The job description of a line cook calls for preparing a large portion of the food that comes out of the kitchen of a restaurant or other eating establishment. A line cook works directly under a head chef or sous chef who provide training and instructions.
A line cook is usually assigned the task of preparing the food in a specific area or along the line in a restaurant kitchen such as the vegetable prep area or the grill.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Line Cook
- Helps set up the whole kitchen prior to a restaurant’s opening.
- Sets up a station by bringing all containers of necessary food items to that point in the line.
- Cooks a specific portion of each plated meal as assigned by either the head or sous chef.
- Assists with cutting, marinating and precooking foods.
- Keeps pace with other cooks on the line so that all food is ready for each plate at the same time.
- Steps in to help another line cook who is running behind.
- Assembles dishes and provides garnishment.
- Plates food in an attractive manner to maximize customer enjoyment.
- Pitches in, along with the rest of the staff, to maintain sanitary conditions and organization in the kitchen.
- Wraps unused items and stores in proper areas at the end of a shift, and shuts off all equipment at the station.
- Cleans and sanitizes the area with soap and warm water.
- Participates in cleaning the rest of the kitchen before the restaurant closes for the night.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Has knowledge of standard cooking, baking and grilling techniques.
- Possesses excellent communication skills.
- Works cooperatively and efficiently in a team environment.
- Has the ability to perform calmly under pressure.
- Uses critical thinking and reasoning skills to solve problems quickly.
- Manages time effectively.
- Understands and follows written and verbal directions explicitly and asks questions for clarity when necessary.
- Learns new recipes and new procedures rapidly.
- Possesses strong mathematical skills.
- Stays up-to-date on changes in state and county sanitation requirements.
- Manages material resources well and places new orders soon enough to prevent running out of supplies.
- Monitors personal performance and makes improvements where needed.
Education and Experience
- High School Diploma.
- On-the-job training.
- Certificate in culinary arts or a related area from a vocational or technical school.
- Associates degree from a community college in a food or cooking related field.
- Degree from a culinary arts institute including coursework in sanitation, cooking and baking skills and culinary arts professionalism.
- Industry certification from the American Culinary Federation.
- Stands on feet for long periods of time while cutting, stirring, grilling, frying and otherwise preparing food.
- Performs heavy lifting by carrying large sacks of flour, sugar, frozen meats, vegetables and other ingredients.
- Works odd hours like late evenings, early mornings, weekends and holidays.
- Endures hot temperatures, loud noises and some stress in the fast-paced commercial kitchen environment.
- Sustains occasionally minor cuts, burns and bruises on the job.
- Yearly salaries range from$18,000 to $22,000.
- Average hourly salaries range from $12 an hour to $16 an hour.