Career Detail

Chefs and Cooks
“Cooking it Up -- The Culinary Artist”
Prepare food and possibly supervise staff in a restaurant or cafeteria setting.
The Job
Chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods-from soups, snacks, and salads to entrees, side dishes, and desserts. They work in a variety of restaurants and other food services establishments. Some chefs and cooks cook ingredients according to recipes while others may create their own recipes. Executive chefs and head cooks coordinate the work of the kitchen staff and direct the preparation of meals. They determine serving sizes, plan menus, order food supplies, and oversee kitchen operations to ensure uniform quality and presentation of meals.
Work Environment
Working conditions vary with the type and quantity of food prepared and the local laws governing food service operations.
College Majors
culinary arts
Minimum Qualifications
A high school diploma is not required for beginning jobs, but it is recommended for those planning a career as a cook or chef. When hiring chefs and others in advanced cooking positions, however, employers usually prefer applicants who have training after high school.
Personality traits helpful for this career
be efficient, quick, and work well as part of a team.
Quick Facts
  • Chefs and cooks use a variety of equipment, including pots, pans, cutlery, ovens, broilers, grills, slicers, grinders, and blenders.
  • One-third of these workers are employed part time.
  • Salary varies greatly depending on the type of restaurant, some executive chefs make a lot more money.
  • More Info: American Culinary Federation, Internet:
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wage-and-salary earnings of chefs and head cooks were $38,770 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,050 and $51,540. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,120, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $66,680.
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