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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Los Angeles, California

Institutional cooks can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Los Angeles, California area. Currently, 22,800 people work as institutional cooks in California. This is expected to grow 14% to 26,000 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for institutional cooks are expected to grow by about 9.7%. In general, institutional cooks prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

A person working as an institutional cook can expect to earn about $12 hourly or $26,760 yearly on average in California and about $10 per hour or $22,210 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for institutional cooks are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Cooking in California and not quite as good as general Cooking category earnings nationally. People working as institutional cooks can fill a number of jobs, such as: second cook and baker, food and nutrition services assistant, and school cafeteria cook.

The Los Angeles area is home to 274 schools of higher education, including fourteen within twenty-five miles of Los Angeles where you can get a degree as an institutional cook. The most common level of education for institutional cooks is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Los Angeles 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

Pasadena City College - Pasadena, CA

Pasadena City College, 1570 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106-2003. Pasadena City College is a large college located in Pasadena, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,453 students. Pasadena City College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated one, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

College of the Canyons - Santa Clarita, CA

College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91355-1899. College of the Canyons is a large college located in Santa Clarita, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,474 students. College of the Canyons has a two to four year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts.

Los Angeles Trade Technical College - Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Trade Technical College, 400 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015-4181. Los Angeles Trade Technical College is a large college located in Los Angeles, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,565 students. Los Angeles Trade Technical College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated ninety-eight and twenty students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Mission College - Sylmar, CA

Los Angeles Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Avenue, Sylmar, CA 91342-3245. Los Angeles Mission College is a large college located in Sylmar, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,264 students. Los Angeles Mission College has a one to two year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated eight students in 2008.

Long Beach City College - Long Beach, CA

Long Beach City College, 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach, CA 90808-1706. Long Beach City College is a large college located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,097 students. Long Beach City 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, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated 298, eight, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Foodservice Systems Administration/Management, less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated twenty-one, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Cerritos College - Norwalk, CA

Cerritos College, 11110 Alondra Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650-6298. Cerritos College is a large college located in Norwalk, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 22,228 students. Cerritos 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 seven, twelve, five, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Mt San Antonio College - Walnut, CA

Mt San Antonio College, 1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA 91789-1399. Mt San Antonio College is a large college located in Walnut, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 30,439 students. Mt San Antonio College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated two and zero students respectively in 2008.

Santa Ana College - Santa Ana, CA

Santa Ana College, 1530 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706-3398. Santa Ana College is a large college located in Santa Ana, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,464 students. Santa Ana College has a two to four year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts.

Cypress College - Cypress, CA

Cypress College, 9200 Valley View, Cypress, CA 90630-5897. Cypress College is a large college located in Cypress, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,990 students. Cypress 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 forty-eight, seven, seven, and zero students respectively in 2008.

The Art Institute of California-Orange County - Santa Ana, CA

The Art Institute of California-Orange County, 3601 W Sunflower Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92704. The Art Institute of California-Orange County is a small school located in Santa Ana, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,784 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Art Institute of California-Orange County has one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated seven, fifty-six, and twenty-six students respectively in 2008.

Orange Coast College - Costa Mesa, CA

Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92628-5005. Orange Coast College is a large college located in Costa Mesa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,700 students. Orange Coast 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, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated twenty-seven, seven, nine, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Foodservice Systems Administration/Management, less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated ten, two, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Glendale Community College - Glendale, CA

Glendale Community College, 1500 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA 91208-2894. Glendale Community College is a large college located in Glendale, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,993 students. Glendale Community 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, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated eleven, two, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Foodservice Systems Administration/Management, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated four, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles City College - Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles City College, 855 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Los Angeles City College is a large college located in Los Angeles, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,310 students. Los Angeles City College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated fourteen and zero students respectively in 2008.

The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles - Santa Monica, CA

The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, 2900 31st St, Santa Monica, CA 90405-3035. The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles is a small school located in Santa Monica, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,209 students and an admission rate of 43%. The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles has a one to two year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated four students in 2008.

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: Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California photo by Diliff

Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 3,833,995, which has grown by 3.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Los Angeles, 166, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Los Angeles are valued at $361,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, seven hundred twelve new homes were built in Los Angeles, down from 1,551 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Los Angeles are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 25.5% of Los Angeles residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles is 13.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Los Angeles residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. All Peoples Christian Church, All Saints Episcopal Church and All Saints Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Los Angeles. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Los Angeles is home to the Balboa Municipal Golf Course and the Angels Flight Railway as well as Hazard Park and State Street Recreation Center. Shopping centers in the area include Encino Junior Shopping Center, Encino Oaks Shopping Center and Encino Town Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Los Angeles can choose from Best Western Mid-Wilshire Plaza, Best Western Westwood Pacific and Alma Lodge for temporary stays in the area.