How to become a Cook

The range of duties carried out by cooks varies depending on where they work. In hotels, clubs, restaurants and takeaway food outlets, cooks often specialise in preparing and cooking a particular type of food (fried chicken, pizza or barbecued meat, for example). They may also specialise in national cuisine (such as Thai, Vietnamese, French or Italian). Other specialisations include entrees, desserts, international and bakery cooking.

Personal requirements of a Cook

  • Enjoy cooking
  • A high level of personal hygiene
  • Able to manage time and work under pressure
  • Good communication skills
  • Punctuality
  • Able to stay calm in difficult situations
  • Able to work well in a team

Education & Training for a Cook

You can work as a cook without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a cook through an apprenticeship or traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Cook


  • check food to ensure its quality
  • regulate temperatures of ovens, grills and other cooking equipment
  • prepare food for cooking
  • cook food using a range of methods (baking, braising, frying, roasting or steaming, for example)
  • divide food into portions and ensure it is well presented
  • clean food preparation areas and equipment
  • store food in temperature-controlled facilities
  • receive and store supplies
  • ensure the kitchen is hygienic and functional
  • plan menus and estimate food requirements
  • prepare food to meet special dietary requirements
  • train and supervise other staff.

Working conditions for a Cook

Cooks may be required to work shifts, including weekends and public holidays, sometimes on a 24-hour rotating roster. The work may be stressful, especially at peak hours of the day.

Employment Opportunities for a Cook

Cooks are employed by hotels, motels, restaurants, function centres, catering companies, clubs, cafés, cafeterias, hospitals, flight catering centres, seagoing vessels, food processing factories and large boarding schools. Movement between employers may be required in order to gain experience and promotion.With experience and further training, qualified cooks may be promoted to supervisory positions.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 1.4%

NSW 31.1%

NT 1.5%

QLD 20.3%

SA 7.5%

TAS 2.8%

VIC 24.5%

WA 10.9%

Hours worked:



Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 46%

Female 54%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 10.3%

Not completed Year 12: 21.8%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 25%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 22%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 13.1%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 9.3%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 2.1%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Related careers