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 for 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

Cooks:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Examining foodstuffs to ensure quality.
  • Storing food in temperature controlled facilities.
  • May train other kitchen staff and apprentices.
  • Regulating temperatures of ovens, grills and other cooking equipment.
  • Portioning food, placing it on plates, and adding gravies, sauces and garnishes.
  • Preparing and cooking food.
  • Seasoning food during cooking.
  • Preparing food to meet special dietary requirements.
  • May plan menus and estimate food requirements.

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.


Specializations

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    35 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    54% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,068
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    48% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    45,500 workers
  • Employment Size
    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%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 8.5%
    20-24: 14.8%
    25-34: 26.3%
    35-44: 16.8%
    45-54: 17.5%
    55-59: 7.8%
    60-64: 5.3%
    65 and Over: 3%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 13.1%
    Bachelor degree: 9.3%
    Below Year 10: 10.3%
    Certificate III/IV: 22%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 2.1%
    Year 10 and below: 21.5%
    Year 11: 7%
    Year 12: 25%
    Years 11 & 10: 21.8%
Is the information on this page correct? Request update

Become a member

Already a member? Login Forgot password?

Join the conversation