Job Description of a Prep Cook
The prep cook position is an entry level position in the kitchen which is suitable for anyone who aspires to be a chef. Since you aspire to be a chef, you will acquire invaluable experience as a prep cook that will over time prepare you to progress to the next stage of the kitchen ladder. A prep cook will give assistance to the cooks in the preparation and service of items on the menu and perform various kitchen duties including dishwashing, general cleaning and storing food and non food items. You will also help in the preparation of various food items in given work situations including salads, sauces, pantry items, soups and with the pre-preparation of ingredients for entrees. Assist cooks in the preparation of general desert items and breakfast items for customers and clear all the food from the serving lines after a meal has ended.
Prep cook job description often includes responsibility to clean ad sanitize all production equipment, surface areas for working and the whole of the kitchen areas as per the cleaning schedules and procedures. You are also expected to wash dishes and pots, skillfully operate the dish washing machine and allocate and keep clean utensils, dishes and pots. Adhere to proper food handling techniques and properly balance time use, material and equipment to avoid unnecessary expense and waste. Maintain the acceptable personal hygiene standards and comply with the department required dress code. Strictly follow safety regulations, report unsafe conditions and all injuries and work practices to the supervisor. Attend any in-service trainings and education sessions that are assigned to you.
Approximate Amount of Pay
As with all other occupations, the salary of the prep cook is affected by many factors such as location or region, experience, merit raises and type of employer. The starting salary for a prep cook is from $8 to $10 per hour or about $17,000 to $20,000 annually. Normally, if you work hourly, you will have a lot of overtime pay which will have a significant impact on your paycheck. This is admittedly a very low pay. However, being a prep cook is just an entry level and is best seen as just a stepping stone to higher opportunities.
For you to be a prep cook, you should have some basic formal training from a culinary arts school or a vocational school. However, some people get positions as prep cooks without having attended a culinary arts school but they rarely progress from this level. Therefore, it is important that one has some training so that they can move to a higher position in the kitchen when a chance arises. Since most prep cooks work under a senior person, you should be able to follow oral and written instructions. A food handler’s card is also required.
Beyond Prep Cook
If you work at developing your skills while working as a prep cook, and show promise, you can quickly progress to cooking. With enough experience and training, you may earn the position of a sous chef with greater responsibility and increased salary. You may also progress to the food service management position where you will mainly oversee day to day operations of eating establishments.