Are you looking for a way to launch your career as a chef?
If so, working as a kitchen staff member is a good place to start. This role usually involves working in a busy kitchen and taking care of a range of basic tasks.
This job is perfect for entry-level candidates who want to gain work experience. However, food preparation is not for everyone, and you need to be ready to work hard.
To find out if this could be the perfect job for you, check out the following in-depth…
- Kitchen Staff Job Description
- Kitchen Staff Duties And Responsibilities
- Key Skills And Attributes
- Education And Training
- The Career Path
- The Working Environment
- Aspiring To Become A Professional Chef?
- Final Thoughts
Kitchen Staff Job Description
The job description should begin by describing the basic tasks you would be expected to perform. These usually focus on basic food preparation tasks and cleaning. You will also be given details of the setting the job will take place in, such as the size of the kitchen.
It will provide an overview of the skills and experience you need to have to apply. It will also include details of attributes the ideal candidate should have. This will help you to decide whether you are the right match for this role and want to apply.
Kitchen Staff Duties And Responsibilities
The exact tasks that you are charged with will depend on the size of the kitchen and other factors. However, there are certain duties that you are likely to have to complete regularly. Here are some of the main duties and responsibilities you are likely to be expected to complete.
Basic Food Prep
Certain foods need to be prepared in advance so that they can be cooked more quickly to order. This includes chopping fruit, vegetables, and meats and keeping them separate. You may also be charged with basic tasks like peeling potatoes and mixing tuna with mayonnaise for salads and sandwiches.
It is often the finishing touches that make a dish appetizing and provide extra satisfaction. You may be asked to garnish certain dishes or prepare them in other ways. It is important to follow instructions accurately so that each dish looks the same every time.
Stock Kitchen and Storeroom
You will need to help unload deliveries and make sure they are properly stored. This includes placing food in the kitchen, storeroom, and cold storage. You also need to bring supplies and food to the kitchen when they are needed.
It is essential to make sure the kitchen is clean and fully sanitized at all times. You need to clean each work surface before and after use and sweep and mop the floor after your shift. Other cleaning tasks include taking out the trash, washing dishes and flatware, and sanitizing cutting boards after each use.
Kitchen Setup and Breakdown
If you are the first person to arrive for a shift, you will set up the kitchen for use. Alternatively, you may need to break down the kitchen at the end of the shift. It is important to understand exactly how to do this and complete each task in the right order.
Some other duties and responsibilities may include:
- Help monitor inventory.
- Explain kitchen needs to supervisors.
- Package customers’ leftover food to take away.
- Report damaged or faulty equipment to the kitchen manager.
Key Skills And Attributes
There are a few hard skills that are needed to do this job. However, you need to have a wide range of soft skills to perform your tasks well. Here are some of the main skills and attributes that successful kitchen staff should have.
It is essential to show up on time for your shifts and stay until the very end. The cooks, managers, and other employees need to know that you will be there when they need you. You also need to perform each task to the best of your ability and ensure consistent quality.
You usually need to remain standing throughout your shift and be ready to work hard. Be ready to unload heavy deliveries and carry items from the stockroom to the kitchen. You should be able to carry around fifty pounds and be able to climb up and down ladders.
You are likely to have to interact with customers from time to time. It is essential to be polite and friendly when interacting with customers. When they have special requests, you must be willing to go the extra mile to fulfill them.
Ability with kitchen equipment
You need to be able to use a wide range of different types of kitchen equipment efficiently and safely. This can include dangerous equipment like high-temperature dishwashers, pizza ovens, and deli slicers.
It is important to be able to work well with the other people in the kitchen and front of house. This includes being ready and willing to assist other employees with their daily duties. The focus should be on making sure tasks get done quickly and to a high standard, regardless of who does them.
Other important skills and attributes include:
- An ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
- Excellent organizational, multitasking, and time management abilities.
- Deep knowledge of food safety procedures.
Education And Training
This is usually an entry-level role that does not require any formal education. However, some employers prefer kitchen staff to hold a high school diploma or the equivalent.
New employees are usually provided with full paid training when they start work. Depending on the state you work in, you will probably need to study for and earn a food handler’s license.
The Career Path
If you excel as kitchen staff, you can work your way up to shift leader. This involves most of the same duties as well as training new kitchen staff. You will receive a slightly higher salary for this role.
From here, you can decide if you are interested in management or want to continue in the kitchen. It is possible to work your way up to head chef if you want. Alternatively, you could follow the management path until you become a general manager.
The Working Environment
Kitchen staff usually work in the kitchens of restaurants, hotels, bars, or catering companies. The kitchen is a fast-paced environment, and you need to be able to work well under pressure. It is important to be able to multitask and work well with other kitchen and restaurant employees.
You can choose either part-time or full-time hours when you take on this role. Work a range of shift patterns, which include evenings and weekends. And work quickly and accurately, especially during busy periods.
Aspiring To Become A Professional Chef?
Well, let’s take a look at the various chef positions and what they entail, such as my Chef Job Description, and Chef Interview Questions, my Sous Chef Job Description, and Executive Chef Job Description for you to decide which one suits you best.
Next are a variety of restaurant applications I’ve put together for you from my Chilis Application and Chilis Interview Questions, Zaxbys Application and Zaxbys Interview Questions, my Arbys Application and Arbys Interview Questions, or my Jack In The Box Application and Jack In The Box Interview Questions, my Panera Bread Application and Panera Bread Interview Questions and finally my Jimmy Johns Application and Jimmy Johns Interview Questions in 2023.
If your passion is cooking Italian cuisine, then our Round Table Pizza Application, Blaze Pizza Application, Cicis Pizza Application, as well as our Marcos Pizza Application is definitely worth a read.
Or maybe you’re already working in a Pizzeria and are looking for new ideas for your menu. For that, we recommend these delicious cookbooks such as the Mastering Pizza: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pizza, or The Pizza Cookbook, and of course The Essential Wood Fired Pizza Cookbook, The Elements of Pizza, or even the Modernist Pizza for a twist on the classics, as well as The Pizza Bible: The World’s Favorite Pizza Styles, Pizza Camp: Recipes from Pizzeria Beddia, and lastly Let’s Make Pizza! all available online today.
The starting salary for a kitchen staff role is typically minimum wage for entry-level candidates. When you have gained at least a year of work experience, you can expect to earn around $9 per hour. If you land a job in an upmarket restaurant, you could earn as much as $15 per hour.
While the starting salary is rather low, this role offers a lot of scope for growth. With commitment and dedication, you could easily advance to a managerial role.
There is a wide range of kitchen staff roles to choose from, and these employees are always in demand.
All the very best with your Kitchen Staff Job!