Professional Cooking

At the heart of the restaurant are the people who prepare the food.

As food preparation staff or chefs, your job is to make the food the people in your restaurant come for.

Food Preparation

You don’t cook, but your hands are still busy with food. As a food preparation worker you prepare ingredients to be used by the chefs.

Yours is an entry-level job, but here you learn the nuts and bolts of your kitchen. Under the supervision of the chefs, you will be slicing, cleaning, and peeling meats and vegetables. You may also be mixing and measuring ingredients. On some occasions, you may prepare the simpler fare, or brewing the coffee or tea.

You have to be quick, be able to multitask, and anticipate the needs of the kitchen. You might be the middleman between the chef and the waiter, you might be more of a dishwasher. You’ll probably have to keep an eye on the food supply as well.

You may also be called upon to maintain the supply of cooking gear to the chefs and cleaning up around them. In short, your job is to get it so that the chefs are doing almost nothing but cooking.

Professional Cooks

As a professional cook or chef, you cook the dishes that the customers come for.

Your job is to saute, sear, grill, season, caramelize, blanche, boil, poach and otherwise cook food according to the menu of the restaurant.

You may be one of several chefs, each responsible for a certain aspect of the meal: meats, vegetables, soups and others. You’ll be working at a station and helped out by assistants who will prepare your ingredients for you.

Or you may be the head chef, in charge of everything: the menu, the workers, the food presentation and its quality. Your job would be to make sure the quality of the dishes is consistently up to the standards of the restaurant. You might supervise more than one kitchen and you might have managerial duties in addition to your kitchen ones. If you’re successful, you can be famous.

Alternatively you might be a catering chef, preparing food from your own professional kitchen, or cooking at the venue, depending on the cuisine. You will need to be versatile and able to operate under varied circumstances.

You may also be an institutional chef, supervising the operations of a hospital or school kitchen. You will have hundreds of people eating the food you prepare.

Or, you may be a personal chef, preparing food for a family or cooking for just one individual.