- Prep cooks are entry-level positions that typically don’t require any formal education or experience.
- Prep cooks are responsible for assisting in basic kitchen tasks, such as preparing work stations, washing and chopping ingredients, and keeping ingredients organized and properly stored.
- More than technical skills and requirements, a prep cook should be able to quickly learn on the job and be a team player.
When it comes to cooking, food preparation is usually the first and longest step in the process. It starts with making sure the work area is clean and sanitized and ends when all the ingredients are thoroughly washed, chopped, and ready for cooking.
This is done for every single dish served in a restaurant, and it’s common for even new restaurants to hire at least two to three different cooks to take care of these basic tasks.
A prep cook is an entry-level position. Although there is a lot of overlap with the role of a line cook, the latter typically requires more education and experience. A prep cook doesn’t need a lot of formal training. They are supervised by another cook or chef and learn on the job.
This makes writing a prep cook job description a bit tricky. What do you look for instead? What makes a good prep cook candidate?
Rather than a checklist of requirements, it’s all about finding someone who’s the right fit. Prep cooks are your main utility player. They don’t stay at a single station, but assist everyone in the kitchen — and it’s important to hire someone you can see as being part of the team.
Below, we share the best way to write a prep cook job description, as well as a basic example to get you started finding your ideal candidate.
How to Write an Effective Prep Cook Job Description
Writing an entry-level job posting may seem simple, but it’s actually one of the most important steps toward finding a new hire.
Sometimes, a job posting is the person’s first encounter with your company. If it comes off as confusing or vague, they might blow right past the post — despite being fully qualified for the position.
To attract the best prep cook candidates, make sure the job description is well-written and easy to understand. Use descriptions such as “assist the head chef in preparing food” or “set up workstations and ingredients.” Avoid jargon and technical terms as much as possible.
However, because most prep cook positions are fairly similar, what will set you apart are your company’s culture and values.
Today’s young candidates are looking for a job with purpose, as well as a paycheck. Share some insight into the “personality” of your company, its overall mission, and what it would be like to work there.
Perks and benefits, such as healthcare, paid time off, free meals, transportation allowance, and professional development opportunities are also important to most people. If you offer anything like the above, be sure to include it in your prep cook job description.
The Main Sections of a Prep Cook Job Description
A prep cook job description can be divided into a job title and five main sections. Each section should be either one or two short paragraphs, or a list of bullet points.
Prep cook job title
Most job titles tend toward the generic. To catch a candidate’s eye as they browse through the job board, it’s a good idea to write a job title that already has the most important information in it. Include the restaurant name, required shift time, and compensation, if possible. Although industry terms are advised, it’s best to avoid abbreviations, all caps, and going beyond 80 characters.
An example of an effective job title is “AM prep cook needed for Java and Juice — $15+/hr.”
Prep cook job summary
This is where you give the big picture view of the available job opportunity. In paragraph form, start with a few sentences that describe the position and its place in the company. Give a general overview of what the day-to-day will look like for a potential prep cook, including how many covers the restaurant handles a day and other important details.
This is a good time to also introduce the company, where it’s located, and what makes it stand out as a great place of work. Explain the prep cook’s role in relation to others in the kitchen and how the right candidate can contribute to the team.
Prep cook responsibilities
Follow your introduction with a bullet point list of responsibilities the successful candidate is expected to handle. For a prep cook position, the responsibilities are usually comprised of routine, often repetitive, tasks.
However, it’s still important to be thorough and concise in this section. Many candidates decide whether or not they can fulfill the position based on this section.
Include shift times so the prep cook knows the time of day they’ll be required to work, like 5 a.m. prep for brunch or shifts that end at midnight to prep for the following day’s breakfast. Also include if you need the candidate to work on holidays or potentially fill in at different branches.
Prep cook skills and requirements
As an entry-level position, the requirements of a prep cook are relatively minimal. Think about what the candidate should absolutely bring to the job, keeping in mind that it may be best for them to be trained specifically for your kitchen’s operations.
Common prep cook requirements include knowledge of basic cooking techniques (even if not in a professional setting), a high school diploma, or the ability to lift up to 50 pounds and perform physical work. You can also add some soft skills that might be needed on the job, such as good communication skills, team player, manual dexterity for example.
If you’re open to hiring new graduates or someone with no work experience, it’s important to emphasize the candidate’s ability to learn quickly rather than their technical experience. Another option is to separate any preferred skills in another bullet-point list. This includes skills such as culinary school training or previous relevant work experience, which aren’t necessary to the job but are found in the ideal candidate.
This is a vital part of a prep cook job description and can be a primary motivator for attracting the best candidates to your restaurant. The compensation section can include hourly compensation, your company’s paid holidays, benefits, perks, and the growth opportunities they will have by being a part of your team.
How to apply
Conclude your job listing with a call to action — how can the candidate apply for the position? This is typically through an online form or email application and requires the candidate to submit their resume.
To help screen job candidates and check if they follow instructions, a restaurant may include a question to be answered when applying for the position. For example, “To apply for this position, email your resume and one to two sentences explaining why you want to work in our restaurant.”
Often, a restaurant will also welcome walk-in interviews and include their address in this section.
Prep Cook Job Description Example
Using the above sections as a guide, the following is an example that can be easily customized into your own prep cook job description template:
Prep cook job summary
Our restaurant is looking for a detail-oriented Prep Cook who will be responsible for setting up kitchen workstations and performing basic cooking duties. As the all-around assistant for other cooks, the Prep Cook will monitor stock levels, prepare ingredients, and perform other related tasks in a fast-paced environment.
The position is for our restaurant in Greenwich Village, New York, and provides a great central work location and the opportunity to work with some of the most notable industry professionals.
Prep cook responsibilities
- Set up and sanitizing kitchen work stations and kitchen equipment
- Prepare ingredients to be used in entrees and sauces, including washing and chopping produce, slicing meat, measuring seasonings, and other food handling
- Place prepared cooking ingredients in the assigned work station according to recipes
- Label and stock all food items in their proper place and ensure they are easily accessible
- Perform prep list tasks, basic cooking duties, and assist in assembling simple dishes
- Assist with other kitchen duties, as needed
- Maintain a clean and organized kitchen, making sure all waste is removed and the surfaces are sanitized at the end of the day
- Comply with food sanitation guidelines and safety rules
Prep cook skills and requirements
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Basic cooking and chopping knowledge
- Works well individually and as part of a team
- Ability to follow instructions and complete tasks in a timely manner
- Ability to perform in a fast-paced work environment
- Able to work evenings and weekends
- Physically able to work long shifts, able to lift up to 25 pounds, and stand for long periods of time
- Previous food service or kitchen experience
- Experience using kitchen cutting tools
- Knowledge of food sanitation guidelines and safety rules
Our company is an equal opportunity employer. This is an entry-level position that offers competitive pay at $15 per hour. Benefits include company 12 paid holidays, generous vacation and sick leave, and staff meals. We also offer training opportunities and support for career advancement.
How to apply
Interested candidates, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hiring Your Next Prep Cook With Pared
Prep cooks are essential to making sure the kitchen is in working order and can accommodate an establishment’s hungry customers. Finding the right prep cook for the job, however, can be quite a challenge.
The first step is using the above guidelines to write an effective prep cook job description. This will help to clearly define the responsibilities and requirements for your ideal prep cook candidate.
Next, you can use Pared to make your search even easier. By bringing together trusted and vetted industry professionals, Pared is able to meet your staffing needs with less time and effort. Whether you need someone to fill in for tonight or two weeks from now, Pared can find you the ideal prep cook for your business in as little as two hours.