Kitchen Assistant - Food Prep

Read about the job duties of kitchen assistants, and find out what training you'd need to become one. Explore diploma and certificate programs in this field. Get additional career info for kitchen assistants, including their salary potential.

Is Kitchen Assisting and Food Prep for Me?

Career Description

Kitchen assistants in the field of food preparation work alongside chefs, line cooks and other kitchen employees in restaurants and institutional kitchen settings. They are responsible for performing preparatory food tasks, such as slicing produce, cutting meat into portions and seasoning sauces.

Required Skills

To work as a kitchen assistant and food preparation worker, you should be able to stand for long periods and work irregular hours. You can expect to work around hot temperatures and in confined areas. In order to succeed, you'll need to work well under pressure and have good communication skills.

Career Options

Restaurant jobs are commonly available, but you can also find employment in a kitchen at an educational institution or medical facility. Job opportunities might also exist within supermarkets, grocery outlets or other stores that sell quick and easy foods. Some example job titles are deli worker, school food service worker and institutional food worker.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of food preparation workers was expected to increase four percent from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2013, individuals in this field earned a median annual salary of $19,440.

How Do I Work in Kitchen Assisting or Food Prep?

Education and Training

Kitchen assistants mainly learn their trade via on-the-job training, though a formal education can help you learn additional kitchen skills and improve your job prospects. Culinary assistant and kitchen assistant programs are available, and they are typically offered by junior colleges at the diploma and undergraduate certificate levels.

Your coursework will likely cover areas like sanitation techniques, safety regulations, food handling and food preparation. Through food preparation classes, you'll learn how to prepare appetizers, trimmings, side dishes and food presentations. Your studies may also cover recipe calculations and analyzing recipes.

As a graduate of a kitchen assistant or culinary assistant program, you'll have knowledge of proper hygiene and cleanliness, and you'll be ready to prepare food according to public health guidelines and industry regulations. The well-rounded skills you've obtained in operating food preparation equipment, managing large orders, making meals presentable and serving customers with hospitality will increase your changes of finding employment.

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