The food service industry is growing rapidly, making becoming a chef a lucrative and engaging career for many people. In addition, the growth of Food Network and the proliferation of celebrity YouTube chefs have embellished the industry. Culinary arts are a team sport. Do a cross train so you can help out in other areas of the kitchen as needed.
Help kitchen team members when they're in the weeds. The human need for food and the pleasure of a good meal cannot be overstated. The chefs who prepare these meals, from elegant restaurants to fast food production, have accelerated careers with more facets than you would expect. Under the direction of chefs or food service managers, cooks follow recipes to prepare restaurant-sized portions.
They measure and mix ingredients to create the menu items that are assigned to them and can garnish them for serving. Products can range from omelets for breakfast to salads, steaks and desserts. They keep their work areas and equipment clean, following safe food handling procedures. Research chefs develop new products for food brands.
Chef consultants help restaurants become more efficient or improve their operations. Food stylists focus on the aesthetic of the perfect dish for photos and movies. Food bloggers make their own recipes and share them with the world, and food influencers keep their audience aware of local points of interest. Chefs work in restaurants, schools, hospitals, hotels, and other establishments where food is prepared and served.
They often prepare only part of a dish and coordinate with other cooks and kitchen workers to complete meals on time. Compare job duties, education, job growth, and salary for cooks with similar occupations. The American Culinary Federation certifies chefs, personal chefs, pastry chefs and culinary administrators, among others. Professional certification can lead to higher-level or higher-paying positions.
The pay of cooks varies greatly depending on the region and the type of employer. Pay is usually higher in luxury hotels and restaurants, as well as in major metropolitan and tourist areas. The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated with annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within each occupation, earnings vary depending on experience, responsibility, performance, ownership and geographic area.
For most profiles, this tab has a table with the salaries of the main industries that employ the occupation. It does not include the pay of self-employed workers, agricultural workers or workers in private households because this data is not collected by the Employment and Occupational Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS salary data in the OOH. The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect the growth or decline of employment in the occupation and, in some cases, describes the relationship between the number of job applicants and the number of job offers. Starting out as a kitchen assistant or food preparation worker allows cooks to learn basic skills, which can create opportunities to gain experience in assistant cook or line cook positions.
Opportunities for progress for cooks often depend on training, work experience, and the ability to prepare complex dishes. Vocational cooking schools, professional culinary institutes, and some universities offer culinary programs for aspiring cooks. Fast food cooks prepare food in restaurants and cafes that emphasize quick service and quick food preparation. For people who enjoy cooking and are looking to turn it into a profession, the path to professional success starts with food preparation.
Cafeteria cooks usually prepare a large number of a limited number of dishes, with a menu that changes regularly. Food preparation workers perform many routine tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers. Cooking is a good profession for people who have excellent senses of taste and smell, and good physical dexterity. Chefs usually arrive before a restaurant, coffee shop, or other food service opens and gets ready for the day.
More restaurants, cafes and catering services will be opened, requiring more cooks to prepare meals for this growing consumer demand. Fast food cooks emphasize quick service and quick preparation, with dishes such as eggs, sandwiches and French fries on the menu. Chefs at institutions and cafeterias work in the kitchens of schools, cafeterias, businesses, hospitals and other establishments. Chefs have one of the highest rates of work-related injuries, as they can be found in kitchens with slippery floors, hot surfaces, sharp knives and boiling liquids.
They usually make sandwiches, fry eggs, and cook French fries, and often work on multiple orders at the same time. . .