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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Institutional cooks can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky area. There are currently 10,070 jobs for institutional cooks in Kentucky and this is projected to grow by 2% to 10,290 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for institutional cooks are expected to grow by about 9.7%. Institutional cooks generally prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Institutional cooks earn about $10 hourly or $20,900 yearly on average in Kentucky and about $10 per hour or $22,210 annually on average nationally. Institutional cooks earn less than people working in the category of Cooking generally in Kentucky and less than people in the Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: baker, food service specialist, and culinary specialist.

There are twenty-two schools of higher education in the Lexington-Fayette area, including one within twenty-five miles of Lexington-Fayette where you can get a degree to start your career as an institutional cook. Institutional cooks usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be 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 Lexington-Fayette 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Institutional Cook Training

College for Technical Education - Lexington, KY

College for Technical Education, 1165 Centre Pky Suite #120, Lexington, KY 40517. College for Technical Education is a small college located in Lexington, Kentucky. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 49 students. College for Technical Education has a less than one year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated twenty-one 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: Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky photo by Jonesey

Lexington-Fayette is located in Fayette County, Kentucky. It has a population of over 282,114, which has grown by 8.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Lexington-Fayette, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Lexington-Fayette are valued at $167,600 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, seven hundred seventy-one new homes were built in Lexington-Fayette, down from 1,227 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Lexington-Fayette are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 35.6% of Lexington-Fayette residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.5%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Lexington-Fayette residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Victory Baptist Church, Aldersgate Church and Trinity Hill United Methodist Church are all churches located in Lexington-Fayette. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Lexington-Fayette is home to the Tates Creek Country Club and the Home of Henry Clay as well as Kentucky State Horse Park and Duncan Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fayette Mall, Turfland Mall and Lexington Mall.