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Dietary Cook

What Is A Dietary Cook?

A dietary cook works in a hospital or other healthcare establishment, such as a nursing home or hospice. Dietary cooks are specialists in food sciences and understand the different caloric and nutritional values of different foods.

What Does A Dietary Cook Do?

Dietary cooks specialize in preparing food for patients according to institutional and governmental guidelines, such as the National Academy of Sciences' recommended daily allowances (RDAs), or according to a dietician’s or doctor's orders. Using these guidelines, dietary cooks are responsible for creating appetizing menus that meet the patient's dietary needs. In hospital settings, the dietary cook is in charge of the dietary services operation in the absence of the dietary services manager.

What Is A Dietary Cook?

Dietary cooks need to know what different foods provide in terms of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, and calories. But they also need to know how to cook foods containing these nutrients in ways that are appealing and with variation so that patients do not become bored with their dietician's prescribed menu. Beside this specialized knowledge, dietary cooks should be able to handle the normal kitchen work environment, which may include lifting heavy items, steamy environments, and oily mists.

The Nitty Gritty: Salary

Dietary cooks are in growing demand as a result of an aging population and overall demand for workers in the culinary arts. Moreover, dietary cooks can often command higher salaries because of their specialized skills, though they may not have a four-year degree.

Schools to consider: