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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Santa Rosa, California

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for institutional cooks in the Santa Rosa, California area. Currently, 22,800 people work as institutional cooks in California. This is expected to grow by 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.

Institutional cooks earn approximately $12 hourly or $26,760 yearly on average in California. Nationally they average about $10 hourly or $22,210 per year. 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: food service specialist, dietary cook, and dietary aide.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Santa Rosa where you can study to be an institutional cook, among seven schools of higher education total in the Santa Rosa area. Given that the most common education level 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 Santa Rosa 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

Santa Rosa Junior College - Santa Rosa, CA

Santa Rosa Junior College, 1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-4395. Santa Rosa Junior College is a large college located in Santa Rosa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,350 students. Santa Rosa Junior 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 fifty-five, three, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Foodservice Systems Administration/Management, less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated six, zero, 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: Santa Rosa, California

Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa, California photo by Njaelkies Lea

Santa Rosa is situated in Sonoma County, California. It has a population of over 155,796, which has grown by 5.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Santa Rosa, 159, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Santa Rosa are priced at $193,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty new homes were built in Santa Rosa, down from three hundred sixty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Santa Rosa are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 27.6% of Santa Rosa 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 Santa Rosa is 10.1%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Santa Rosa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 32.1%, is less than both the national and state average. United Pentecostal Church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Bennett Valley Baptist Church are among the churches located in Santa Rosa. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Santa Rosa is home to the Sonoma County Administration Center and the Quarry Picnic Area as well as Live Oak Park and Coffey Park. Shopping malls in the area include Montgomery Village Shopping Center, Saint Francis Shopping Center and Flamingo One Stop Shopping Center. Visitors to Santa Rosa can choose from Amansi, Astro Motel and Beautiful Weddings & Events for temporary stays in the area.