What does a Line Cook do?

A line cook is one of the first steps you take to work in a kitchen setting. Restaurants of all types hire line cooks to prep, cook and plate food for their customers. A line cook works under a head chef or sous chef assigned to a specific area of the kitchen, such as the grill or vegetable preparation station. As a line cook, you will be tasked to prepare a specific portion of a dish in your own station.

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Working as a Line Cook

With line cooks often serving as the backbone to all kitchens, they face a magnitude of tasks that vary day to day. These tasks may include the following:

  • Clean and prepare their work stations
  • Prepare food for food stations, including chopping fresh fruits and vegetables for salads
  • Make fresh pasta and precook pasta
  • Coordinate with other cooks and staff to get meals out promptly
  • Follow the instructions from the head chef or sous chef

To succeed as a line cook, you will need to be physically fit because you will be working on your feet for long periods of time. Additionally, you must be detail-oriented with the ability to follow the recipe precisely.

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How much does a Line Cook make in the United States?

55.5k salaries reported, updated at May 5, 2021
per hour

The average salary for a line cook is $13.87 per hour in the United States.

Most common benefits

  • Employee discount
  • Flexible schedule
  • Referral program
  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
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Where can a Line Cook earn more?

Compare salaries for Line Cooks in different locations

Frequently asked questions

Common questions about being a Line Cook

What is the difference between a prep cook and a line cook?

A prep cook is an entry-level position that helps prepare and set up other cooks, while a line cook runs a specific station of the kitchen.

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Where can I get a job as a line cook?

Line cooks are mainly employed at restaurants and other food establishments, such as hotels, fast food chains, school cafeterias and some private homes. However, line cooks are also staffed at hospitals, retirement centers and other health care facilities.

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Do line cooks have a uniform or dress code?

The dress code may vary from establishment to establishment, but you should be prepared to wear long sleeves in the kitchen. You will also need nonslip shoes as you will continuously be on the move in the kitchen.

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How many hours a week does a line cook work?