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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Athens, Georgia

Institutional cooks can find many career and educational opportunities in the Athens, Georgia area. There are currently 15,680 jobs for institutional cooks in Georgia and this is projected to grow by 17% to about 18,340 jobs 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. Institutional cooks generally prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Income for institutional cooks is about $8 per hour or $18,170 annually on average in Georgia. Nationally, their income is about $10 hourly or $22,210 annually. Institutional cooks earn less than people working in the category of Cooking generally in Georgia and less than people in the Cooking category nationally. Institutional cooks work in a variety of jobs, including: cook supervisor, ship's cook, and third cook.

The Athens area is home to five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Athens where you can get a degree 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 Athens include:

  • 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.
  • Personal Chef. Prepare meals in private homes.
  • 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

Athens Technical College - Athens, GA

Athens Technical College, 800 US Hwy 29 N, Athens, GA 30601-1500. Athens Technical College is a small college located in Athens, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,131 students. Athens Technical College has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated seven 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: Athens, Georgia

Athens, Georgia
Athens, Georgia photo by Richard Chambers

Athens is situated in Brantley County, Georgia. It has a population of over 113,398, which has grown by 13.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Athens, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Athens cost $146,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred four new homes were constructed in Athens, down from four hundred seventy-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Athens are educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 40.0% of Athens residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.0%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Athens residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.6%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God (Cleveland and the The Wesleyan Church.