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How to Write a Prep Cook Job Description (Duties, Responsibilities)
Prep cooks take mise en place to a new level. These chef assistants work tirelessly to prep the ingredients for the menu, following the plan created by the chef. On any given night, they might chop 30 pounds of carrots, peel and devein thousands of shrimp, and slice bags of onions without even crying.
There is no kryptonite that can damage their kitchen superpowers. They slice, dice, render, peel, and debone for hours on end, carrying out the tedious but essential tasks that go into every plate of food. The prep cook job description also includes stocking and labeling all the ingredients in the kitchen, setting up workstations, and measuring ingredients for the chefs.
In this position, working quickly and efficiently is essential. The best candidates will have strong time management skills. But beyond speed, the ability to prioritize tasks will set the pros apart from the rest. Prep cooks might be staring down a list of a dozen things to be done before dinner service and need to decide what gets tackled first.
Restaurant kitchens are largely choreographed, much like a dance performance, and each person knows exactly what to do and when. Prep cooks must hit their marks and get the timing right for everything to run smoothly.
List of Duties for the Job
Kitchens are choreographed through detailed planning so that each position on the line will function during service. The prep cook follows the plan created by the chef, prepping all the ingredients on the list for that day.
This includes washing and chopping vegetables, cutting meat, arranging salads, and measuring seasonings for cooking. They will also place ingredients in appropriate bowls and containers for easy grabbing. Though a culinary degree is not required, knowledge of restaurant kitchens and excellent knife skills (ninja-level) are critical to this position.
Prep cooks need to know the difference between julienne and chiffonade, how to French a bone, and have some kitchen tricks up their sleeves.
Juggle multiple tasks at once
Instead of “prep cook,” the position should be called “kitchen multi-tasker” instead. It’s about working fast but also knowing what tasks can be overlapped. As the potatoes are boiling, a good prep cook will grate cheese, then move on to rendering fat on the stove.
Prep cooks must double up on efficiency while ensuring nothing is forgotten. Top candidates will not only follow the list, but they’ll check it twice. Additionally, prep cooks must make important judgment calls to finish everything on time.
For instance, if there are only four burners in the kitchen but six items that need sautéing, a prep cook will look at their to-do list and plan accordingly.
Organize the kitchen
It goes without saying that prep cooks need excellent organizational skills. Not only should the ingredient mise en place be on lock, but each piece of equipment and all utensils at any given workstation must be placed correctly.
The prep cook sets up workstations throughout the kitchen and makes sure everything is in the right spot for service. They are also in charge of labeling and stocking all the ingredients on the shelves, so they are easily accessible to the chefs.
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Prep Cook Job Description Sample
To make it easier to create a prep cook job description, here’s a sample you can use.
Job Title: Prep Cook
Tip Income: Yes
Schedule: Full-Time (40 hours per week). Monday–Friday
Role: You will assist the chef in preparing dishes in a fast-paced environment as part of a team, performing kitchen tasks such as prepping ingredients and setting up workstations. We are looking for someone passionate about details and who is quick, diligent, and highly organized. Following instructions, as well as all health and safety rules in the kitchen, is crucial.
- Follow the prep list created by chefs
- Label and stock all ingredients on shelves so they can be easily accessible
- Measure ingredients and seasonings to be used in cooking
- Prepare ingredients by washing, chopping, peeling, etc.
- Handle basic cooking duties such as parboiling and preparing salads
- Ensure all food items and tools are stored properly
- Organizes workstations so chefs and team members can find tools and ingredients as needed
- Anticipate chef and kitchen needs by constantly evaluating the environment
- Comply with health and sanitation guidelines
- Be a team player with good communication skills
Additional requirements: Able to walk or stand for long periods.
Tips for Writing Effective Job Descriptions
- What makes your kitchen unique? You want the job description to be exciting and engaging to attract goal- and action-oriented candidates.
- Don’t just list a bunch of tedious tasks. Highlight the key job functions, and focus on opportunities for growth and development.
- Create a sense of urgency for the position by posting specific start dates and contact information for a person rather than a generic email.
The key to creating an effective job description is to find the balance between enough detail so the candidate understands the role in your kitchen while keeping the description concise. Emphasize anything that makes your prep cook position special, whether it’s a unique style of cooking or the chance to work with a well-known chef.
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