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COOK

Cook

Most cooks learn their skills through on-the-job training and work experience. Some more specialized cooks may attend culinary schools, vocational or apprenticeship programs.

SALARY RANGE:

$19,541 - $28,336

Most cooks learn their skills through on-the-job training and work experience. Some more specialized cooks may attend culinary schools, vocational or apprenticeship programs.

Understanding what tastes and smells good (and what doesn’t) will help you prepare meals that customers enjoy. Hand-eye coordination and attention to measurements and other details are needed for proper food prep, and good customer-service skills can be important for restaurant and short-order cooks. This is a job that requires physical stamina, as you’ll spend a lot of time standing in one place, cooking food over hot stoves, and cleaning work areas.

At this stage you’ll typically focus on a particular part of the food preparation process, although you’re expected to have knowledge of how to work any part of the kitchen. As you advance, you may receive training in advanced cooking techniques, international cuisines, and specialized cooking styles.

With experience, you can expect to supervise a particular area or station within the kitchen. Certification and additional experience can lead to higher-level positions such as head cooks, food service managers, or chefs.

Beyond preparing food, high-level cooks may also plan the menu, choose and inspect ingredients and supervise the kitchen staff. Some may handle administrative tasks as well, including hiring and firing staff, managing cash flows, acquiring investors, ordering ingredients and more.

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