For most of us, our first experience with a cafeteria is eating lunch at school. But many other institutions such as hospitals and businesses provide similar in-house food services. The people who prepare the meals are called Institution and Cafeteria Cooks. Often referred to as Foodservice Chefs or Executive Chefs, they have a big job to do. A large variety of foods need to be provided for hundreds, even thousands, of customers every day. For each meal, cooks prepare menus that often include soups, salads, entrees, side dishes and desserts. They work in huge kitchens, usually assisted by a staff of helpers. In addition to giving orders, this job requires following written directions, such as recipes. Being able to multi-task is important, since many items need to be prepared at the same time. Most of the shift is spent standing in front of hot stoves and ovens…or at the cutting board. Because you’re working with very large quantities, cookware is far heavier than what people use at home. Skills can be learned in vocational school or on-the-job. And although a high school diploma is not required it’s recommended, especially for those planning a career as a cook. Hours vary and may include early mornings, late nights, holidays and weekends. This could be a good job for those seeking supplemental income, flexible hours or variable schedules. Whether serving hungry students or employees grabbing a quick bite, large-scale food services depend on the special talents of Institution and Cafeteria Cooks.
What they do:
Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
On the job, you would:
Monitor and record food temperatures to ensure food safety.
Cook foodstuffs according to menus, special dietary or nutritional restrictions, or numbers of portions to be served.
Rotate and store food supplies.
Arts and Humanities
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
talking to others
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
do two or more things at the same time
pay attention to something without being distracted
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
IBM Lotus 1-2-3
Data base user interface and query software
Data entry software
Point of sale POS software
PCS Revenue Control Systems FASTRAK School Meal Software
high school diploma/GED or certificate after high school usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.