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Career and Education Opportunities for Short Order Cooks in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for short order cooks in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 7,720 jobs for short order cooks in Illinois and this is projected to grow by 10% to about 8,480 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for short order cooks are expected to grow by about 0.1%. In general, short order cooks prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time.

The income of a short order cook is about $9 per hour or $19,190 yearly on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $9 hourly or $19,260 annually on average. Earnings for short order cooks are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Cooking in Illinois and not quite as good as general Cooking category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: snack bar cook, chuck wagon cook, and deli cook .

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a short order cook. Short order cooks usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a short order cook if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Short Order Cook

Short Order Cook video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, short order cooks prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. They also may take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

Short order cooks clean food preparation equipment and counters or tables. They also perform simple food preparation tasks such as making sandwiches and brewing coffee. Equally important, short order cooks have to grill and garnish hamburgers or other meats such as steaks and chops. They are often called upon to formulate work on orders so that items served together are finished at the same time. Finally, short order cooks grill and fry foods such as french fries and pancakes.

Every day, short order cooks are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for short order cooks to order supplies and stock them on shelves. They are often called upon to grill and fry foods such as french fries and pancakes. They also complete orders from steam tables, placing food on plates and serving patrons at tables or counters. They are sometimes expected to take orders from patrons and cook foods requiring short preparation times, in line with customer requirements. Somewhat less frequently, short order cooks are also expected to order supplies and stock them on shelves.

Short order cooks sometimes are asked to accept payments, and make change or write charge slips as needed. And finally, they sometimes have to accept payments, and make change or write charge slips as needed.

Like many other jobs, short order cooks must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago 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.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • 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: Short Order Cook Training

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated three students in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago - Chicago, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, 350 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-1593. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,900 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has a one to two year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.