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Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria
SOC Code: 35-2012.00

Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Sample of reported job titles: Cook, Cook (Dinner), Cook (Elementary School), Dietary Cook, Dinner Cook, First Cook, Food and Nutrition Services Assistant, Food Service Specialist, Lead Cook, School Cook


  • Clean, cut, and cook meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Cook foodstuffs according to menus, special dietary or nutritional restrictions, or numbers of portions to be served.
  • Clean and inspect galley equipment, kitchen appliances, and work areas to ensure cleanliness and functional operation.
  • Apportion and serve food to facility residents, employees, or patrons.
  • Direct activities of one or more workers who assist in preparing and serving meals.
  • Wash pots, pans, dishes, utensils, or other cooking equipment.
  • Compile and maintain records of food use and expenditures.
  • Take inventory of supplies and equipment.
  • Bake breads, rolls, or other pastries.
  • Train new employees.
  • Monitor use of government food commodities to ensure that proper procedures are followed.
  • Monitor menus and spending to ensure that meals are prepared economically.
  • Determine meal prices, based on calculations of ingredient prices.
  • Plan menus that are varied, nutritionally balanced, and appetizing, taking advantage of foods in season and local availability.
  • Requisition food supplies, kitchen equipment, and appliances, based on estimates of future needs.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - GNOME Gnutrition
  • Data base user interface and query software - Data entry software ; Meals Plus
  • Point of sale POS software - PCS Revenue Control Systems FASTRAK School Meal Software
  • Spreadsheet software - IBM Lotus 1-2-3; Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Blast freezers - Blast chillers
  • Cappuccino or espresso machines - Cappuccino makers
  • Carbonated beverage dispenser - Carbonated beverage dispensers
  • Cash registers
  • Commercial use barbeque ovens - Braziers
  • Commercial use blenders - Blenders
  • Commercial use broilers - Broilers; Salamanders
  • Commercial use coffee grinders - Commercial coffee grinders
  • Commercial use coffee or iced tea makers - Commercial coffeemakers
  • Commercial use combination oven - Commercial use combination ovens
  • Commercial use convection ovens - Commercial kitchen convection ovens; Convection ovens
  • Commercial use cutlery - Chefs' knives; Oyster knives; Paring knives; Serrated blade knives (see all 6 examples)
  • Commercial use deep fryers - Electric deep-fat fryers; Gas-powered deep-fat fryers
  • Commercial use dishwashers - Commercial dishwashers
  • Commercial use food choppers or cubers or dicers - Food dicers
  • Commercial use food grinders - Meat grinders
  • Commercial use food processors - Food processors
  • Commercial use food slicers - Bread slicers; Food slicers
  • Commercial use food warmers - Steam tables
  • Commercial use graters - Box graters; Food shredders
  • Commercial use griddles - Griddles
  • Commercial use grills - Grills
  • Commercial use heat lamps - Infrared heat lamps
  • Commercial use high pressure steamers - Pressurized steam cookers
  • Commercial use hot dog grills - Hot dog cookers
  • Commercial use juicers - Juice extractors
  • Commercial use microwave ovens - Commercial microwave ovens
  • Commercial use mixers - Commercial stand mixers; Mixers
  • Commercial use ovens - Conveyor ovens
  • Commercial use pasta machines - Pasta machines
  • Commercial use pizza ovens - Pizza ovens
  • Commercial use ranges - Electric stoves; Gas stoves
  • Commercial use rice cookers - Rice cookers
  • Commercial use rotisseries - Rotisserie ovens
  • Commercial use scales - Portion scales
  • Commercial use steamers - Commercial kitchen steamers; Steam kettles
  • Commercial use toasters - Toasters
  • Commercial use waffle irons - Waffle makers
  • Commercial use woks - Woks
  • Desktop computers
  • Domestic apple corer - Apple corers
  • Domestic double boilers - Double boilers
  • Domestic electric skillets - Tilt skillets
  • Domestic garbage disposals - Disposal units
  • Domestic garnishing tools - Parisian cutters
  • Domestic kitchen or food thermometers - Meat thermometers; Refrigerator thermometers
  • Domestic kitchen tongs - Kitchen tongs
  • Domestic knife sharpeners - Knife sharpeners
  • Domestic mandolin - Mandolines
  • Domestic sifter - Sifters
  • Domestic strainers or colanders - Sieves; Strainers
  • Domestic trash compactors - Garbage compactors
  • Domestic whipped cream maker - Cream whippers
  • Fire blankets - Fire suppression blankets
  • Fire extinguishers - Kitchen fire extinguishers
  • Ice cream machines - Commercial ice cream machines
  • Ice dispensers - Ice-making machines
  • Ice shaver machines or accessories - Ice shaving or crushing equipment
  • Non carbonated beverage dispenser - Juice dispensers
  • Personal computers
  • Point of sale POS terminal - Point of sale POS computer terminals
  • Touch screen monitors


  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.


  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Time Sharing - The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.


  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Spend Time Standing - 85% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure - 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 67% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Contact With Others - 65% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 49% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 63% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 27% responded “Very important.”
  • Physical Proximity - 44% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 52% responded “Very important.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 39% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 64% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 63% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 40% responded “Very important results.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 31% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Level of Competition - 34% responded “Extremely competitive.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 40% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 39% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 54% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 45% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 26% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations - 33% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 34% responded “Every day.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
47%Less than high school diploma
46%High school diploma or equivalent
3%Post-doctoral training

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $12.43 hourly, $25,860 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 425,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 64,400

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