What Does a Cook Do?

Cooks (Branch 2 - 415A) prepare, cook and present a wide variety of foods, for anywhere from five to five hundred people, at receptions, house parties and other events, to individual dishes in restaurants or institutions, sometimes in accordance with instructions from a dietician or chef. There are even some Cooks who work in test kitchens where they develop recipes for televised cooking shows or for lifestyle and home-oriented magazines.

Cooks work towards becoming a Chef.  The NOC Code for this trade is: 6242.

 Learn about the business case for training apprentices in the culinary field

Essential Skills for Success as a Cook

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Planning a sequence of tasks to meet production requirements within specified costs
  • Organizing resources (both human and materiel) within time constraints to create a product or products
  • Performing calculations and using formulas in the preparation of soups, stews, gravies etc.
  • Working with dieticians, customers or senior personnel to design meals
  • Hiring, supervising and training other kitchen personnel
  • Performing job duties with care and creativity

Additional information on training standards for this particular trades in the Service sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/Cook-Br-2-415-A-EN-TS3.pdf

View the Essential Skills necessary to work as a Cook (NOC code 6242) 

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

Before entering an apprenticeship as a Cook (Branch 2) you must complete Grade 12, with Math and English credits. Job-related co-op placements, related in-school programs or courses are also an advantage. You will need to complete an apprenticeship of 5280 on-the-job training hours for Cook- Branch 2  as well as 2 -12 week in-school training sessions. You must also successfully write the required examination to be awarded a Certificate of Qualification. This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the (OCTAA) Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

If you are currently attending high school, you may benefit from enroling in a Hospitality and Tourism Specialist High Skills Major Program. For more information, please check out the following link:


What’s Your Future as a Cook (Branch 2)?

Most Cooks work on a full-time basis, although quite a few are employed part-time during the day, evening and weekends including holidays. Hours can be long and irregular. Generally, Cooks start out as apprentices, then become Line Cooks, then graduate to Junior-level Cooks as they acquire more skills. Cooks who supervise other cooks in larger businesses are known as Chefs. Cooks may choose to work as generalists, or may decide to specialize in a certain type of cuisine or in a particular area (e.g. dessert preparation). Some may own or co-own their own restaurant. Cooks are employed by:

  • Institutions
  • Small businesses such as restaurants or catering companies
  • Health and Social Services firms
  • Hospitals
  • Large recreational chains or resorts

 Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than fully qualified Cooks, and may earn as little as minimum wage to begin
  • This rate increases gradually as you acquire skills and gain competency
  • Experienced and certified Cooks can earn anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000 per year, depending on the employer; those who are owners or co-owners of a successful restaurant may earn more


Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Cook for You?

Do you mind working in an environment that can be hot, humid and hectic?

Yes      No

Can you spend a lot of time on your feet, doing repetitive tasks and lifting heavy pots or pans?

Yes      No

Do you mind working evenings, weekends and holidays?

Yes      No

Do you like to maintain and ensure high work standards?

Yes      No

Do you like to research, create and experiment with food?

Yes      No

Do you like to work with your hands, using a variety of techniques and equipment to prepare food?

Yes      No

Do you have the ability to work with numbers and perform calculations?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Cook may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Baker
  • Short-Order Cook
  • Restaurant Manager


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