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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Wilmington, Delaware

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for institutional cooks in the Wilmington, Delaware area. There are currently 590 working institutional cooks in Delaware; this should grow 12% to about 660 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.

A person working as an institutional cook can expect to earn about $12 hourly or $26,240 yearly on average in Delaware and about $10 per hour or $22,210 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for institutional cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in Delaware, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Institutional cooks work in a variety of jobs, including: basket lunch preparer, diet kitchen cook, and boarding house cook.

The Wilmington area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Wilmington where you can get a degree 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 Wilmington 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.
  • Fast Food Cook. Prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus. Duties of the cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Short Order Cook. Prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Institutional Cook Training

Immaculata University - Immaculata, PA

Immaculata University, 1145 King Rd, Immaculata, PA 19345-0702. Immaculata University is a small university located in Immaculata, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,855 students and an admission rate of 80%. Immaculata University has a bachelor's degree program in Institutional Food Workers.

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington - Newark, DE

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington, 400 Stanton-Christiana Rd, Newark, DE 19702. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington is a medium sized college located in Newark, Delaware. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,460 students. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington has an associate's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management.

Jna Institute of Culinary Arts - Philadelphia, PA

Jna Institute of Culinary Arts, 1212 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19146. Jna Institute of Culinary Arts is a small school located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 73 students. Jna Institute of Culinary Arts has a one to two year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated three 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Wilmington, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware photo by Malepheasant

Wilmington is located in New Castle County, Delaware. It has a population of over 72,592, which has shrunk by 0.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Wilmington, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Wilmington are valued at $58,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, twenty-eight new homes were built in Wilmington, down from forty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Wilmington are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is finance and insurance, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.4% of Wilmington residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Wilmington is 13.3%, which is greater than Delaware's average of 8.5%.

The percentage of Wilmington residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Saint Andrews Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Beth Shalom Congregation are among the churches located in Wilmington. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Wilmington is home to the Interchange 3 and the The Rocks as well as Rodney Square and Cool Spring Park. Visitors to Wilmington can choose from Howard Johnson Restaurants, Riverview Motel and Hotel Du Pont for temporary stays in the area.