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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Olathe, Kansas

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for institutional cooks in the Olathe, Kansas area. The national trend for institutional cooks 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.

Institutional cooks earn approximately $9 per hour or $19,900 annually on average in Kansas. Nationally they average about $10 hourly or $22,210 yearly. Incomes for institutional cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in Kansas, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: galley cook, food service specialist, and special diet cook.

The Olathe area is home to sixty schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Olathe where you can get a degree as an institutional cook. The most common level of education for institutional cooks is a high school diploma or GED. 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 Olathe 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.
  • 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

Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center - Kansas City, KS

Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 2220 N 59th St, Kansas City, KS 66104-2821. Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center is a small college located in Kansas City, Kansas. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 598 students. Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated eight 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: Olathe, Kansas

Olathe, Kansas
Olathe, Kansas photo by Ichabod

Olathe is situated in Johnson County, Kansas. It has a population of over 119,993, which has grown by 29.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Olathe, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Olathe are priced at $315,000 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, three hundred fifty-two new homes were constructed in Olathe, down from five hundred ninety-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Olathe are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and finance and insurance. The average travel time to work is about 21 minutes. More than 39.9% of Olathe residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Olathe is 6.7%, which is greater than Kansas's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Olathe residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Shopping malls in the area include Twin Trail Shopping Center, East Gate Shopping Center and Gibson Shopping Center. Visitors to Olathe can choose from Microtel Inn Olathe, Sleep Inn Olathe and Grid Iron Sports Bar for temporary stays in the area.