What does a Prep Cook do?
Prep Cooks typically work for restaurants, event venues or catering companies to ensure food quality and timely delivery of dishes to restaurant-goers. They work closely with other kitchen staff to complete orders by gathering necessary ingredients and distributing them to different stations throughout the kitchen. Their job is to wash dishes, oversee specific cooking tasks and take inventory of produce to determine ordering needs. They may also be responsible for helping Waiters deliver food to restaurant-goers and clean tables after guests leave.
Prep Cook skills and qualifications
Prep Cooks use soft skills, role-specific hard skills and industry knowledge to maintain quality and efficiency standards. Their skills and qualifications include:
- Superior dexterity skills to operate cutting tools quickly and safely
- Familiarity with safe and sanitary food handling and preparation
- Certified in proper food handling, typically through a ServSafe Certification
- Good math skills with a clear understanding of cooking measurements
- Excellent organizational, time management and multitasking skills
- Great collaboration and teamwork skills
- Effective communication skills
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
Prep Cook salary expectations
A Prep Cook makes an average of $12.41 per hour. Pay rate may depend on a candidate’s level of education, experience and geographical location.
Prep Cook education and training requirements
Prep Cook candidates are likely to have at least a high school diploma or GED. Some candidates may have completed a vocational culinary program, resulting in a professional certificate or diploma. Other candidates may have completed an associate degree in culinary arts, culinary science or a specialized culinary training program, often through a community college, technical school or culinary training school.
In all culinary training programs, candidates train under experienced professionals, training in proper cooking, preparation and plating techniques and flavor combination. Many candidates with culinary education and training may be able to begin work with little-to-no additional training.
Prep Cook experience requirements
Prep Cooks with recent culinary education and/or training have gained practical experience in the classroom and may also have completed an apprenticeship or internship in a professional kitchen. Experienced Prep Cook candidates may have a few or many years of experience and require little-to-no additional on-the-job training. Candidates may even have experience in another kitchen-assistance role or in a restaurant, like as a Busser, Host or Waiter. Candidates with no culinary education or previous kitchen experience may require on-the-job training to develop quality techniques in the kitchen.
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