The first step on being a chef: A line cook job description

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Food is the most common necessity of people.

We eat not only because we need it but mostly there is joy that we can find by doing it. With the busy schedule or just relaxing with lives, restaurants boomed because of the previous reasons. Let’s face the fact, we love eating and thanks to the cooks employed today, we enjoy great and delicious foods.

As we all know, food is the heart of restaurants while the kitchen crews are the back bone of it.

What is a Line Cook

Line cook, is as important as the chef itself. The main duty of a line cook is that, they are responsible for the preparation of food before and after cooking with regards to the standards and recipes of the restaurants. And, making sure that everything is in order – from the prepping of food up to cleaning after cooking. Some are specifically assigned to certain dishes that they are expected to master.
There are other duties a line cook must fulfill and those are as follows:

best line cook job description

Line Cook Duties:

Be knowledgeable on basic cooking skills and recipes

  • As a cook, of course, line cooks are expected to know the basic skills on cooking. It is not just a necessity but a requirement for this job. They must know how to use cooking wares such as the knives, pans, grill and many more. Note that a line cook is not only assistant to the chef but some are given specific stations. A line cook can be called an “all – rounder cook” because they are expected to know and do many things in the kitchen. Moreover, they need to have a quick grasp over new knowledge and is easy to teach with. Remember that they are the assistant to the chef and being the best line cook will be the greatest advantage to step into another level.
  • In addition, they should have great understanding to different recipes specifically, the recipes offered by the restaurant. And, must know how to follow the instructions correctly. It is important to follow the step by step procedure provided because this is how the chef or the restaurant wants the food to be cooked and presented. Compliance is vital. Restaurants offer their own specialties and the line cooks are responsible for prepping the ingredients and making sure there are stocks available every day. Other than preparing the food prior to cooking, the line cook must also possess skills on garnishing the food and follow specific plating desired by the chef or the standards provided by the restaurant.

Top Culinary Schools in USA: Careers in cooking

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Maintain the cleanliness, safety and availability of the ingredients in the kitchen room;

  • Line cooks are responsible for keeping the kitchen room clean, not only before and after restaurant hours but from time to time available to ensure the safety of food. Restaurants offer foods and it is vital to keep them safe. A dirty kitchen room may encourage growth of bacteria which is the number one enemy of foods and its preservation. Spoilage of foods is the greatest enemy and potential weakness of a restaurant. It will not only result on health risk but also it may result to shutting down of restaurant.
  • Also, they are responsible for keeping the stocks of ingredients available and capable of consumption. Make sure that there are enough stocks available of meat products, vegetables, fruits, condiments and etc. for the day to day needs of the restaurant. This important to prevent unwanted problems in operation times. 90% of ingredients used in cooking are highly perishable, thus, keeping it in a good and appropriate storage area is a must.
  • Organizing the kitchen and the storage area are also part of the job description – keep the kitchen room and the food products in an organize manner to ensure the safety of food. Stocking the highly perishable goods away from the stable food products to prevent cross contamination. High risk of cross contamination is possible if the ingredients are not properly stored and sorted. When organizing the ingredients, keep in mind the level of their perish ability and from there you can prolong their shelf lives and the chance of cross contamination and contamination itself will be very low.

line cook at work

Have knowledge on food safety, safe food processing and preserving of raw food products;

  • Basic knowledge on food safety and food processing is quite a necessity for every line cooks. It is vital to know the possibilities of spoilage that may occur in a certain type of food so that it can be easily prevented or if not at least, lessen. Safe food processing is also essential to cooking, under process or over process foods may lead to unwanted results. Under process food is prone to contamination because the microorganisms present in the food are not killed. As it does not undergo the standard process. Over process foods may result to unwanted customer complains.

Follow the restaurants standards and food handling procedures;

  • Every restaurants provide necessary standards and recipes of their own. It is important to follow each of the rules included in it, specifically on how the food will be cooked, what ingredients are present on it and the type of plating and garnishing for the finish product. Some of the specifications were provided by the chef.

Must work under pressure and long hours of standing;

  • Every day is a busy day for every restaurant, especially at peak hours. Thus, anyone working at restaurant always need to hassle and speed up their works to keep pace with the customer demands. And the customers are very demanding especially to the service the restaurants provide. As a crew and major contributor of the most work in the kitchen, the line cooks must work calmly and fast as possible. And of course, always have a presence of mind. Remember that every restaurants avoid any customer compliant.

Be an efficient cook;

  • This will not only give you a positive feedback from the customers but also it is a big check for the big boss. Keeping the customers happy will mean more pay check to you and your boss. It is called a win – win situation for both the employer and the employee.

Moreover, maintaining a good hygienic practice;

  • Good hygiene is very important, mostly when dealing with food handling and services. Your appearance reflects the food you prepared and cooked. A bad hygiene definitely gives a negative effect, maybe not for the customer itself but for the crew and managers you are working with. As line cook, good hygiene means hygienic practices where applied to the food prepared.

And lastly, patience and love for the work.

  • Being a line cook means you need to do almost everything. Patience is a great ingredient for success. Hard work pays off to those who have the patience to do their work without complain. And love your work, whatever it is, because without it, you’ll just be burdened and get tired of everything.
  • A line cook job description may be a long list but a cook by heart does not need to memories any. It is quite a heavy job to endure but if you really love cooking and determined to pursue this career, then, you’ll never get tired of doing it until you reach the success you once dreamed of.
  • Cooking is quite easy, with the materials and recipe present, one can cook deliciously or by any chance it is just luck. A cook requires skills and in the business, a lot of restaurant owners prepare to hire line cooks that have a proper education of cooking. Even though you’re a good cook at home, a diploma or a certificate in relation with cooking is the best advantage when applying for the job. Although, these are not necessarily required when applying. But then, if you have a proper culinary education, the employer will think highly of you because it is expected of you to possess the necessary skills needed and the capability to do job.


This is because, a proper culinary education provides:

  • Training on variety of cooking techniques;
  • Safety precautionary on handling different kitchen wares and equipment;
  • Standards and restaurant protocols;
  • Proper food handling procedures and processes;
  • Preservation of food products, from raw to cooked and perishability per se;
  • Knowledge on restaurant management in relation with cooking, safety and relationship with co – crews and managers.

Prepping the ingredients, cooking and garnishing – line cooks are all behind it and even them are behind and at the back, on the kitchen room doing the most unglamorous and laborious work. If you are really determined to be a chef then you better make the first step on the ladder and apply to be one of the line cooks. It is a stepping stone that with great hard work will yield a fruitful promotion. As a line cook you can expect a salary of 10 – 16 $ per hour and if you have a degree and certificates related, you can expect of a higher amount of salary.
More information from Wikipedia.