Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria

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About the Job

Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

It is also Called

  • Vegetables Cook
  • Third Cook
  • Special Diet Cook
  • Ship's Cook
  • Second Cook and Baker
  • School Cook
  • School Cafeteria Cook
  • Roundsman
  • Ranch Cook
  • Prep Cook
View All

What They Do

  • Requisition food supplies, kitchen equipment, and appliances, based on estimates of future needs.
  • Plan menus that are varied, nutritionally balanced, and appetizing, taking advantage of foods in season and local availability.
  • Determine meal prices, based on calculations of ingredient prices.
  • Monitor menus and spending to ensure that meals are prepared economically.
  • Monitor use of government food commodities to ensure that proper procedures are followed.
  • Train new employees.
  • Bake breads, rolls, or other pastries.
  • Take inventory of supplies and equipment.
  • Compile and maintain records of food use and expenditures.
  • Wash pots, pans, dishes, utensils, or other cooking equipment.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: RC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Support and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • 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.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.


In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $28,180 with most people making between $18,880 and $39,110


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 18,870 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 20,100 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 123 openings due to growth and about 497 replacement openings for approximately 620 total annual openings.

Pennsylvania Department of Education