Job Description Of A Professional Cook
For some of us cooking would be a great pastime activity to do as a hobby and for others it is a profession to earn income. Professionals who work in the cooking line need to carry out many responsibilities when it comes to cooking at a professional level.
As a head chef or a kitchen manager, you need to apply proper use of your experience and knowledge for leading the whole staff as a team and smoothly running the whole kitchen. The job requires you to put on intensive hours of work and you’ll have to quickly and calmly work while being under pressure. So for someone who is interested in food, this would be a great job to carry out. Years of work experience in a professional kitchen would help you in running your own section. You can gradually work up your way as a kitchen assistant to move towards the position of a trainee chef, and then get a job as a section chef and later on as manager or head chef. You would be simply able to work your way out in the job with the help of a reputed apprenticeship scheme.
Practically cooks are the essential backbone of any hotel or restaurant as the overall quality in food that you’ll get would make a huge difference in determining the success of business. Nowadays cooking has evolved as an essential art with diversities like navigating a farmer’s market. A chef’s designation in a hotel being among the most sought after careers in the culinary field, it isn’t surprising that various opportunities lie ahead of people who are working in hotel and restaurant industry.
Responsibilities and Duties
Generally head cooks and chefs in a hotel or restaurant would do the following work:
- Keep a check on the quality and freshness of food and related ingredients
- Plan and prepare recipes and determine the right way for presenting the food
- Plan out different menus and ensure uniform sizes for serving the different quality of prepared meals.
- Hire, supervise and train all hotel cooks and other workers such as food preparation staff
- Monitor and keep a time to time check on different kitchen sanitation practices and follow all the basic guidelines and safety standards of kitchen
- Inspecting work areas, equipment and supplies for total cleanliness and effective functionality
- Ordering and maintenance of inventory of food items and other supplies
Different kinds of cooking and other kitchen materials are used by head cooks and chefs such as high quality stainless steel knives, step in coolers, top grade grinders and meat slicers. The kitchen staff has also got access to higher quantities of spices meat and various other produce. Some hotel and restaurant chefs would make use of buying and scheduling software for helping them in their administrative tasks. Some chefs also run their own catering business or restaurant. Most often you’ll find these chefs bust with office and kitchen work and they’ve got a short time on their hand for interaction with diners.
Some of the different types of head cooks and chefs
Head cooks, chefs de cuisine and head cooks are primarily responsible for overseeing the operation of kitchen. They would coordinate well with the work of sous chefs and other cooks would mostly help in preparation of different meals. Executive chefs have also got many duties that extend beyond your normal kitchen.
These chefs help in designing the menu, reviewing beverage, food and other items purchase and would also train food preparation staff and cooks. Executive chefs would also primarily handle different tasks at administrative level and might spend less amount of time inside the kitchen. A kitchen’s second in command person would be Sous Chefs. Sous Chefs usually supervise the cooks of the restaurant for preparing different meals and they later on report all the results to the head chefs.
In case the head chef is absent, the kitchen would be run by sous chef. Private household chefs generally work full time for a single client like the corporate executive, diplomat or the university president who would regularly be involved in different tasks as part of their official duties.
The total jobs of chefs and head cooks were held at about 115,400 in the year 2012. The different industries that respectively employed most of the chefs and head cooks in 2012 were:
- Traveler accommodation
- Special services for food
- Restaurants and various other eating spaces
- Recreation and amusement industries
Head cooks and chefs mainly work in hotels, restaurants, private households and different other facilities with food servicing, all of which needs proper sanitation and cleaning. Head cooks and chefs mainly stand for long periods and would work well in a rapidly paced kitchen environment.
In 2012 around 13 percent of head cooks and chefs were self-employed. As some self-employed chefs would run their own catering or restaurant business, their work can additionally also be stressful. For example, outside the kitchen, they would often get involved in spending longer hours managing the different business aspects for ensuring that all salaries and bills are correctly paid on time and the business eventually becomes more profitable.
Work conditions and working hours
As a head cook or chef you can expect to work typically on early mornings and late nights and other days like weekends and public holidays. Working inside the kitchen might have hot and humid work conditions. At the time of meals, you mostly need to work on your feet and work under limited time pressure.
For different hygienic reasons you need to wear a hat and uniform for protecting your clothing. For most of the part of the day you’ll have to work inside the kitchen while creating different menu ideas with restaurant manager and placement of different orders with all food suppliers.
Interests, qualities and skills needed
- To get towards the position of a head chef you must have:
- A creative interest in culinary arts and cookery
- Great communication skills
- Management and leadership skills
- A proper and precise knowledge on basic foods groups
- Should be able to plan and organize your own work and also of others
- Must be able to control a budget and should work with figures
- Better standards of hygiene and cleanliness
- Make quick decisions and the ability to work timely under high pressure
- One must be able to cope up well inside a congested kitchen that remains hot and busy most of the times
- Being able to calmly deal with unforeseen circumstances and situations
Cooking can be considered an essential mix of science and arts. While you should also have an uncanny knack and an inside urge for cooking delicious range of dishes, you should also be aware regarding the right cooking technicalities and styles. So if this line of work carries your interest forward, then you must move ahead well for taking further educational qualifications from reputed schools of culinary arts.
Teenagers can also work part-time in hotels and restaurants and check whether their aptitude combines well with their interest or not. Employment of head cooks and chefs is forecasted to show a growth of 5 percent from between the year 2012 to 2022. Working as a cook in a hotel or restaurant seems to be a rewarding choice of career as the industry has shown significant grown in recent years and is also forecasted for better growth over the further years.