Detailed Guide forCooks, Restaurant in San Diego County
May also be called: Broiler Cooks; Specialty Cooks; Banquet Cooks, and Dinner Cooks
What Would I Do?
Restaurants Cooks prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other food items in restaurants. They may order supplies, keep records and accounts, and plan or price items on menus.
Restaurant Cooks prepare a wide selection of dishes to order. Those Cooks working in large restaurants or hotels may specialize in a particular meal or cooking technique, such as Breakfast Cook or Grill Cook. Cooks in other restaurants may specialize in ethnic dishes. Restaurant Cooks must be skilled in using kitchen equipment such as steamers, meat saws, smokers, rotisseries, ranges, pizza ovens, pasta cookers, commercial ovens, fryers, grinders, and slicers. Cooks use computer software to manage inventory, plan menus, and track sales.
Important Tasks and Related Skills
Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.
|View the skill definitions|
|Task||Skill Used in this Task|
|Inspect food preparation and serving areas to ensure observance of safe, sanitary food-handling practices.||Problem Sensitivity|
|Turn or stir foods to ensure even cooking.||Manual Dexterity|
|Season and cook food according to recipes or personal judgment and experience.||Information Ordering|
|Observe and test foods to determine if they have been cooked sufficiently, using methods such as tasting, smelling, or piercing them with utensils.||Food Production|
|Weigh, measure, and mix ingredients according to recipes or personal judgment, using various kitchen utensils and equipment.||Reading Comprehension|
|Portion, arrange, and garnish food, and serve food to waiters or patrons.||Customer and Personal Service|
|Regulate temperature of ovens, broilers, grills, and roasters.||Coordination|
|Bake, roast, broil, and steam meats, fish, vegetables, and other foods.||Selective Attention|
|Bake breads, rolls, cakes, and pastries.||Time Sharing|
|Estimate expected food consumption, requisition or purchase supplies, or procure food from storage.||Deductive Reasoning|
|Carve and trim meats such as beef, veal, ham, pork, and lamb for hot or cold service, or for sandwiches.||Arm-Hand Steadiness|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Problem Sensitivity||The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.|
|Manual Dexterity||The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.|
|Information Ordering||The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).|
|Food Production||Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.|
|Reading Comprehension||Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.|
|Customer and Personal Service||Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.|
|Coordination||Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.|
|Selective Attention||The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.|
|Time Sharing||The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).|
|Deductive Reasoning||The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.|
|Arm-Hand Steadiness||The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.|
Restaurant Cooks stand most of their work day in a warm kitchen environment. They often deal with the pressure of promptly producing meals that meet quality expectations. Restaurant Cooks normally work an eight-hour shift, five days or evenings a week, including weekends and most holidays. Cooks in small restaurants often work a split shift, such as both breakfast and dinner periods, for which they may receive extra pay. Some Cooks belong to unions such as the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union.
Will This Job Fit Me?
The job of Restaurant Cook will appeal to you if you are results oriented, pay attention to detail, have a passion for food, like hands-on work, and possess an excellent sense of taste and smell. This occupation satisfies people who are realistic and enterprising because it combines practical hands-on work with a variety of projects.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2016 for Cooks, Restaurant in California is $25,218 annually, or $12.12 hourly. The median wage for Cooks, Restaurant in San Diego County is $25,157 annually, or $12.09 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Benefits will vary according to type of establishment, full- or part-time employment, and whether represented by a union. In some large hotels and restaurants, kitchen workers belong to unions. The principal unions are the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union and the Service Employees International Union.
What Do Local Employers Say About Benefits? Of the 53 employers in San Diego County, many provide medical insurance and vacation, and some provide dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, sick leave, retirement plan, and no benefits benefits to Cooks, Restaurant who work full-time.
|Percent of Employers Who Provide|
Specific Benefits by Time Base
|Paid Time Off Bank||11%||0%|
Of the 30 employers surveyed who responded in San Diego County, who provides medical benefits, most reported that they pay half or more of the cost of medical insurance for full-time, and some reported that they pay half or more of the cost of medical insurance for part-time Cooks, Restaurant.
|Percent of Employers Who Paid Medical |
Insurance by Portion Paid by Time Base
|Portion Paid by Employer:||Full-Time||Part-Time|
|Half or more||61%||33%|
|Less than Half||29%||0%|
What is the Job Outlook?
Restaurant Cooks will be in demand to work in the growing number of casual-dining chain restaurants and independent fine-dining restaurants. The convenience of eating out appeals to busy, two-income families. In addition, a growing number of retired persons also show an interest in eating out and have the income to do so. Competition is expected to be high for jobs in the top kitchens of higher end restaurants.
Projections of Employment
In California, the number of Cooks, Restaurant is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Cooks, Restaurant are expected to increase by 36.9 percent, or 45,000 jobs between 2014 and 2024.
In San Diego County, the number of Cooks, Restaurant is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Cooks, Restaurant are expected to increase by 32.4 percent, or 4,070 jobs between 2012 and 2022.
|Estimated Employment and Projected Growth|
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|San Diego County|
|View Projected Growth for All Areas|
Annual Job Openings
In California, an average of 4,500 new job openings per year is expected for Cooks, Restaurant, plus an additional 3,230 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 7,730 job openings.
In San Diego County, an average of 407 new job openings per year is expected for Cooks, Restaurant, plus an additional 248 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 655 job openings.
|Estimated Average Annual Job Openings|
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|San Diego County|
|View Data for All Areas|
How Do I Qualify?
Education, Training, and Other Requirements
Restaurant Cooks generally work their way up to the position from other food service occupations such as fast food cook or short order cook. Those who want to move up to larger or more upscale restaurants and hotels in the hospitality industry should obtain a high school diploma and formal culinary arts training.
Training in culinary arts is available throughout California in Regional Occupational Programs, community colleges, trade schools, and through professional trade associations. The demand for skilled Cooks is such that students often receive job offers before completing training. Since cooking jobs are needed around the clock, students can find employment that complements their class schedule.
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) recognizes and accredits ten culinary arts programs in California that meet established standards.
Early Career Planning
Students in high school or those thinking of becoming Restaurant Cooks might like to take the following classes:
- Business math to develop skills for future ownership or management.
- Culinary arts classes to develop skills in food handling and preparation.
- Chemistry for a deeper understanding of ingredients and processes.
- Computer classes to develop ease in using the computer as a tool in menu planning, pricing, and inventory.
Apprenticeship and Work Study Programs
For more information on apprenticeship programs currently available, visit the State of California's Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Apprenticeship Standards Web site.
California offers Regional Occupational Programs (ROP). One such program is titled Restaurant Occupations. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.
Cooks who earn culinary certifications may be required to take continuing education courses to renew them.
Certification is optional and offered through the American Culinary Federation association. Certifications can be an asset in obtaining better paying jobs. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.
Where Can I Find Training?
There are two ways to search for training information:
Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.
Where Would I Work?
The largest industries employing Cooks, Restaurant are as follows:
|Industry Title||Percent of Total Employment for Occupation in California|
|Full-Service Restaurants ||86.6%|
|Other Amusement & Recreation Industries ||1.7%|
|Gambling Industries ||1.3%|
What Employers Say...
The Employment Development Department surveyed 53 employers in San Diego County which employ 1,120 Cooks, Restaurant. Here's what they had to say:
About Full-Time/Part-Time: Almost All of these firms employ full-time and most employ part-time Cooks, Restaurant.
About Work Experience: Of the 53 employers surveyed in San Diego County, almost all require new hires to have prior work experience as Cooks, Restaurant. In the table below, percentages may not add to 100% since employers may select more than one time period.
|How Much Work Experience|
Do Employers Require?
|More than 5 years ||2%|
|25 to 60 months ||10%|
|13 to 24 months ||41%|
|1 to 12 months ||53%|
About Recruitment: Of the 53 employers surveyed in San Diego County, many indicate it is easy to find applicants with experience who meet their minimum hiring requirements, while some indicate it is easy to find applicants without previous experience who meet their minimum hiring requirements to fill vacancies for Cooks, Restaurant.
About Hiring: Of the 53 employers surveyed in San Diego County, almost all expect the number of Cooks, Restaurant they employ to remain stable during the coming year.
|Expect Employment to Increase ||9%|
|Expect Employment to Remain Stable ||87%|
|Expect Employment to Decline ||4%|
About Vacancies: Of the 53 employers surveyed in San Diego County, 70 percent hired Cooks, Restaurant during the past year. Of the hiring firms, 81 percent filled existing vacancies, 22 percent filled newly created positions, and 5 percent filled temporary assignments.
Finding a Job
Restaurant Cooks have many choices about where they want to work. Do they want to work in a full-service restaurant or a limited-service restaurant? Full-service restaurants are those where you eat before paying for the meal. Limited-service restaurants are those where you pay before eating. Hotels and casinos follow closely as large employers of Restaurant Cooks. Restaurant Cooks may choose to take their cooking skills out of the restaurant environment and work for grocery stores or as personal chefs. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).
Yellow Page Headings
You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Cooks, Restaurant.
- Food Service Management
- Restaurant Management
Find Possible Employers
To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:
- Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
- Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
- Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
- Contact the employer for possible employment.
Where Could This Job Lead?
Advancement opportunities for Restaurant Cooks depend on their training, work experience, and ability to learn and perform more responsible and sophisticated tasks. Restaurant Cooks who are eager to move up within the kitchen and accept greater responsibility, such as training or supervising newer or lesser skilled kitchen staff, can promote to Head Cook. Advancement often comes in the form of higher wages as Cooks move to positions in more prestigious restaurants.
Below is a list of occupations related to Cooks, Restaurant with links to more information.
|Chefs and Head Cooks||Guide|
|First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers||Guide|
|Food Preparation Workers||Profile|
|Cooks, Private Household||Guide|
These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.
For the Career Professional
The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.