- Prepare and serve dishes to your customers in a range of settings like hospitals, schools, or canteens
- You'll need a love of food and cooking, the ability to work to deadlines, and good physical fitness
- With training you could progress to become a chef, a catering manager, or run your own business
As a cook you'll create dishes for your customers or clients on a daily basis, usually within settings like schools, hospitals, care homes or catering services.
- Preparing menus and recipes
- Ordering and managing supplies of ingredients and other materials
- Cooking and serving dishes to your customers or clients
Some cooks work regular hours and others work shifts including evenings and weekends. Professional kitchens can be hot and noisy and you'll need a good level of physical fitness as you'll spend a lot of time on your feet and you may need to carry heavy items.
Cooks don't always need to have the same level of professional training and experience that it takes to become a 'chef', and they will often work alone or as part of a smaller team delivering catering services.
As a cook you will need to complete a food hygiene certificate at level 2 as a minimum to handle and prepare food in a professional kitchen, but you might want to gain a further qualification in hospitality and catering (like a City & Guilds diploma in professional cookery) before applying for jobs. Gaining experience in a professional kitchen is also a good way to get started and some employers will support you to complete your qualifications or you may be able to find an apprenticeship.
With experience and further training, you could go on to become a chef.