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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Bridgeport, Connecticut

If you want to be an institutional cook, the Bridgeport, Connecticut area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 4,680 working institutional cooks in Connecticut; this should grow 15% to about 5,370 working institutional cooks in the state 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.

Income for institutional cooks is about $14 per hour or $29,710 annually on average in Connecticut. Nationally, their income is about $10 per hour or $22,210 yearly. Incomes for institutional cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in Connecticut, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: special diet cook, ship's cook, and cafeteria manager.

There are seventy-five schools of higher education in the Bridgeport area, including six within twenty-five miles of Bridgeport where you can get a degree to start your career as an institutional cook. 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 Bridgeport 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

Naugatuck Valley Community College - Waterbury, CT

Naugatuck Valley Community College, 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, CT 06708-3089. Naugatuck Valley Community College is a medium sized college located in Waterbury, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,880 students. Naugatuck Valley Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated three and four students respectively in 2008.

Monroe College-New Rochelle - New Rochelle, NY

Monroe College-New Rochelle, 434 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801. Monroe College-New Rochelle is a small college located in New Rochelle, New York. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,153 students and an admission rate of 60%. Monroe College-New Rochelle has an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts and Related Services, Other Specialties which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

SUNY Westchester Community College - Valhalla, NY

SUNY Westchester Community College, 75 Grasslands Road, Valhalla, NY 10595. SUNY Westchester Community College is a large college located in Valhalla, New York. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,090 students. SUNY Westchester Community College has an associate's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Norwalk Community College - Norwalk, CT

Norwalk Community College, 188 Richards Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06854. Norwalk Community College is a medium sized college located in Norwalk, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,266 students. Norwalk Community College has 2 areas of study related to Institutional Cook. They are:

  • Culinary Arts and Related Services, Other Specialties, less than one year which graduated 8 students in 2008.
  • Foodservice Systems Administration/Management, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

University of New Haven - West Haven, CT

University of New Haven, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, CT 06516. University of New Haven is a medium sized university located in West Haven, Connecticut. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,739 students and an admission rate of 68%. University of New Haven has 2 areas of study related to Institutional Cook. They are:

  • Culinary Arts and Related Services, Other Specialties, less than one year.
  • Foodservice Systems Administration/Management, associate's degree.

Gateway Community College - New Haven, CT

Gateway Community College, 60 Sargent Dr, New Haven, CT 06511. Gateway Community College is a medium sized college located in New Haven, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,140 students. Gateway Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated five and four 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: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport, Connecticut photo by Xtremeyanksfan22

Bridgeport is located in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It has a population of over 136,405, which has shrunk by 2.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Bridgeport, 151, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Bridgeport are valued at $110,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, twenty-six new homes were built in Bridgeport, down from forty-one the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Bridgeport are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 12.2% of Bridgeport 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 Bridgeport is 12.1%, which is greater than Connecticut's average of 8.3%.

The percentage of Bridgeport residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 70.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Calvary Episcopal Church, Golden Hill United Methodist Church and Good Shepherd Christian Church are among the churches located in Bridgeport. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ.

Bridgeport is home to the North Branch Bridgeport Public Library and the Challenger Learning Center as well as Went Field and Johnson Oak Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lafayette Shopping Plaza Shopping Center, Baldwin Plaza Shopping Center and Bayview Shopping Center.