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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Essex, Vermont

Institutional cook career and educational opportunities abound in Essex, Vermont. There are currently 1,150 jobs for institutional cooks in Vermont and this is projected to grow 5% to about 1,210 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for institutional cooks, which 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 about $12 per hour or $25,400 per year on average in Vermont and about $10 hourly or $22,210 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as institutional cooks in Vermont earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Cooking nationally. People working as institutional cooks can fill a number of jobs, such as: mess cook, dietary cook, and diet kitchen cook.

The Essex area is home to fourteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Essex 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 Essex 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

New England Culinary Institute at Essex - Essex Junction, VT

New England Culinary Institute at Essex, 5 Franklin Street, Essex Junction, VT 05452. New England Culinary Institute at Essex is a small school located in Essex Junction, Vermont. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 105 students. New England Culinary Institute at Essex has 2 areas of study related to Institutional Cook. They are:

  • Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, one to two year which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant, bachelor's degree which graduated 15 students in 2008.


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.


Essex, Vermont
Essex, Vermont photo by Fancy-cats-are-happy-cats

Essex is situated in Chittenden County, Vermont. It has a population of over 19,649, which has grown by 5.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Essex, 95, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Essex cost $228,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, six new homes were built in Essex, down from thirteen the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Essex are educational services, health care, and computer and electronic products. For men, it is computer and electronic products, educational services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 45.6% of Essex residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.1%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Essex is 4.8%, which is less than Vermont's average of 5.9%. About 2.6% of Essex's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Essex residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Federated Church, Covenant Community Church and Essex Alliance Church are among the churches located in Essex. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Essex is home to the Essex Free Library and the Essex Town Hall.