Career Development

What Does a Kitchen Helper Do?

Find out what a kitchen helper does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a kitchen helper.

Kitchen helpers are the lowest-level employees in a kitchen. They typically perform a wide range of tasks, from washing dishes and chopping vegetables to preparing ingredients and cooking food. Their duties may also include setting tables, taking customer orders, and other miscellaneous tasks.

Kitchen helpers play an important role in keeping their restaurant or establishment running smoothly. They help ensure that all aspects of the business—from cooking to serving customers—run as efficiently as possible.

Kitchen Helper Job Duties

Kitchen helpers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Maintaining inventory of food items and ordering supplies as needed
  • Clearing dishes, pots, pans, and other items from tables after meals are served
  • Preparing food according to chef instructions, such as chopping vegetables or preparing ingredients for dishes
  • Preparing food for storage, including canning fruits and vegetables and making jams and jellies
  • Cleaning and sterilizing kitchen equipment, such as stoves and refrigerators
  • Maintaining a clean work environment by disposing of garbage, sweeping floors, and washing dishes
  • Preparing cold food items, such as sandwiches, salads, and desserts
  • Preparing hot food items, such as stews, soups, and casseroles, according to recipes
  • Cleaning up spills and messes in the kitchen or dining room

Kitchen Helper Salary & Outlook

Kitchen helpers’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $26,766 ($12.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $40,000 ($19.23/hour)

The employment of kitchen helpers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

The need to hire kitchen helpers will depend on the overall growth rate of the food services industry. As restaurants and other food establishments expand, they may need more kitchen help. However, automation in commercial kitchens may limit the need for kitchen helpers.

Related: Kitchen Helper Interview Questions and Answers

Kitchen Helper Job Requirements

A kitchen helper may be required to have the following:

Education: Kitchen helpers typically need only a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may prefer candidates who have completed culinary arts courses. These courses teach kitchen helpers basic culinary skills, such as knife skills, food preparation, sanitation and kitchen safety.

Training & Experience: Most kitchen helper jobs require little to no training. However, if you want to advance your career in the food industry, you can take classes in food preparation and safety. You can also take classes in basic cooking techniques to improve your skills.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may offer kitchen helper certifications after completing an approved training program. These certificates may include safe food handling, safe beverage service, safe medication administration and first aid.

Kitchen Helper Skills

Kitchen helpers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is an important skill for kitchen helpers because it allows them to work with other kitchen staff members and restaurant patrons. Kitchen helpers should be able to communicate with each other and their supervisors to ensure that they complete their duties correctly. They should also be able to communicate with customers to answer questions and take orders.

Organization: Kitchen helpers should be able to keep their work areas clean and organized. This is important because it ensures that the kitchen is sanitary and that the kitchen staff can find the tools and ingredients they need to complete their tasks.

Cleanliness: Cleanliness is an important skill for kitchen helpers because it ensures the safety of the food they prepare. It’s important for kitchen helpers to follow proper sanitation procedures to ensure the food they prepare is safe to eat.

Attention to detail: Having good attention to detail is important in the kitchen because you may be working with recipes and ingredients that are very specific. For example, if a recipe calls for a certain amount of sugar, you may need to measure it precisely. This is also important when following a recipe because you may need to follow the instructions exactly to ensure the food tastes the same as it should.

Patience: Working in a kitchen can be a fast-paced environment, so it’s important to be patient when working with others. You may be working with someone who has more experience than you, so it’s important to be patient with them as they teach you new skills. You may also be working with someone who is less experienced than you, so it’s important to be patient with them as they learn new skills.

Kitchen Helper Work Environment

Kitchen helpers typically work in commercial kitchens, such as those in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and schools. They work under the supervision of the head chef or cook and perform a variety of tasks, such as preparing food, cleaning the kitchen, and washing dishes. Kitchen helpers typically work long hours, often more than 40 hours per week, and may be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays. The work can be physically demanding, and kitchen helpers may be exposed to sharp knives, hot ovens, and other hazards.

Kitchen Helper Trends

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

The Rise of the Food Truck

The food truck industry is growing rapidly, and this trend is having a major impact on the restaurant industry as a whole. As more and more people turn to food trucks for their meals, chefs are starting to focus on creating dishes that are easy to serve from a truck window.

This means that kitchen helpers will need to be familiar with preparing these types of dishes, as well as working in a fast-paced environment. They will also need to be able to work well under pressure, as food trucks often have long lines of customers waiting to be served.

More Focus on Healthier Options

As the health craze continues to grow, restaurants are beginning to focus more on offering healthier options. This is leading to an increased demand for kitchen helpers who can prepare these items.

Kitchen helpers who are able to create healthy dishes that taste great will be in high demand, as they will be able to set their restaurants apart from the competition. In addition, they will need to be familiar with the latest trends in nutrition so that they can create dishes that meet the needs of their customers.

A Desire for More Local Ingredients

As the local food movement continues to grow, restaurants are looking for ways to source their ingredients locally. This has led to an increased demand for kitchen helpers who are familiar with local produce and products.

Kitchen helpers who are able to utilize local ingredients will be in high demand, as they will be able to provide restaurants with a unique culinary experience. Additionally, they will be able to help restaurants save money by reducing their reliance on imported products.

How to Become a Kitchen Helper

A career as a kitchen helper is a great way to get your foot in the door of the culinary world. As a kitchen helper, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from more experienced cooks and chefs. You’ll also be able to see how different dishes are prepared and gain an understanding of the cooking process.

As you progress in your career, you may want to consider becoming a cook or chef. This can be achieved by completing culinary school or apprenticeships. Additionally, you can expand your knowledge by reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows.

Advancement Prospects

Most kitchen helpers start out by performing routine tasks under the supervision of a cook. With experience, they may be given more responsibility and independence. Some may eventually become cooks.

Cooks usually start out as kitchen helpers. They learn their skills through on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or culinary arts programs. With experience, they may become head cooks or chefs.

Head cooks and chefs supervise the work of other cooks and kitchen helpers. They plan menus, order supplies, and ensure that food is prepared properly and served on time. They also may oversee the work of other kitchen staff, such as dishwashers and food preparers. Some head cooks and chefs own their own restaurants.

Kitchen Helper Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide our customers with a unique and memorable dining experience. Our kitchen helpers play an important role in making this happen by keeping the kitchen clean, organized, and running smoothly. We’re looking for a hard-working, detail-oriented individual to join our team as a kitchen helper. The ideal candidate will have some experience working in a kitchen and be able to follow instructions carefully. He or she will also be able to work well under pressure and be a team player.

As a kitchen helper, you will be responsible for a variety of tasks, including washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, preparing food, and stocking supplies. You will also be responsible for keeping the kitchen organized and clean at all times.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Assist the chef with food preparation, including chopping vegetables, making sauces, and marinating meats
  • Set up workstations with all the necessary ingredients and cooking equipment
  • Wash and peel fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Weigh, measure, and mix ingredients according to recipes or personal judgment
  • Prepare doughs and batters for baking
  • Portion and wrap food, label with contents and date, and store in designated refrigerator or freezer
  • Cook food items according to recipes or personal judgment, using various kitchen utensils and equipment
  • Observe and test foods to determine if they have been cooked sufficiently, using methods such as tasting, smelling, or piercing them with utensils
  • Regulate temperature of ovens, broilers, grills, and roasters
  • Remove trash and clean kitchen garbage cans with lids, using foot-operated pedal and handgrip
  • Sweep and mop floors, and scrub counters, sinks, walls, and stovetops
  • Sanitize and wash dishes, glassware, flatware, pots, and pans, using dishwashers or by hand

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as kitchen helper or other food service role
  • Excellent physical stamina and ability to lift heavy objects
  • Basic math skills
  • Good organizational and time management skills
  • Team player with good communication skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts or related field
  • Certification from a culinary arts program
  • Experience working in a professional kitchen
  • Working knowledge of food safety standards and sanitation regulations
  • Ability to use commercial kitchen equipment


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