Restaurants employ line cooks to prepare most of the food that gets made in their kitchens. A sous chef or head chef supervises them. Ordinarily, a line cook is not expected to have any formal education; however, a line cook will further their career by completing formal training in a culinary program.
Job Profile of a Line Cook
Line cooks, at times are referred to as assistant cooks that do most of the food preparation in a full-service restaurant. Every line cook are delegated a specific task in the meal preparation process; while one of them are on the grill, the other may be assigned to the stove, or other tasks during food preparation.
Apart from playing a leading role in cooking the meal, a line cook is assigned other responsibilities, such as keeping the kitchen clean and ready for operation. The cleaning service may be completed during and after meals by one or more line cooks, depending on the size of the kitchen. Prep cooks are employed by many restaurants to engage in the actual preparation of every meal; in such cases, line cooks will be required to assist with duties such as marinating, pre-cooking and cutting.
Line cooks are not expected to have any formal education due to the large number of restaurants and different requirements needed; however, a line cook will improve their chances in career advancement by completing formal training in the form of a culinary program. Line cooks employed at upscale restaurants are expected to have undergone some training in culinary arts. Culinary institutes, vocational schools and community colleges offer such programs that range from several months to years. Once training is completed, a certificate or degree is awarded. There are specialist courses at some schools that line cooks can earn certificates once the program is completed. Baking and cooking skills, sanitation, and culinary arts professionalism are among the topics covered in the programs.
Many employers seek previous work experience and food preparers can request a career advancement as line cooks (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)). Every state has its own regulations and line cooks must work within such regulations pertaining to the state they are employed in. In many states, kitchen workers are required to apply for a food handler’s permit before they start the job. To obtain such permits; kitchen workers need to attend a short class and pay a fee; the permit is a form of certification that allows the holder to work with other cooks to prepare food to serve to individuals. Line cooks can seek industry certification from the American Culinary Federation.