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Food Cooking Machine Operators and Tenders
SOC Code: 51-3093.00

Operate or tend cooking equipment, such as steam cooking vats, deep fry cookers, pressure cookers, kettles, and boilers, to prepare food products.

Sample of reported job titles: Cook, Fryer Operator, Kettle Fry Cook Operator, Machine Operator, Master Cook, Mogul Operator, Peeler Operator, Processing Operator, Processor, Retort Operator

Tasks

  • Tend or operate and control equipment, such as kettles, cookers, vats and tanks, and boilers, to cook ingredients or prepare products for further processing.
  • Set temperature, pressure, and time controls, and start conveyers, machines, or pumps.
  • Clean, wash, and sterilize equipment and cooking area, using water hoses, cleaning or sterilizing solutions, or rinses.
  • Observe gauges, dials, and product characteristics, and adjust controls to maintain appropriate temperature, pressure, and flow of ingredients.
  • Listen for malfunction alarms, and shut down equipment and notify supervisors when necessary.
  • Remove cooked material or products from equipment.
  • Turn valves or start pumps to add ingredients or drain products from equipment and to transfer products for storage, cooling, or further processing.
  • Measure or weigh ingredients, using scales or measuring containers.
  • Read work orders, recipes, or formulas to determine cooking times and temperatures, and ingredient specifications.
  • Collect and examine product samples during production to test them for quality, color, content, consistency, viscosity, acidity, or specific gravity.
  • Notify or signal other workers to operate equipment or when processing is complete.
  • Record production and test data, such as processing steps, temperature and steam readings, cooking time, batches processed, and test results.
  • Admit required amounts of water, steam, cooking oils, or compressed air into equipment, such as by opening water valves to cool mixtures to the desired consistency.
  • Pour, dump, or load prescribed quantities of ingredients or products into cooking equipment, manually or using a hoist.
  • Place products on conveyors or carts, and monitor product flow.
  • Activate agitators and paddles to mix or stir ingredients, stopping machines when ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  • Operate auxiliary machines and equipment, such as grinders, canners, and molding presses, to prepare or further process products.

Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software - Database software

Tools Used

  • Bucket conveyors - Bucket belt conveyors
  • Commercial use food grinders - Grinders
  • Conveyor feeders - Electromagnetic vibratory feeders
  • Cooking machinery - Boilers; Continuous baking ovens; Vacuum batch cookers; Water immersion retorts (see all 11 examples)
  • Filling machinery - Canners
  • Floor or platform scales - Ingredient scales
  • Forming machine - Molding machines; Molding presses
  • Hand trucks or accessories - Hand trucks
  • Hoists - Chain hoists
  • Roasting machinery - Hot oil roasting equipment; Roasting equipment
  • Sifting machinery - Combination feeders
  • Smoking machinery - Smoke generators; Smoking equipment
  • Steaming machinery - Steam air retorts; Steam kettles; Steam retorts; Water spray retorts
  • Water hoses

Knowledge

  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Skills

  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • 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.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Interests

  • 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

  • Contact With Others - 63% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 85% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 46% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 62% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 72% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 39% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 63% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 46% responded “Very important results.”
  • Physical Proximity - 40% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 49% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 42% responded “Very important.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 48% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 34% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 72% responded “40 hours.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 44% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 39% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 32% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 35% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 30% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 43% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Consequence of Error - 24% responded “Serious.”
  • Degree of Automation - 33% responded “Moderately automated.”
  • Exposed to High Places - 32% responded “Never.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations - 32% responded “Never.”

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)
    • $13.66 hourly, $28,420 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 37,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Slower than average (2% to 4%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 5,200

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