What Does a Cook Assistant Do?

Cook Assistants (Branch 1 - 415B) prepare, cook and assemble a wide variety of foods including short order grill, breakfasts, sandwiches, simple salads, desserts and vegetables. They may carve cooked meats, poultry, fish and game.  Cook Assistants must also have a good working knowledge of table service, sanitation, soups, sauces and more.

Job -Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • preparing and cooking complete meals or individual dishes
  • helping plan menus, determining the size of food portions, estimating food requirements and costs
  • communicating with suppliers through the ordering and monitoring of supplies
  • helping the Cook/ Chef prepare dinners
  • preparing Soups and Sauces, Salads and Dressings
  • performing job duties with care and creativity
  • maintaining personal cleanliness

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-Assistant-Br-1-415B-EN-TS41.pdf

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

Cook Assistant (Branch 1) is an unrestricted trade so you do not need a Certificate of Qualification to work in this trade. However, apprenticeship training of 2640 hours is recommended. You may also challenge the examination after only 3000 hours (one year) of apprenticeship training. 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.

Employers or unions may require a Grade 12 although Grade 10 is the legal minimum requirement to be apprenticed in this trade. To be a success in this trade you will need courses in math, weights and measures, food preparation and workplace safety. Exposure to this career through secondary school coop placements or through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) would be an asset. You could also benefit from gaining computer knowledge for tasks such as recipe retrieval and inventory control.

Apprenticeship Subject Pathways provides additional information for students/parents/educators:

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/training/apprenticeship/skills/pathwaye.pdf

What’s Your Future as a Cook Assistant?

Cook Assistants may work shifts, evenings, weekends or holidays, and depending on their place of employment, may find themselves under pressure to produce meals quickly. As a Cook Assistant, you may be exposed to sharp knives, hot appliances and dangerous equipment: cuts and burns are an occupational hazard. You may progress from Cook Assistant to Chef/Cook or Hospitality Management positions depending on your interest and ability. Cook Assistants may find employment with:

  • Institutions (Hospitals, Nursing Homes etc)
  • Small businesses such as restaurants or catering companies
  • Health and Social Services firms
  • Hospitals
  • Large recreational chains or resorts

Other sources of information about this occupation and the field in general include the Canadian Culinary Federation at www.ccfcc.ca, the Food Service association located on the web at: www.foodserviceworld.com, and the World Association of Cooks Societies at www.wacs2000.org.

 Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than fully qualified Journeypeople, and may earn as little as minimum wage to begin
  • This rate increases gradually as you acquire skills and gain competency
  • Earnings in this occupation vary widely; factors affecting earnings include the type of employer and the geographic location; fully qualified Assistant Cooks can earn in the range of $30,000 to $45,000 per year depending on the employer

Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Cook Assistant for You?

Self-Rating

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 work as part of a team, paying close attention to detail?

Yes      No

Do you like to research, create, taste, smell 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 Assistant may be for you!

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

  • Cook
  • Baker
  • Chef
  • Restaurant Owner or Manager

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