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Prep Cook Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Prep Cook, or Kitchen Assistant, is responsible for food preparation, which then allows the Chefs to maximize their time cooking food. Their main responsibilities include chopping and peeling fruits and vegetables, preparing cutlery and dishes like spatulas, pots, and pans for cooking, and measuring out ingredients for the Chef.

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Prep Cook duties and responsibilities

A Prep Cook is an essential part of any kitchen. Some of their most common duties and responsibilities include:

  • Keeping the kitchen clean and orderly
  • Ensuring all ingredients are in stock for the Chef to complete their menu
  • Washing cutlery and dishes
  • Parboiling foods, allowing the Chef to prepare the menu more efficiently
  • Seasoning and preparing the necessary ingredients for cooking
  • Preparing some dishes such as salads or other less complex menu items
  • Setting out all the Chef’s ingredients before each shift and refill as necessary
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What does a Prep Cook do?

A Prep Cook washes, cuts, and prepares food and ingredients for cooking. They also prepare all of the kitchen tools necessary for cooking and cleaning, wash dishes, clear up messes, organize the storage areas and shelves in the kitchen, and respond to the needs of Chefs and other cooking staff. Additionally, they ensure food is properly stored and safely handled for consumption. A good Prep Cook is an essential part of the kitchen staff, especially as an aide to a Chef, as they help maximize the workflow in the kitchen.

Prep Cook skills and qualifications

A successful Prep Cook candidate typically has some of the following skills and qualifications:

  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • In-depth knowledge of kitchen health and safety requirements
  • In-depth knowledge of safe food storage guidelines
  • Ability to use kitchen utensils safely
  • Ability to take direction and work as a team player
  • Knowledge of some specific cooking processes such as reducing sauces, parboiling food, boiling water, or preheating pans and ovens

Prep Cook experience requirements

A Prep Cook is an entry-level position and candidates often don’t have any prior experience, so they learn on the job. However, enrollment in culinary school courses should be considered a strong asset in a candidate.

Prep Cook education and training requirements

As an entry-level job, a Prep Cook does not require any formal training. A good candidate may have a high school diploma, but there are currently no educational standards in place by any regulatory body in Canada for a Prep Cook position. Candidates who are entering into a Chef training program are often favourable as it demonstrates their commitment to the food industry.

Prep Cook salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, average pay for a Prep Cook in Canada is $15.73 per hour. Actual wages may vary based on geographical location, size and type of establishment, and level of experience.

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Prep Cook job description FAQs

What is the difference between a Prep Cook and a Line Cook?

A Prep Cook is mainly responsible for putting together the necessary ingredients as they wash, chop, or peel ingredients for cooking. A Line Cook is a Chef who works under the Head Chef and Sous Chef. They perform a highly specific task among the line of Cooks and work on that one particular task for the entirety of their shift. One Line Cook may be assigned to the grill, while another is assigned to sauteing and another to frying. Together, Line Chefs form an assembly line of food preparation.

What qualities make a good Prep Cook?

Good qualities to look for in a Prep Cook candidate include agility, ability to multitask, organization skills, and a dedication to cooking and food preparation. A good candidate will also be open to learning new cooking techniques. They will also be someone who can handle constructive feedback well, and are willing to work their way up from an entry-level position.

Who does a Prep Cook report to?

In most cases, the Prep Cook will report to the Head Chef. However, they may take instructions from Line Cooks or the Sous Chef. They may also report to the Restaurant Manager, who oversees the staff and restaurant operations.

What should you look for in a Prep Cook resume?

A successful candidate may be in the process of attending culinary school. They may also have experience working in a restaurant or the food service industry in some capacity. A good resume may include experience as a Busboy or Waiter. A good candidate should also have a resume that shows a strong work ethic through their experience and training.

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