Career Development

What Does an Assistant Cook Do?

Find out what an assistant cook does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an assistant cook.

Assistant cooks are the front-line workers in the kitchen. They help prepare and cook food, wash dishes, stock supplies, and perform other tasks to ensure that their restaurant or establishment runs smoothly.

Assistant cooks typically work under the supervision of a head chef or sous chef. They may also be assigned to work with individual chefs on specific projects or recipes. In many cases, assistant cooks will have some degree of autonomy when it comes to completing their daily tasks; however, they must follow all established safety and sanitation procedures as outlined by management.

Assistant Cook Job Duties

Assistant cooks have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Maintaining a clean work environment by following safety regulations, such as wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when required
  • Preparing and cooking food according to recipes and meal plans as directed by the head chef
  • Preparing food items for storage using methods such as canning, freezing, dehydrating, or pickling
  • Preparing ingredients for cooking, including chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, blending, and grinding
  • Following established procedures for food preparation, including safety standards for storing, handling, and preparing food
  • Cleaning and sanitizing kitchen equipment and utensils after each use
  • Preparing food for large events such as weddings or banquets, including plating meals, setting tables, and arranging flowers
  • Cleaning dishes, pots, pans, and utensils after they have been used in cooking or serving food
  • Preparing recipes and working with other kitchen staff to ensure that food meets specific nutritional requirements, such as low sodium or low fat content

Assistant Cook Salary & Outlook

Assistant cooks are typically paid hourly wages, and their salaries can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of experience, the size of the restaurant or hotel they work in, and the location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $27,500 ($13.22/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $54,500 ($26.2/hour)

The employment of assistant cooks is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

The need to hire more workers at restaurants and other food services establishments will limit employment growth for assistant cooks. However, automation in commercial kitchens may limit the number of jobs available for these workers. Many restaurants are installing computerized systems that allow kitchen staff to order supplies directly from suppliers.

Related: Assistant Cook Interview Questions and Answers

Assistant Cook Job Requirements

Assistant cooks typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Assistant cooks typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts. Courses in culinary arts include food preparation, baking, nutrition, sanitation and food safety.

Training & Experience: Assistant cooks typically receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training may include learning the restaurant’s menu, food preparation techniques and safety procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: Assistant cooks do not require any certifications to earn their position. However, there are certifications available for aspiring chefs who wish to increase their earning capacity and make themselves more competitive candidates for positions and advancement.

Assistant Cook Skills

Assistant cooks need the following skills in order to be successful:

Food safety: Food safety is another important skill for an assistant cook. They should be able to follow proper food safety practices to ensure the safety of the food they prepare. This includes following proper hand washing procedures, keeping food at the proper temperatures and properly storing food.

Communication: Communication is another important skill for an assistant cook. You should be able to clearly communicate with your coworkers and the head cook. This includes being able to understand and follow instructions, ask questions and give feedback. You should also be able to communicate with customers, answering their questions and explaining the menu.

Organization: As an assistant cook, you should be able to maintain a clean and organized workstation. This includes keeping your work area free of clutter and having all the tools you need to complete your duties. Assistant cooks should also be able to organize their time effectively so they can complete all their duties in a timely manner.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is another important skill for an assistant cook. You should be able to follow recipes precisely and ensure that the food you prepare is of the highest quality. This also means that you should be able to clean your workstation and the kitchen thoroughly.

Teamwork: A team-oriented assistant cook can work well with other kitchen staff. This can include being able to work with a variety of personalities and learning to compromise when necessary. Assistant cooks who are team-oriented can also help to create a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated.

Assistant Cook Work Environment

Assistant cooks typically work in commercial kitchens, which are often hot, noisy, and hectic places. They may work long hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some assistant cooks work in shifts, which means they may work early mornings, late nights, or overnight shifts. Many assistant cooks work part time, and some may work more than 40 hours per week. Overtime is often required, and assistant cooks may be expected to work on their days off.

Assistant Cook Trends

Here are three trends influencing how assistant cooks work. Assistant cooks will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of the Food Truck Industry

The food truck industry is growing rapidly, as more and more people are looking for fresh and unique culinary experiences. This trend is creating opportunities for assistant cooks who are interested in working in this fast-paced environment.

As the food truck industry continues to grow, assistant cooks will need to be able to adapt to new recipes and cooking methods quickly. They will also need to be able to work well under pressure, as food trucks often have short windows to get their dishes prepared and served.

More Focus on Healthier Options

As the health craze continues to grow, restaurants are beginning to focus more on healthier options. This means that assistant cooks will need to be familiar with a variety of healthy cooking techniques and ingredients.

Assistant cooks can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in preparing healthy meals. They can also work with restaurant owners to create menus that feature healthy options. In addition, they can promote the benefits of eating healthy to customers.

A Desire for Local Ingredients

As the demand for local ingredients increases, so too does the demand for assistant cooks who are familiar with using these ingredients in their cooking.

Assistant cooks who are able to use local ingredients in their cooking will be in high demand, as they will be able to provide diners with a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else. Additionally, they will be able to showcase the best products from their region, which can help to promote local businesses.

How to Become an Assistant Cook

Assistant cooks have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can move up the ranks and become head chefs, or they can specialize in a particular area of cooking. They can also move into management positions or open their own restaurants.

No matter what direction they choose, assistant cooks should always be learning new techniques and recipes. They should also be networking with other cooks and attending culinary events. This will help them stay on top of the latest trends in the industry.

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance in this career is to get experience. Start by working in a small restaurant, then move up to a larger one. As you gain experience, you will be able to take on more responsibility and be promoted to head cook. With enough experience, you may eventually open your own restaurant.

Assistant Cook Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide our customers with an exceptional dining experience by serving delicious food that is cooked to perfection. We are currently seeking an assistant cook to help our head chef with food preparation, cooking, and cleanup. The ideal candidate will have some experience working in a professional kitchen and be able to follow instructions carefully. He or she will also be able to work well under pressure and be able to take direction from the head chef. The assistant cook will be responsible for helping to prepare meals, cooking food, and keeping the kitchen clean and organized.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Assist the head cook with all aspects of food preparation, including but not limited to chopping vegetables, making sauces, and cooking meat
  • Maintain a clean and organized workstation at all times
  • Adhere to strict health and safety guidelines when handling food
  • Follow recipes to prepare dishes according to specifications
  • Taste all finished products before they are served to ensure quality
  • Portion food items accurately for individual servings or catering events
  • Keep track of inventory and order supplies as needed
  • Assist with cleanup after service hours
  • Sanitize all equipment and surfaces in accordance with health department regulations
  • Perform opening and closing duties as assigned
  • Train new kitchen staff members as needed
  • Help develop new menu items

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as an assistant cook or similar role
  • Working knowledge of professional kitchen equipment and procedures
  • Excellent physical stamina and sense of taste and smell
  • Good organizational and time-management skills
  • Team player with a customer-oriented attitude

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts or related field
  • Certification from a culinary arts institute
  • 1+ years experience as a head cook or similar role
  • Creativity and ability to develop new recipes
  • Familiarity with food safety standards


What Does a Data Encoder Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Team Manager Do?