Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Alexandria, Virginia
If you want to be an institutional cook, the Alexandria, Virginia area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for institutional cooks 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.
The income of an institutional cook is about $10 hourly or $22,510 yearly on average in Virginia. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $10 hourly or $22,210 per year on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as institutional cooks in Virginia 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: food service specialist, boarding house cook, and baker.
The Alexandria area is home to eighty-four schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree as an institutional cook. Given that the most common education level for institutional cooks is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be an institutional cook if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Institutional Cook
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 Alexandria 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
Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA
Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has a one to two year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated five students in 2008.
Stratford University - Falls Church, VA
Stratford University, 7777 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043-2403. Stratford University is a small university located in Falls Church, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,644 students. Stratford University has an associate's degree program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated fifty-nine students in 2008.
Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD
Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pky, Arnold, MD 21012-1895. Anne Arundel Community College is a large college located in Arnold, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,149 students. Anne Arundel Community College has a one to two year program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated seven 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.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.
The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.
Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.
Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.