A prep cook is often someone who is looking to advance in their culinary career. Working first as a prep cook before moving up to become a chef is a great idea as food preparation is the foundation of great cooking. A prep cook is considered an entry level position in the kitchen.
What Does A Prep Cook Do?
Prep cooks wash, peel, cut, chop, slice, and otherwise prepare vegetables and other cooking elements for meal preparation during a shift. A general rule is that the prep cook does not actually cook anything, but prepares things to be cooked. This job is especially important in Asian cooking where the chef may stir-fry the dish in a matter of minutes after a prep cook has spent a much longer time preparing the ingredients.
Prep cooks are also responsible for storing items in the refrigerator, covering items left in the open air, and preparing special food elements ahead of time so that they can be quickly accessed and used in cooking. They may be responsible for preparing a certain portion of a dish.
Characteristics Of A Prep Cook
Prep cooks know how to use knives and other kitchen utensils, such as grinders. Prep cooks need to maintain a team work ethic and be willing to obey orders. Food preparation also requires efficiency and excellent hygiene. Prep cooks need to have the same attitude of excellence as the head chef so that the cook is not working with inferior materials.
The Nitty Gritty: Salary
Prep cooks often earn around $8 to $10 per hour, but skillful prep cooks working in professional kitchens have great opportunities to advance to more lucrative positions.