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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Thousand Oaks, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for institutional cooks in the Thousand Oaks, 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 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 yearly on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $10 hourly or $22,210 annually on average. 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. Jobs in this field include: ranch cook, cafeteria worker, and cook.

There are fourteen schools of higher education in the Thousand Oaks area, including one within twenty-five miles of Thousand Oaks 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 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 Thousand Oaks 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: Thousand Oaks, California

Thousand Oaks, California
Thousand Oaks, California photo by Tdv294

Thousand Oaks is situated in Ventura County, California. It has a population of over 123,091, which has grown by 5.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Thousand Oaks, 133, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Thousand Oaks are priced at $499,900 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, ten new homes were built in Thousand Oaks, down from seventy-one the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Thousand Oaks are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and finance and insurance. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 42.2% of Thousand Oaks residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Thousand Oaks is 8.6%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Thousand Oaks residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. King of Glory Lutheran Church, Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses and Temple Adat Elohim are all churches located in Thousand Oaks. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Thousand Oaks is home to the Rockwell International Science Center Library and the Lang Ranch as well as Joel McCrea Wildlife Preserve and Evenstar Park. Shopping centers in the area include Jeffries Center Shopping Center, Evergreens Shopping Center and Westoaks-Hampshire Shopping Center. Visitors to Thousand Oaks can choose from Best Western Oaks Lodge, Best Western Thousand Oaks Inn and Best Value Inn - Thousand Oaks for temporary stays in the area.