Working in the food industry is not for just anybody, as you have to be a specific kind of person who not only loves to cook but also can handle certain responsibilities of operating a kitchen. Unfortunately, cooking and baking for friends and family occasionally is a long way from working in the food/restaurant industry. There are many occupational positions within the food industry ranging from sous chef to executive chef, with the introductory, baseline position being a line cook. You may be asking yourself, what is a line chef and how does this apply to me?
A line cook is an entry level position in a restaurant that essentially involves being responsible for cooking food according to the standards of the specific restaurant, customer, or chef. If you are looking for a way to ease into the restaurant industry and work your way up in positions, a line cook job may be for you! For first-time beginners, here five points entailing what to expect as a line cook.
Manage stress well
Restaurants and especially restaurant kitchens can be extremely fast-paced, loud, and hot at times. As a line cook, you’ll have to deal with these circumstances regularly, which can become stressful. If you are looking into being a line cook, make sure that you can function well in not only busy but also high-stress environments.
Prepare for some danger
Due to the nature of the job, line cooks may encounter minor or major problems that interfere with their performance. Being fast-paced can result in mistakes happening — mistakes such as small cuts, burns, and bruises. Situations like this are not fun or pleasant so if you do not handle the potential of being hurt well, this kind of position may not be for you.
Money, money, money
Restaurant workers, depending on the position, typically make good incomes. Though line cook positions are entry level, according to snagajob.com, the average salary for all line cooks is about $14 per hour. At high-end restaurants, line cooks can earn up to $18.25 per hour. One of the perks of being a line cook is being able to have free meals while you work!
In the culinary industry, most positions require some form of higher education, whether it be an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. These two to four-year programs usually include basic training for working in food industries, such as cooking techniques, health and safety procedures, and other managerial restaurant duties, snagajob.com states.
Get used to the hours
Line cooks are used to unusual, long hours on the job. Shifts can range from very early mornings to late nights, and even holidays. Not only is the timing of the shifts sometimes difficult, the length of the shifts prove to be even harder. The job itself is unforgiving and requires constant energy, so the most important priority when working is to take care of your body.
To be able to function well as a line cook, Paul Sorgule of finedininglovers.com notes, “Eat well, eat appropriately, hydrate, exercise frequently, buy the right shoes, bend when you lift, use dry side towels when grabbing a hot pan or tray, and see a doctor on a regular basis.”
For many, working in stressful and fast paced environments makes their blood curl. For others, the rush of adrenaline and boost of energy keeps them motivated to work the best they can. Line cooks rely on their love of food, their need to make customers happy and their desire to build themselves in the food industry. When considering a job like this, ask yourself if this sounds like an occupation that could be fitting for you and never forget the power of positivity and personal relationships.