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Career Profile: Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria

Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 410,100 people employed as cooks, institution and cafeteria in the United States. The median annual salary is $29,910. Entry level employees earn approximately $22,140 per year and senior employees earn approximately $43,980 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Monitor use of government food commodities to ensure that proper procedures are followed.
  • Plan menus that are varied, nutritionally balanced, and appetizing, taking advantage of foods in season and local availability.
  • Monitor menus and spending to ensure that meals are prepared economically.
  • Compile and maintain records of food use and expenditures.
  • Determine meal prices, based on calculations of ingredient prices.
  • Monitor and record food temperatures to ensure food safety.
  • Cook foodstuffs according to menus, special dietary or nutritional restrictions, or numbers of portions to be served.
  • Rotate and store food supplies.
  • Wash pots, pans, dishes, utensils, or other cooking equipment.
  • Apportion and serve food to facility residents, employees, or patrons.
  • Clean and inspect galley equipment, kitchen appliances, and work areas to ensure cleanliness and functional operation.
  • Clean, cut, and cook meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Direct activities of one or more workers who assist in preparing and serving meals.
  • Train new employees.
  • Take inventory of supplies and equipment.
  • Requisition food supplies, kitchen equipment, and appliances, based on estimates of future needs.
  • Bake breads, rolls, or other pastries.

Career List

Job Outlook

Total Current Jobs:
Annual Openings:
Increase in Openings by 2031:
Annual Salary Range:
$22,140 - $43,980
Education Requirements:
Some high school