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Career Profile: Cooks, Restaurant

Prepare, season, and cook dishes such as soups, meats, vegetables, or desserts in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 1,153,200 people employed as cooks, restaurant in the United States. The median annual salary is $28,800. Entry level employees earn approximately $20,100 per year and senior employees earn approximately $39,840 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

  • Weigh, measure, and mix ingredients according to recipes or personal judgment, using various kitchen utensils and equipment.
  • Bake, roast, broil, and steam meats, fish, vegetables, and other foods.
  • Wash, peel, cut, and seed fruits and vegetables to prepare them for consumption.
  • Coordinate and supervise work of kitchen staff.
  • Estimate expected food consumption, requisition or purchase supplies, or procure food from storage.
  • Substitute for or assist other cooks during emergencies or rush periods.
  • Consult with supervisory staff to plan menus, taking into consideration factors such as costs and special event needs.
  • Prepare relishes and hors d'oeuvres.
  • Carve and trim meats such as beef, veal, ham, pork, and lamb for hot or cold service, or for sandwiches.
  • Bake breads, rolls, cakes, and pastries.
  • Butcher and dress animals, fowl, or shellfish, or cut and bone meat prior to cooking.
  • Keep records and accounts.
  • Plan and price menu items.
  • Inspect and clean food preparation areas, such as equipment and work surfaces, or serving areas to ensure safe and sanitary food-handling practices.
  • Ensure freshness of food and ingredients by checking for quality, keeping track of old and new items, and rotating stock.
  • Ensure food is stored and cooked at correct temperature by regulating temperature of ovens, broilers, grills, and roasters.
  • Season and cook food according to recipes or personal judgment and experience.
  • Turn or stir foods to ensure even cooking.
  • Observe and test foods to determine if they have been cooked sufficiently, using methods such as tasting, smelling, or piercing them with utensils.
  • Portion, arrange, and garnish food, and serve food to waiters or patrons.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
1,153,200
Annual Openings:
263,600
Increase in Openings by 2030:
49%
Annual Salary Range:
$20,100 - $39,840
Education Requirements:
Some high school