Career Advice on How to Become A Restaurant Cook

General Career Information

If you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant, then you probably have a pretty good idea what a restaurant cook does for a living.  A restaurant cook prepares the food that you have eaten on many occasions. 

Usually the cooking environment is somewhat chaotic as cooks attempt to get orders filled and out to impatient customers as soon as possible.  Of course, the level of skill and the types of dishes prepared could not vary more.  Depending upon the dinning establishment, you may be served an elegantly prepared meal that makes use of numerous different herbs and spices, or you might just be lucky enough to get a bowl of slop.


Career Facts:

Depending upon the size of a restaurant, you might find a few different chefs and cooks employed.  If the restaurant is particularly large, you may find that there are several different chefs or cooks working at different stations preparing specific dishes.  For example, one chef may be working at a station just preparing grilled dishes or working on desserts.  

The equipment that restaurant cooks will use also varies depending on the quality and size of the establishment.  Some restaurants have equipment that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.  At larger restaurants, the equipment is likely to be state of the art.  However, at other restaurants, the cook is fortunate to have a fire pit and a stick.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Average:

The job growth for restaurant cooks is expected to be about eleven percent between now and 2016, which is roughly average.  This translates into about 350,000 new jobs being created by 2016.
Job Outlook is Fair

A Day in The Life:

Like all cooks, the restaurant cook often feels compelled to be covered with a symphony of semi-appropriate and downright tacky tattoos.  More than likely, the previous night was either spent getting a new tattoo, contemplating a new tattoo or discussing how awesome a given tattoo happens to be. 

Once at work, a restaurant cook can have a very different experience based upon the quality of the establishment.  For some restaurant cooks, the environment may be state of the art, well lit, ventilated and clean.  For other cooks, the environment may be state of the art for 1927, dirty and hot as blazes.  Either way, the work can be intense and fast paced as cooks try to get food out to impatient, spoiled babies as fast as possible.


Average Salary:

The average salary for a restaurant cook was about $20,000, which is of course, ridiculously low.  However, the job does allow for experience and on the job training.  Some cooks can earn even less.  The bottom ten percent earns a mind-boggling $14,000 on average. 

Career Training and Qualifications:

Vocational training for cook positions is common. Some cooks, who have trained to be chefs, have completed 2-year and 4-year degree programs.
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