Community College

3.5%

Johnson County Community College

3.5%

Western Technical College

3.5%

Broward College

3.5%

Cuyahoga Community College

3.5%
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Majors

Business

18.8%

Culinary Arts

12.3%

General Studies

8.4%

Criminal Justice

8.2%

Nursing

5.3%

Medical Assisting Services

4.6%

Computer Science

4.3%

Health Care Administration

4.3%

Liberal Arts

3.9%

Automotive Technology

3.4%

Education

3.1%

Psychology

3.1%

Management

2.9%

Accounting

2.9%

Food And Nutrition

2.7%

Kinesiology

2.7%

Cosmetology

2.4%

Communication

2.4%

Electrical Engineering

2.2%

English

2.2%
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Degrees

Other

47.3%

Associate

20.4%

Bachelors

19.6%

Certificate

7.8%

Diploma

3.6%

Masters

0.7%

License

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$28,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$17,000
Min 10%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Bright Horizons
Highest Paying City
Milpitas, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
1.7 years
How much does a Specialty Foods Cook make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Specialty Foods Cook in the United States is $28,479 per year or $14 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $17,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $46,000.

Real Specialty Foods Cook Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
South-Asian Food Specialty Cook Sam's Ny LLC New York, NY Sep 09, 2016 $67,413
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food China Palace Restaurant, Inc. Novato, CA Jul 13, 2015 $62,213
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food China Palace Restaurant, Inc. Novato, CA Apr 20, 2015 $59,613
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food Quan's Kitchen Inc. Mansfield, MA Aug 26, 2016 $53,685
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food Quan's Kitchen Inc. Mansfield, MA Jun 09, 2016 $53,685
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food Quan's Kitchen Inc. Mansfield, MA Jun 01, 2016 $53,685
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food Quan's Kitchen Inc. Mansfield, MA Jun 05, 2016 $53,685
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food China Palace Restaurant, Inc. Novato, CA Jun 09, 2016 $52,270
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food Quan's Enterprises Inc. Attleboro, MA May 16, 2016 $50,918
Foreign Food Specialty Chef Melvin Hong Kim (D/B/A Book Chang Dong Tofu House) Duluth, GA Jun 02, 2015 $43,638
Chef, Chinese Specialty Food Tam's Business LLC Canton Dragon Prescott Valley, AZ Jul 10, 2015 $42,224
Chef, Specialty, Foreign Food, Chinese Hong Kong Ruby LLC Harrisburg, PA May 11, 2015 $40,383
Chef, Specialty, Foreign Food, Chinese Hong Kong Chef IX Middletown, PA Apr 29, 2015 $40,383
Cook, Specialty Chinese Food Thai Garden Clarkston, WA Nov 25, 2016 $39,437
Specialty Cook of Chinese DIM SUM Foods Sammei, Inc. Dba Mai Dragon MD Feb 24, 2016 $35,000
Cook, Specialty Filipino-Style Food FTI Philam Foods, Inc. New York, NY Sep 02, 2016 $34,570
Specialty Cook-Indian Food Indian Delhi Palace, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Apr 01, 2016 $32,365
Cooks, Specialty Thai Food Blue Elephant Restaurant Bakersfield, CA Aug 28, 2015 $26,312
Cook, Japanese Food Specialty Daikokuya Inc. Arcadia, CA Dec 30, 2016 $26,291
Cook, Specialty Thai Food Soo Raa Thai American Chic CA Nov 30, 2016 $26,291
Cooks, Japanese Food Specialty Hirotaka Fujita DBA Jinpachi West Hollywood, CA Nov 10, 2016 $26,291
Specialty Cook, Chinese Food Lim Family Inc. Augusta, GA Nov 29, 2016 $26,088
Chinese Specialty Food Cook Empress of China, Inc. Gretna, LA Mar 20, 2015 $25,917
Chinese Specialty Food Cook Young's Garden, Inc. Kenner, LA Jan 09, 2015 $25,917
Chinese Specialty Food Cook Young's Garden, Inc. Kenner, LA Jan 06, 2015 $25,917

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Top Skills for A Specialty Foods Cook

  1. Food Safety
  2. Kitchen Equipment
  3. Dishes
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Follow Oregon food safety and sanitation procedures.
  • Maintained and repaired kitchen equipment.
  • Cooked and Prepared Food, washed dishes, took out trash and unloaded supply truck every Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Provided excellent customer service through constant interaction and accommodating to customer needs.
  • Measure ingredients required for specific food items being prepared.

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Top 10 Best States for Specialty Foods Cooks

  1. Nevada
  2. Wyoming
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Washington
  6. Hawaii
  7. Vermont
  8. Minnesota
  9. Nebraska
  10. Colorado
  • (399 jobs)
  • (67 jobs)
  • (758 jobs)
  • (115 jobs)
  • (818 jobs)
  • (140 jobs)
  • (70 jobs)
  • (956 jobs)
  • (237 jobs)
  • (1,035 jobs)

Top Specialty Foods Cook Employers

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