Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Cary, North Carolina

There are many career and education opportunities for institutional cooks in the Cary, North Carolina area. There are currently 8,180 working institutional cooks in North Carolina; this should grow 20% to 9,820 working institutional cooks in the state by 2016. This is better than 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.

Income for institutional cooks is about $9 per hour or $20,710 per year on average in North Carolina. Nationally, their income is about $10 per hour or $22,210 per year. Earnings for institutional cooks are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Cooking in North Carolina and not quite as good as general Cooking category earnings nationally. People working as institutional cooks can fill a number of jobs, such as: basket lunch preparer, diet kitchen cook, and galley cook.

The Cary area is home to twenty-seven schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Cary 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. 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 Cary 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.
  • 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: Institutional Cook Training

Wake Technical Community College - Raleigh, NC

Wake Technical Community College, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603-5696. Wake Technical Community College is a large college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,839 students. Wake Technical Community College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated two and zero students respectively in 2008.

Central Carolina Community College - Sanford, NC

Central Carolina Community College, 1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, NC 27330-9840. Central Carolina Community College is a small college located in Sanford, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,753 students. Central Carolina Community College has a less than one year program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated forty-nine students in 2008.

The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham - Durham, NC

The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, 410 Blackwell St, Ste 200, Durham, NC 27701. The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham is a small school located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 120 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts.

Johnston Community College - Smithfield, NC

Johnston Community College, 245 College Road, Smithfield, NC 27577-2350. Johnston Community College is a small college located in Smithfield, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,128 students. Johnston Community College has a less than one year program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated forty-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: Cary, North Carolina

Cary, North Carolina
Cary, North Carolina photo by Erich_Fabricius

Cary is situated in Wake County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 129,545, which has grown by 37.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Cary, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cary are priced at $204,400 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,313 new homes were built in Cary, down from 2,326 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cary are professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, computer and electronic products, and construction. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 60.7% of Cary residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 23.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cary is 6.2%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Cary residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.8%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Cary is home to Hemlock Bluffs State Natural Area and Regency Park. Visitors to Cary can choose from Hampton Inn Cary, Embassy Suites Hotel Raleigh-Durham and Hampton Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.