Types of Cooks

Cooks prepare and cook complete meals and individual dishes and foods. They supervise kitchen helpers and oversee subordinate personnel in preparation, cooking and handling of food. They may also plan menus, determine size of served portions, estimate food requirements and costs, and monitor and order supplies.

Prep Cook

The Prep Cook is an early step in the training of most professional kitchens. In a very large organization the prep cook might peel bags of potatoes, mince pounds and pounds of garlic, chop forests of fresh herbs, and dice mountains of onion. In smaller kitchens, in addition to preparing raw ingredients, it might be the prep cook’s job to prepare parts of specific dishes. For example, the prep cook might make the batter and cook the buckwheat blini to be served under that night’s caviar special, or caramelize the sliced carrots that will serve as a bed for a piece of veal.

Short Order Cook

Short order cooks, also called grill or line cooks, make simple, fast-cooking meals and snacks. They are also called grill cooks, fry cooks, broiler cooks, breakfast cooks, or line cooks and work in places like coffee shops, lunch counters, family restaurants and steak houses.

Short Order Cooks make food to customer order, following basic house recipes. They must know which side dishes to prepare with each main dish and organize their work so that all items are ready at the same time. They need to know the right way to place the food on the serving plate.

Fast Food Cooks

Fast Food Cooks work in restaurants that feature a one-item menu such as hamburgers, chicken, pizza or tacos. The food comes in standard, ready-to- cook portions. Cooks operate large cooking units such as grills or deep-fat fryers to cook the exact number of items ordered by each customer. They usually work for a national fast food chain restaurant.