Learn About Being a Cook

By | May 15, 2024

What does a cook do? – Cooking is a vital part of any kitchen. It’s a skill that can make or break a meal. Whether you’re making a simple meal for yourself or preparing a dish for your guests, cooking is an essential skill. But how do you learn to cook? And what are the best places to learn it?

What Does a Cook Do? - A Guide to the Profession - Best School News

Cooking is an important skill for any home. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or sharing a meal with others, cooking is a great way to make your home feel special and inviting. However, it can be a little daunting to learn how to cook like a pro. That’s why we’ve put together this guide filled with easy tips and tricks to help you learn how to cook like a pro. From learning the different types of foods to cooking simple meals, we’ve got you covered.


What are the skills of a cook?

Cooking is a skill that many people take for granted. But if you want to be a great cook, you first need to learn the skills involved in cooking. These include: stirring, baking, and cleaning. Cooking can be a fun hobby or it can be a career. And depending on your skills and interests, it can also lead to new opportunities in the kitchen.

Cooks are people who manipulate ingredients and cook meals to create a desired result. They use their knowledge of the ingredients and the cooking process to produce food that is both delicious and nutritious. Cooks play an important role in society by providing food for humans and animals. They also play an important role in the kitchen by using their skills to make foods that are healthy and delicious.

What does a cook do?

It’s no secret that a cook is one of the most important people in your home. Not only does a cook serve as the backbone of your kitchen, but they can also be an important member of your social life. Not only do they know how to make the perfect meal, but they can also be a great resource for spices, ingredients, and recipes. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the most common job titles for cooks and see what they might do in your home.

Read: Learn About Being a Toxicologist


A cook is a hospitality industry professional who is responsible for preparing and making meals in restaurants, bars, hotels and many other venues. Cooks work together with other kitchen staff to ensure customers have healthy and tasty food to eat and receive it promptly. Additional responsibilities include:

  • Preparing food by chopping, dicing, slicing, measuring and organizing

  • Mixing ingredients according to recipes created by the executive chef or restaurant management

  • Accommodating customer food allergies or substitution requests

  • Adding garnish or decorative items to dishes

  • Maintaining a clean and sanitary kitchen

  • Checking food inventory and restocking items as needed

Typical salary

A cook’s salary varies across states and venue type. Cooks at more expensive restaurants generally earn higher salaries than cooks working in more casual establishments.

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link. Some specifics include:

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $12.18 per hour

  • Typical salaries range from $7.25 to $22.15 per hour.

Cook requirements

Depending on where you want to work, there may be formal and informal requirements to work as a cook, including:


Although formal education beyond high school is not a requirement to be a cook in most places, some establishments prefer that an applicant has a degree from culinary school. In culinary school, students learn how to read a recipe, specific techniques for preparing and serving food, how to use knives and other kitchen instruments, and common vocabulary used in kitchens. You can earn an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree from culinary schools. Outside of a formal culinary program, aspiring cooks can increase their knowledge through individual, topic-specific courses offered online or at a culinary school.


Becoming a cook can include the formal training of culinary school or informal training of working in a restaurant in different roles. Working as a dishwasher or server provides exposure to the role of a cook, as those positions are frequently in the kitchen. Some establishments even hire food preparation workers who help cooks with tasks like slicing meat, chopping vegetables or brewing coffee. Working in any of these roles can be excellent training for working as a cook. Ultimately, each establishment will determine its own requirements for the length and format of training.


Although not required in every state, there are two types of certifications that aspiring cooks can earn:

Food Handler Training certificate

This certification provides an overview of handling procedures, including specific techniques and regulations to maintain a safe, hygienic environment for employees and customers. This online course takes anywhere from 90 minutes to several hours and concludes with an exam that requires a score of 70% or higher to pass. Certifications are typically valid for five years upon completion.

Alcohol Seller or Server certificate

This credential is more commonly pursued by bartenders but can be helpful for cooks working in establishments without designated bartenders. To obtain this certification, you will learn how to serve alcohol responsibly and in accordance with the law.  You can earn the Alcohol Seller or Server certificate after you complete a three-hour course and pass an exam. After completion, you will generally need to renew this certification every three years, depending on your state’s requirements.


Being an adequate cook requires a combination of culinary and professional skills. Considering customer satisfaction is mainly dependent on the quality of the restaurant’s food, cooks need to refine and improve their skills constantly. Some essential skills for a cook to have include:

  • Knife skills: Having strong knife skills enables a cook to excel at the preparation tasks of slicing, dicing, chopping and more. Properly cutting ingredients can ensure they are distributed evenly throughout the dish, which could result in higher customer satisfaction.

  • Safety skills: Knowing how to maintain a safe and sanitary workspace is essential to preventing customer illness and employee injury. Safety skills include proper knife techniques, storage requirements for perishable items and appropriate cooking temperatures.

  • Meat preparation: The skills to properly prepare meat are among the most complex of a cook’s job and also the most critical given the health risks of eating undercooked meat. Knowing how to grill, roast, pan-fry, sear or braise meat is very valuable for an aspiring cook.

  • Presentation: How the food tastes is almost as important to customer satisfaction as how the food looks. Cooks need to present food that fits nicely on the plate and looks clean and appealing to the customer, with appropriate garnishes and decorative elements.

  • Good memory: Whether it is the specific ingredients in each item on the menu, or the guidelines for preparing, cooking and storing food safely, a cook has a lot to remember. A cook who can recreate dishes from memory can also save the time it takes to refer back to cookbooks or recipe lists.

  • Multi-tasking: A cook must be able to monitor the cooking process of several dishes and know when to switch from one task to the next to ensure safety and optimal tastiness.

Cook work environment

Cooks work in restaurants, bars, hotels and many other food and entertainment establishments. They may be hired to work at specific events or have a job at a fixed location. The work environment can range from a casual diner to a five-star restaurant or even a private party. Cooks often work weekends, late evenings and holidays. Kitchens are usually fast-paced work environments, and cooks must be able to work on multiple projects at once. Cooks also work in sweltering temperatures, often without a lot of space to move between ovens and other appliances.

How to become a cook

Working as a cook can be a creative, challenging and fulfilling experience. Here are four important steps to becoming a cook:

  1. Learn the job. Consider applying for a job as a dishwasher, food preparation worker or server to learn more about the role of a cook and the hospitality industry in general. You can also learn more by researching culinary programs, speaking to current or former cooks, shadowing a cook for a day or taking a standalone course.

  2. Get any necessary certifications. Research what certifications are required to be a cook in your state or at a particular establishment. Then consider what supplemental certifications or training you might want to pursue. You can attend a formal culinary school or take individual classes in knife skills, kitchen safety, menu design, baking and more.

  3. Create a compelling resume. Create a concise but powerful resume that includes specific details about your relevant experience and qualifications.

  4. Submit your application. Use Indeed to find and apply for cook jobs. After applying, follow up with an email, phone call or by visiting the restaurant in person if you haven’t heard anything in one or two weeks. Follow-ups can be an effective way to show your dedication to your career.

Cook job description example

Our family-owned and operated restaurant is looking for an experienced cook. The cook will be responsible for preparing, mixing, cooking and serving food to customers at the restaurant and customers ordering takeout. At the end of each shift, the cook is responsible for checking food inventory, cleaning the cooking equipment and storing any leftover food according to health regulations. Preference is given to candidates with strong organizational skills, attention to detail and an ability to remain calm under pressure. Experience preparing different types of pasta and Italian sauces is also preferred.


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