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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Oxnard, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for institutional cooks in the Oxnard, California area. About 22,800 people are currently employed as institutional cooks in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 14% to about 26,000 people employed. This is better than the national trend for institutional cooks, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.7% over the next eight years. In general, institutional cooks prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

The income of an institutional cook is about $12 per hour or $26,760 per year on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $10 per hour or $22,210 annually on average. Incomes for institutional cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in California, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: ship's cook, second cook and baker, and galley cook.

There are sixteen schools of higher education in the Oxnard area, including one within twenty-five miles of Oxnard where you can get a degree to start your career 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 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 Oxnard 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.
  • 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

Oxnard College - Oxnard, CA

Oxnard College, 4000 S Rose Ave, Oxnard, CA 93033-6699. Oxnard College is a medium sized college located in Oxnard, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,639 students. Oxnard 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 one, two, three, and zero students respectively 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: Oxnard, California

Oxnard, California
Oxnard, California photo by Lan56

Oxnard is situated in Ventura County, California. It has a population of over 185,717, which has grown by 9.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Oxnard, 132, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Oxnard are valued at $247,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, seventy-four new homes were built in Oxnard, down from two hundred five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Oxnard are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 13.7% of Oxnard residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Oxnard is 15.0%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Oxnard residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. All Saints Episcopal Church, Park Avenue Church of Christ and Good Shepherd Baptist Church are all churches located in Oxnard. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Oxnard is home to the Silver K Golf Course and the Saint Johns Regional Medical Center Health Sciences Library as well as Plaza Park and Mandalay County Park. Shopping malls in the area include Esplanade Mall Shopping Center, Rose Shopping Center and Fremont Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Oxnard can choose from Best Western Oxnard Inn and Ambassador Motel for temporary stays in the area.