A prep cook, also known as a food preparation worker, is a chef who prepares the food that will be cooked. Preparing ingredients for cooking, cleaning the kitchen, and ensuring correct ingredient storage are their main responsibilities. This article is all about the prep cook career path, from its description to salary, job growth, and so on.
Duties of A Prep Cook
Prep cooks frequently perform the following tasks as part of their jobs:
- By chopping, measuring, and prepping all necessary ingredients, you can speed up cooking during hectic shifts.
- Cook some dishes that can be reheated when ordered, and make sure that food is properly packaged and stored.
- Receive distributor orders, date-mark things, and place food in the proper storage rooms.
By preparing as much food and ingredients as they can before busy shifts, prep cooks assist reduce long wait times in restaurants, cafeterias, and other dining places. They make sure there are enough ingredients on hand for the shift, prepare fruits, vegetables, and salad items by chopping and dicing them and cook some dishes that can be quickly reheated without losing their taste or texture.
They typically work in the early hours of the day or late in the day, away from peak dining hours like breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Prep cooks can find employment in a variety of settings. They frequently work for busy sit-down restaurants, but they may also be employed by cafeterias in institutions including schools, jails, and nursing homes.
By keeping key items on hand for line cooks and chefs to use when a surge in food orders begins, they contribute to the seamless operation of the dining service. Additionally, they might cooperate with food distributors to obtain, store, and label the necessary food items.
Because they enable diners to receive their meal more quickly, prep cooks play a crucial role in the food service industry. As a result, the workload of the chefs, servers, and other employees is somewhat reduced, and more tables may be served more rapidly, which increases business for the restaurant.
When training for the position, the prep cook frequently works closely with the chef and learns how to prepare key dishes and materials, making the position a stepping stone for potential career advancement.
Regular Work Hours
Depending on the company hiring, a prep cook’s regular work schedule can vary greatly. For instance, to finish their preparation before the morning rush, prep chefs at doughnut shops might need to report to work quite early.
In sit-down restaurants, prep cooks may work in the mornings and afternoons to prepare meals for the evening shifts; some may even be forced to remain on during the dinner shifts to help the chefs during busy periods.
Prep cooks are employed by sit-down restaurants, cafeterias, nursing homes, jails, homeless shelters, and other eating places.
How to Become one?
A prep cook does not need to have a formal degree. Most people learn on the job, and becoming qualified for a position as a prep cook typically only requires a history of working as a cook in any fast food restaurant. On the other hand, if you have no prior experience in the food service industry, you can still work your way up to a position as a prep cook by beginning as a dishwasher or table busser in a restaurant.
Although no formal schooling is necessary, some prep cooks choose to enroll in a training program at a community, technical, or vocational college in order to become certified as a prep cook before looking for employment.
A Prep cook may be able to acquire employment without any experience and without having to start out as bussers or dishwashers if they have the proper training from college. Prep cooks who wish to enroll in culinary schools and pursue a career as a chef are advised to obtain a college diploma as some credits may transfer.
Many people can advance into higher-paying jobs like line cooks or sous chefs with experience as prep cooks. However, it is typically required to have a degree from a culinary school to work as a chef, head chef, or executive chef. However, some chefs who have worked as cooks in restaurants for a long time go on to create their own eateries later in life, where they serve as chefs without having had any professional training.
Prep Cook Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual national average for this profession is $19,710 while the national average per hour is $9.
How much money does a Prep Cook make compared to other jobs?
According to the most recent data on employment across the country, prep cooks can earn an average yearly pay of $19,710, or $9 per hour. It is therefore a higher-than-average wage. When just getting started or depending on the state you reside in, they may make as little as $17,630, or $8 per hour.
How has the growth of the Prep Cook job compared to other jobs?
For a total of 3,503,200 persons employed in the career nationwide by 2024, 343,500 positions will change. This represents a 10.9% shift in employment over the following ten years, giving the career a below-average growth rate nationally.