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Institution or Cafeteria Cook  What They Do

Just the Facts


Cooks - Institution and Cafeteria Career Video



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

This career is part of the Hospitality & Tourism cluster Restaurants, Food and 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.

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 --