Institution or Cafeteria Cook  What They Do

Just the Facts


Prepares and cooks large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

This career is part of the Hospitality and Tourism cluster Restaurants and Food/Beverage Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Cleans, cuts, and cooks meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Cooks foodstuffs according to menus, special dietary or nutritional restrictions, or numbers of portions to be served.
  • Cleans and inspects galley equipment, kitchen appliances, and work areas to ensure cleanliness and functional operation.
  • Apportions and serves food to facility residents, employees, or patrons.
  • Directs activities of one or more workers who assist in preparing and serving meals.
  • Washes pots, pans, dishes, utensils, and other cooking equipment.
  • Compiles and maintains records of food use and expenditures.
  • Takes inventory of supplies and equipment.
  • Bakes breads, rolls, and other pastries.
  • Trains new employees.

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Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Baker -- Prepares bread, rolls, muffins, pies, pastries, cakes and cookies in retail and wholesale bakeries and dining establishments.
  • Camp Cook -- Orders, prepares and serves healthy food to the staff and campers at an outdoor setting.
  • Galley Cook --
  • Ranch Cook --