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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Orlando, Florida

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for institutional cooks in the Orlando, Florida area. Currently, 13,330 people work as institutional cooks in Florida. This is expected to grow by 17% to about 15,610 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.

A person working as an institutional cook can expect to earn about $11 per hour or $23,560 annually on average in Florida and about $10 hourly or $22,210 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as institutional cooks in Florida earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Cooking nationally. Jobs in this field include: ship's cook, cafeteria manager, and cook.

There are fifty schools of higher education in the Orlando area, including three within twenty-five miles of Orlando where you can get a degree to start your career as an institutional cook. The most common level of education for institutional cooks is a high school diploma or GED. 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 Orlando 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.
  • Counter Clerk. Serve food to diners at counter or from a steam table.
  • Dining Room Attendant. Facilitate food service. Clean tables, carry dirty dishes, replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, and dishes; supply service bar with food, and serve water, butter, and coffee to patrons.
  • 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.
  • Host Coordinator. Welcome patrons, seat them at tables or in lounge, and help ensure quality of facilities and service.
  • 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

Westside Tech - Winter Garden, FL

Westside Tech, 955 E Story Rd, Winter Garden, FL 34787-3733. Westside Tech is a small school located in Winter Garden, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 883 students. Westside Tech has a one to two year program in Institutional Food Workers which graduated ten students in 2008.

Brevard Community College - Cocoa, FL

Brevard Community College, 1519 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, FL 32922. Brevard Community College is a large college located in Cocoa, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,607 students. Brevard Community College has a one to two year program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated eight students in 2008.

Orlando Tech - Orlando, FL

Orlando Tech, 301 W Amelia Street, Orlando, FL 32801-1197. Orlando Tech is a small school located in Orlando, Florida. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 1,101 students. Orlando Tech has a one to two year program in Institutional Food Workers which graduated nine students 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: Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida photo by A3RO

Orlando is situated in Orange County, Florida. It has a population of over 230,519, which has grown by 24.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Orlando, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Orlando are valued at $217,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred forty-eight new homes were built in Orlando, down from six hundred twenty-two the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Orlando are accommodation and food services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 28.2% of Orlando residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Orlando is 11.1%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Orlando residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of Scientology of Orlando, Church of the Holy Spirit Episcopal and Metropolitan Community Church-Joy are some of the churches located in Orlando. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Orlando is home to the Dubsdread Country Club and the Conway Center as well as Mayor Carl Langford Park and Sunshine Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake Conway Woods Shopping Center, Colonial Plaza Mall and Coytown Shopping Center. Visitors to Orlando can choose from Blue Nile Hotel Liquidators, Clarion Hotel Universal and Buena Vista Suites for temporary stays in the area.