What is a Restaurant Cook?

A restaurant cook is someone whose responsibility it is to prepare and cook various appetizers, entrees and desserts; to ensure the ingredients used are fresh; to make sure the work area is clean; and to have any necessary equipment readily available. Restaurant cooks follow recipes, mix ingredients, and prepare many types of foods, using various cooking methods, such as braising, steaming, baking and broiling.

The term 'cook' within a restaurant kitchen may also refer to a person with little to no creative influence on a menu and little to no command over others within the kitchen, such as a line cook. These are usually all workers of a restaurant kitchen that are underneath the sous chef in the brigade de cuisine.

What does a Restaurant Cook do?

Restaurant cooks do the basic tasks of cooking – braising, blanching, whisking, garnishing, and grilling for a restaurant.

Professional restaurant cooks do the basic tasks of cooking – braising, blanching, whisking, garnishing, grilling and more. The best cooks also have cool heads and fast fingers, and help to quickly and efficiently get customers’ orders to the table. They also have a collaborative spirit for managing and working well with other kitchen staff. At any one time, they may be cooking multiple orders of multiple dishes. Restaurant cooks need to maintain standards of consistency in taste, presentation, and food safety.

Restaurant cooks are responsible for many of the daily tasks in a restaurant, such as maintaining the cleanliness of the restaurant, particularly the cooking area. They must make sure the work area is safe and that no one is working with a burn or a cut, as these can lead to a food-borne illness. Clean up during and at the end of a shift is also the responsibility of the restaurant cook. Cooks are expected to be on their feet for stretches of 10 to 12+ hours. They work in hot, cramped, and uncomfortable conditions surrounded by fire, boiling liquids, and sharp knives.

Depending on the size of the restaurant, restaurant cooks may do all the food preparation themselves or, in larger restaurants, they may have help. A restaurant cook may be responsible for some or all of the following duties:

  • Cutting or peeling fruits and vegetables
  • Boiling water for rice or pasta
  • Making sure food on the menu is available
  • Baking desserts or breads as needed
  • Seasoning food
  • Making special dishes for customers with food allergies
  • Developing new recipes
  • Cooking the food as ordered

Are you suited to be a restaurant cook?

Restaurant cooks have distinct personalities. They tend to be realistic individuals, which means they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty. They like tasks that are tactile, physical, athletic, or mechanical. Some of them are also enterprising, meaning they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic.

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What is the workplace of a Restaurant Cook like?

Many restaurants are open from early in the morning until late at night and this means that the chefs and cooks, kitchen staff and management will need to be there even earlier and stay even later. Work schedules typically involve weekends, early mornings, late evenings and holidays. Many hours spent standing are required, and a certain amount of stress is involved with the need to work quickly, yet efficiently.

Restaurant Cooks are also known as:
Cook Line Cook Prep Cook