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Cook Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Cook is a professional who prepares and cooks a wide variety of foods. They prepare and cook complete meals, schedule and supervise Kitchen Helpers, and ensure their work area is clean.

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What does a Cook do?

Besides their primary duties of preparing food, Cooks may take supervisory roles in the kitchen. They may hire and train kitchen staff, maintain inventory and records of foods, and prepare and oversee buffets. They work in hotels, bars, restaurants, educational institutions, and other establishments. Cooks also work on menu planning, food supply monitoring, and estimating food requirements.

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Cook duties and responsibilities

Cooks ensure a kitchen runs smoothly and effectively. They also keep track of kitchen inventory and promote food safety. They maintain cleanliness and order, manage other employees, serve as liaison officers between the kitchen and Servers, and ensure their workplace is compliant with local safety standards. Other duties and responsibilities that Cooks need to excel at include:

  • Taking orders from the wait staff and preparing food according to customer preference
  • Ensuring a high standard of cleanliness and order
  • Training staff in preparation, cooking, and handling of foods
  • Monitoring and managing cooking tools and ingredients
  • Making adjustments to accommodate clients with specific diet and health concerns
  • Setting up the work station
  • Developing recipes that comply with company policy

Cook skills and qualifications

Successful Cooks are detail-oriented, creative, and intelligent. Top Cooks must also be critical thinkers and know how they can modify recipes to meet customers’ needs. They must also have strong knowledge of food handling procedures. Other skills and qualifications for Cooks include:

  • Experience in using different cooking tools, equipment, and utensils
  • Expert knowledge of various cooking methods and procedures
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Understanding of food preparation techniques
  • Able to withstand long hours of standing, bending, and moving around
  • Basic knowledge of mathematics to make correct measurements of ingredients
  • Ability to follow recipe instructions

Cook experience requirements

Cooks typically should have anywhere from three to five years of experience for most cook positions. Though some positions may require less experience, especially if it is an entry-level Cook position. Some Cooks may also be required to have experience in the same cuisine as what’s offered in the establishment. If prior work experience is not required, or extensive on-site training is offered, make sure to include this in the job listing.

Cook education and training requirements

A high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent is the general base requirement for this position. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts or a related field may have an advantage over candidates without this education. Additionally, candidates who have completed a three-year apprenticeship program often stand out among other candidates who have not completed this type of program.

Cook salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a cook is $16.56 per hour in Canada. However, this may be dependent on the location of the restaurant, the experience level required of the applicant, the type of cuisine served at the restaurant, and specific company requirements.

Job description samples for similar positions

Other job description samples are available if this is not quite what you are looking for, including: 

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Cook job description FAQs

Who do Cooks report to?

Cooks typically report to a Senior Cook or Executive Chef. Depending on the organizational structure of the business and the size of the kitchen, some Cooks report directly to the Kitchen Manager. They may also report directly to the Restaurant Manager or Owner.

What makes a good Cook job description?

A good job description is one that clearly defines the responsibilities and requirements for a Cook position. Details to include in a Cook job description include necessary skills, education, and experience required to be considered for the job. Candidates should be able to clearly see what tasks will be expected of them, what specific experience and knowledge are required, and the type of cuisine they will be working with. A mention of available employee benefits and a competitive salary can also help a Cook job listing stand out.

What should you look for in a Cook's resume?

Experience, education level, and skills are the three important things to look for in candidates’ resumes. For entry-level positions, check their educational background and skills for relevant or related experiences. For a higher-level position, the candidate should have several years of cooking and supervisory experience.

Job Description Examples

Need help writing a job description for a specific role? Use these job description examples to create your next great job posting. Or if you’re ready to hire, post your job on Indeed.

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