Chefs and cooks are typically the main food handlers in food establishments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for this occupation is projected to be faster than average among other fields in the coming years. In fact, from 2014-2024, the projected growth rate is 9%. Education requirements are typically high school or above for these jobs and the median income is $41,500 a year.
Chef and cook jobs can be found in restaurants, hotels, casinos, and many other retail establishments. The main responsibilities of a chef are to manage food handling and services at restaurants and other food establishments. They are typically in charge of the kitchen and handle all food-related concerns and procedures. In order to work as a food handler, most states either require or strongly suggest that individuals take food handling safety courses. Topics reviewed for safe food handling include times and temperatures that put certain foods at risk, safe procedures for cleaning, storing, and prepping in the kitchen, and much more for the safety of consumers. Although some states allow food handlers to simply demonstrate knowledge of safe food handling, a good way of proving demonstration is by passing a certification course or exam. If you are looking for work in your state as a chef or cook, check out our State Requirements page at Food Handlers Guide to see what courses or exams you need to become certified. For the most accurate information, please visit your state or local health authority website.
Many jobs in a kitchen may require experience or culinary school prior to hiring. There are numerous national culinary programs that provide training and education necessary for landing a job in a restaurant. Please consult one of these programs for more information.