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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

If you want to be an institutional cook, the Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 13,310 working institutional cooks in Tennessee; this should grow by 11% to 14,800 working institutional cooks in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for institutional cooks, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.7% over the next eight years. In general, institutional cooks prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Income for institutional cooks is about $8 hourly or $18,560 annually on average in Tennessee. Nationally, their income is about $10 hourly or $22,210 per year. Incomes for institutional cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in Tennessee, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: cafeteria worker, diet kitchen cook, and ranch cook.

There are fifty schools of higher education in the Nashville-Davidson area, including one within twenty-five miles of Nashville-Davidson where you can get a degree to start your career 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 Nashville-Davidson 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 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

Lipscomb University - Nashville, TN

Lipscomb University, One University Park Drive, Nashville, TN 37204-3951. Lipscomb University is a small university located in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,054 students and an admission rate of 75%. Lipscomb University has a bachelor's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management.

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: Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee
Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee photo by Kaldari

Nashville-Davidson is located in Williamson County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 596,462, which has grown by 9.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Nashville-Davidson, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Nashville-Davidson are priced at $196,100 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,483 new homes were constructed in Nashville-Davidson, down from 3,070 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Nashville-Davidson are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 29.7% of Nashville-Davidson residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Nashville-Davidson residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.2%, is more than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.