What Are the Different Types of Cook Jobs?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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Some types of cook jobs are highly specialized and will require a specific level of education as well as on-the-job training, while other positions will only require job training but no specific level of education. A short order cook, for example, may work in a diner or other restaurant and will prepare meals quickly. This job requires no specific level of education, and a person can learn the skills necessary for these cook jobs by observing other cooks. A pastry chef, on the other hand, may need to attend a culinary school in order to get a position in a reputable restaurant.

A head chef is a person who runs a kitchen. These cook jobs are usually held by experienced cooks with several years of on the job training, or even a formal education at a culinary school. The head chef will not only cook meals, but also manage other employees in the kitchen and ensure the food being served is of high quality. He or she may also be responsible for some bookkeeping to ensure the restaurant is profitable and food is not being sold for less than it cost the restaurant.


The second in command in the kitchen is the sous chef. These cook jobs also often go to very experienced cooks who may have formal education, and they will answer to the head chef. Sous chefs will prepare meals and manage staff as well, especially in the absence of the head chef. A sous chef is likely to interact with servers as well as other types of cooks in the kitchen to ensure all food is cooked properly and is presented correctly.

A fry cook will handle any cooking that requires frying. Deep fryers are common components of restaurant kitchens, so fry cook jobs are almost always available in restaurants. This job can be dirty and dangerous: the grease traps will need to be cleaned regularly, and hot, splattering grease can come in contact with hands, arms, and even faces, causing burns. The fry cook must be careful and efficient to ensure the safety of everyone around him or her, as well as the safety and quality of the food being prepared.

A garde manger is primarily responsible for preparing side dishes and appetizers, such as salads. In some cases, he or she may be responsible for making deserts as well, though some kitchens have designated pastry chefs who address deserts. The garde manger works in a specific area of the kitchen and must work quickly to prepare hors d'oeuvres, salads, and other dishes.



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