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

There are many career and education opportunities for short order cooks in the Elgin, Illinois area. About 7,720 people are currently employed as short order cooks in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 10% to 8,480 people employed. 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.

A person working as a short order cook can expect to earn about $9 hourly or $19,190 per year on average in Illinois and about $9 hourly or $19,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as short order cooks in Illinois earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Cooking nationally. Short order cooks work in a variety of jobs, including: deli cook , restaurant worker, and cook.

The Elgin area is home to sixty-one schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree as a short order cook. Short order cooks usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 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.
  • 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

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 less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated fifty-eight 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: 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.