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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Chula Vista, California

If you want to be an institutional cook, the Chula Vista, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 22,800 people are currently employed as institutional cooks in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 14% to 26,000 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for institutional cooks are expected to grow by about 9.7%. Institutional cooks generally prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Income for institutional cooks is about $12 per hour or $26,760 annually on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $10 hourly or $22,210 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as institutional cooks in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Cooking nationally. Institutional cooks work in a variety of jobs, including: ship's cook, dietary aide, and ranch cook.

There are sixty schools of higher education in the Chula Vista area, including four within twenty-five miles of Chula Vista where you can get a degree to start your career as an institutional cook. Institutional cooks usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be an institutional cook if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Institutional Cook

Institutional Cook video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, institutional cooks prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Institutional cooks cook foodstuffs in line with menus, special dietary or nutritional restrictions, or numbers of portions to be served. They also clean and inspect galley equipment and work areas to insure cleanliness and functional operation. Equally important, institutional cooks have to apportion and serve food to facility residents or customers. They are often called upon to wash pots and other cooking equipment. Finally, institutional cooks clean and cook meat, fish, or poultry.

Every day, institutional cooks are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for institutional cooks to train new employees. They are often called upon to bake breads and other pastries. They also compile and maintain records of food use and expenditures. They are sometimes expected to direct efforts of one or more staff who help in preparing and serving meals. Somewhat less frequently, institutional cooks are also expected to formulate menus that are varied and appetizing, taking advantage of foods in season and local availability.

Institutional cooks sometimes are asked to decide on meal prices, on the basis of calculations of ingredient prices. They also have to be able to monitor menus and spending to insure that meals are prepared economically And finally, they sometimes have to formulate menus that are varied and appetizing, taking advantage of foods in season and local availability.

Like many other jobs, institutional cooks must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chula Vista include:

  • Chef. Direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts. May participate in cooking.
  • Food Service Aide. Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.
  • Food and Beverage Supervisor. Supervise workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
  • Personal Chef. Prepare meals in private homes.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Institutional Cook Training

Grossmont College - El Cajon, CA

Grossmont College, 8800 Grossmont College Dr, El Cajon, CA 92020-1799. Grossmont College is a large college located in El Cajon, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,227 students. Grossmont College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated 115, thirty-three, twenty-four, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Southwestern College - Chula Vista, CA

Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910-7299. Southwestern College is a large college located in Chula Vista, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,997 students. Southwestern College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts.

Palomar College - San Marcos, CA

Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069-1487. Palomar College is a large college located in San Marcos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 28,093 students. Palomar College has 2 areas of study related to Institutional Cook. They are:

  • Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated one, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Foodservice Systems Administration/Management, associate's degree and two to four year.

San Diego Mesa College - San Diego, CA

San Diego Mesa College, 7250 Mesa College Dr, San Diego, CA 92111-4998. San Diego Mesa College is a large college located in San Diego, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,460 students. San Diego Mesa College has 2 areas of study related to Institutional Cook. They are:

  • Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree which graduated four, three, and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Foodservice Systems Administration/Management, less than one year.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional: A key purpose of the Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional certification is to develop the highest standards in.

For more information, see the American Correctional Food Service Association website.

Certified Culinarian: An entry level culinarian professional within a commercial foodservice operation.

For more information, see the American Culinary Federation, Inc. website.

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Quality Coffee Certification Program: The purpose of QCCP is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers.

For more information, see the National Automatic Merchandising Association website.

School Nutrition Specialist: The Credentialing Program of the School Nutrition Association was created to enhance the professional image of school nutrition professionals.

For more information, see the School Nutrition Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chula Vista, California

Chula Vista, California
Chula Vista, California photo by FlickreviewR

Chula Vista is located in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 219,318, which has grown by 26.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chula Vista, 134, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Chula Vista are valued at $226,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eleven new homes were built in Chula Vista, down from three hundred twelve the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chula Vista are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 22.2% of Chula Vista residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chula Vista is 12.3%, which is the same as California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Chula Vista residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Seventh Day Adventist Church, First Christian Church and First Church of Christ are some of the churches located in Chula Vista. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Chula Vista is home to the Fenton Ranch and the Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course as well as Los Ninos Park and Library Park. Shopping centers in the area include Florence Shopping Center, Rio Sweetwater Plaza Shopping Center and Genesis Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Chula Vista can choose from Best Western Chula Vista Inn, Bay Cities Motel and Big 7 Motel for temporary stays in the area.