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Career and Education Opportunities for Restaurant Chefs in Elgin, Illinois

If you want to be a restaurant chef, the Elgin, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 38,210 jobs for restaurant chefs in Illinois and this is projected to grow by 16% to about 44,460 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for restaurant chefs, which sees this job pool growing by about 7.7% over the next eight years. Restaurant chefs generally prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants.

Restaurant chefs earn about $10 per hour or $21,140 per year on average in Illinois and about $10 per hour or $21,990 per year on average nationally. Earnings for restaurant chefs 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: chef de froid, line cook, and prep cook .

The Elgin area is home to sixty-one schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree as a restaurant chef. The most common level of education for restaurant chefs is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a restaurant chef if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Restaurant Chef

Restaurant Chef video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, restaurant chefs prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. They also may order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.

Restaurant chefs turn or stir foods to insure even cooking. They also season and cook food in line with recipes or personal judgment and experience. Equally important, restaurant chefs have to portion and garnish food, and serve food to waiters or customers. They are often called upon to observe and test foods to establish if they have been cooked sufficiently, using methods such as tasting or piercing them with utensils. They are expected to weigh and mix ingredients in line with recipes or personal judgment, using various kitchen utensils and equipment. Finally, restaurant chefs bake and steam meats, fish and other foods.

Every day, restaurant chefs are expected to be able to split focus between different tasks. They need to prioritize information for further consideration. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for restaurant chefs to carve and trim meats such as beef and lamb for hot or cold service, or for sandwiches. They are often called upon to estimate expected food consumption, requisition or purchase supplies, or procure food from storage. They also direct and supervise work of kitchen staff. They are sometimes expected to confer with supervisory staff to develop menus, taking into consideration factors such as costs and special event needs. Somewhat less frequently, restaurant chefs are also expected to direct and supervise work of kitchen staff.

Restaurant chefs sometimes are asked to regulate temperature of ovens and roasters. They also have to be able to butcher and dress animals, fowl, or shellfish, or cut and bone meat before cooking And finally, they sometimes have to formulate and price menu items.

Like many other jobs, restaurant chefs must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

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

Elgin Community College - Elgin, IL

Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123-7193. Elgin Community College is a medium sized college located in Elgin, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,821 students. Elgin Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated nineteen and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated eight and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a one to two year program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated six students in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated one and nine students respectively in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a less than one year program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LICENSES

COOK

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Elgin, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.