and Cooks - What do they do?
Job profiles and working conditions explained
of the Work
Chefs - This unit group includes various types of chefs who
plan and direct food preparation and cooking activities and who
prepare and cook meals and specialty foods. They are employed in
restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other health care institutions,
central food commissaries, catering companies, ships, clubs, resorts,
lodges and similar establishments.
Cooks prepare and cook a wide variety of
foods. They are employed in the same establishments that employ
chefs as well as at construction and logging camp sites. Apprentice
cooks are included in this unit group.
Executive chefs plan and direct food preparation and cooking
activities for several restaurants in an establishment, restaurant
chains, hospitals or other establishments with food services.
They plan menus, ensure food meets quality standards, estimate food
requirements and may estimate food and labour costs. They also supervise
activities of sous-chefs, specialist chefs, chefs and cooks. They
recruit and hire staff, and they may prepare and cook food on a
regular basis or for special guests or functions.
Sous-chefs supervise activities of specialist
chefs, chefs, cooks and other kitchen workers, and they demonstrate
new cooking techniques and new equipment to cooking staff. They
may plan menus, requisition food and kitchen supplies, and they
may prepare and cook meals and specialty foods.
Chefs and specialist chefs prepare and cook
complete meals, banquets or specialty foods, such as pastries, sauces,
soups, salads, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish dishes, and create
decorative food displays. They instruct cooks in preparation, cooking,
garnishing and presentation of food, and they supervise cooks and
other kitchen staff. They may plan menus as well as requisition
food and kitchen supplies.
Cooks prepare and cook complete meals or
individual dishes and foods, and they prepare and cook special meals
for patients as instructed by a dietitian or chef. They supervise
kitchen helpers and oversee subordinate personnel in preparation,
cooking and handling of food. They may also plan menus, determine
size of food portions and estimate food requirements and costs,
as well as monitor and order supplies.
· chef de partie
· corporate chef
· specialist chef
· executive sous-chef
· head chef
· chef de cuisine
· pastry chef
· garde manger, chef
· dietary cook
· short order cook
· hospital cook
· first cook
· journeyman/woman cook
· grill cook
· second cook
· apprentice cook
· line cook
Chefs and cooks are on their feet for long periods and often work
evenings, weekends and holidays. Their work environment is usually
determined by the kind of establishment that employs them. The larger
restaurants and expensive hotels tend to have modern equipment,
convenient work areas and air conditioning. Older, smaller eating
establishments may not provide the same level of comfort in the
work settings for their kitchen staff.
Chefs and cooks need to be able to function
in close quarters during busy periods, lift heavy objects and work
near hot ovens and grills. While the kitchen staff of hotels and
restaurants can expect evening and weekend shifts, cafeteria cooks
in schools, factories and other institutions are more likely to
have conventional work schedules. Seasonal work is often required
for those working as a cook in a school or in a resort. Some cooks
who have seasonal work with industries such as mining or road construction
must be able to work under adverse weather and environmental conditions.
In 1995 the average annual earnings for all
workers in this occupational group were $15,600 ($22,900 for chefs),
but the 38% who worked full time for the full year (54% of all chefs)
received an average of $22,000 in earnings ($27,200 for chefs).
The respective all-occupation averages were $27,900 and $39,400.
The earnings for this occupational group are generally much lower
than the all-occupation averages due to the large numbers that work
part time and/or part year.
A recent study found that those individuals
who graduated as chefs earned on average $1,680 per month for full-time
work. Entry-level cooks earned on average $1,420 per month for full-time
This is a very large occupational group, with much faster than average
growth. The number of employed workers rose from 24,440 in 1990
to 30,480 in 1998, and faster than average growth is expected to
continue in the future. Cooks account for 88% of this group.
Neither chefs nor cooks have high rates of
self-employment. The rate of self-employment for the whole group
is 7%, compared to the provincial average of 15%. About 28% of the
group work part time, but that arrangement is less likely for chefs
(10%). Younger cooks and chefs have a greater share of part-time
work, while older cooks and chefs have a greater share of full-time
jobs that last all year round.
The unemployment rate is about the same as
the all-occupation average, and there is a higher proportion of
this group that is employed for only part of the year. This reflects
the seasonal nature of this occupation and the large number of cooks
who lack the advanced skills needed for an increasingly competitive
job market. The situation is somewhat better for chefs for whom
the rate of unemployment is about the same as the all-occupation
average. The proportion of chefs who work only part of the year
is also about the same as the all-occupation average.
About 82% of cooks and 86% of chefs work
in the accommodation and food services industry. The remainder work
in industries such as health and social services, hospitals, retail
trade and a variety of other industries.
The proportion of women among cooks (45%)
is close to their representation in the all-occupation average,
but they account for only 18% of chefs. Many fast-food outlets employ
young people as cooks, which is reflected in the very high proportion
of workers in this group aged 15 to 24 (27%). This is almost double
the proportion that this age group accounts for in the all-occupation
average. For chefs the largest age concentration is found in the
25 to 34 age group, reflecting the greater level of skill and experience
and time needed to become a chef.
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