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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Aurora, Colorado

Institutional cooks can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Aurora, Colorado area. Currently, 4,550 people work as institutional cooks in Colorado. This is expected to grow by 26% to about 5,720 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.

The income of an institutional cook is about $11 per hour or $24,550 yearly on average in Colorado. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $10 per hour or $22,210 yearly on average. Earnings for institutional cooks are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Cooking in Colorado and not quite as good as general Cooking category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: cafeteria manager, galley cook, and chef.

The Aurora area is home to sixty-two schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Aurora where you can get a degree as an institutional cook. Institutional cooks usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn 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 Aurora 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 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

Johnson & Wales University-Denver - Denver, CO

Johnson & Wales University-Denver, 7150 Montview Blvd, Denver, CO 80220. Johnson & Wales University-Denver is a small university located in Denver, Colorado. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,454 students and an admission rate of 76%. Johnson & Wales University-Denver has a bachelor's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated sixty-eight students in 2008.


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.


Aurora, Colorado
Aurora, Colorado photo by Tom

Aurora is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 319,057, which has grown by 15.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Aurora, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Aurora are priced at $238,200 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred ten new homes were built in Aurora, down from 1,202 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Aurora are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 24.6% of Aurora residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Aurora is 8.2%, which is greater than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Aurora residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.

Aurora is home to the Victory Grange and the Magee as well as Montview Park and Del Mar Park. Visitors to Aurora can choose from Corporate Housing Solutions, Comfort Inn-Airport and Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park for temporary stays in the area.