Cook: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

ProfGuide Updated 
 Cook: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

The art of cooking is as old as human civilization. What was once a basic survival necessity has evolved into an esteemed profession - the Cook. Cooking is a craft that blends creativity, precision, and culinary knowledge. As a Cook, you get to transform raw ingredients into delectable meals and offer people not just sustenance, but an experience. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.



Cooks can specialize in various cuisines or types of establishments. For instance, they might focus on French cuisine, vegan cooking, or specialize in pastries. Others work in specific settings such as hospitals, schools, fast food, casual dining, or fine dining. They may also become personal chefs, creating customized menus for individual clients.

Tasks and Responsibilities

A Cook's duties can be vast and varied, but here are a few core responsibilities:

  • Planning and developing menus
  • Preparing and cooking meals
  • Ensuring the quality and taste of food
  • Maintaining cleanliness and sanitation in the kitchen
  • Managing kitchen inventory

Pros and Cons

Like any profession, cooking has its rewards and challenges.


  • Creative expression: Every dish is a canvas for innovation and creativity.
  • Satisfaction: There's an immediate sense of fulfillment in serving a meal that someone enjoys.
  • Growth: The food industry is continually evolving, providing endless opportunities to learn and grow.


  • Stressful environment: Kitchens can be high-stress, fast-paced environments, especially during peak dining hours.
  • Physical demands: Long hours of standing and high-temperature environments can be physically exhausting.
  • Unpredictable hours: Cooks often work weekends, holidays, and late nights.


The demand for cooks remains consistent, considering everyone needs to eat, and dining out is a popular activity. According to job market data, the demand for Cooks in the USA, Canada, the UK, and Australia is expected to grow in the next decade due to the expanding food industry and evolving culinary trends.

Salary Ranges

Salaries for Cooks can vary greatly depending on the region, type of establishment, and the Cook's level of experience and specialization. Here are approximate ranges:

  • USA: $20,000 - $50,000 annually
  • Canada: CAD $25,000 - CAD $55,000 annually
  • UK: £17,000 - £35,000 annually
  • Australia: AUD $40,000 - AUD $70,000 annually

Where do Cooks work?

Cooks are integral to any establishment that serves food. This includes restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, care homes, and private residences (as personal chefs). They may also find employment at catering companies, corporate cafeterias, or aboard cruise ships.

Important Qualities of a Successful Cook

Here are some qualities that contribute to a Cook's success:

  • Passion for food and cooking
  • Creativity and attention to detail
  • Stamina and resilience under pressure
  • Good communication and teamwork skills
  • Organizational skills and ability to multitask

Step-by-Step Career Path

  1. Complete a high school diploma or equivalent.
  2. Gain kitchen experience, often starting in lower-level kitchen roles.
  3. Attend a culinary school or complete a formal training program (optional).
  4. Gain experience in different kitchen roles and cuisines.
  5. Seek certifications or further specialization (optional).
  6. Progress to higher-level roles such as Chef, Head Cook, or Executive Chef.

How to Become a Cook

In the USA, most cooks start their journey with a high school diploma. While higher education isn't necessary, many choose to attend culinary school or complete a training program. These can range from a few months to two years. Afterward, cooks typically start working in entry-level kitchen roles, gradually gaining experience and skills.

Where to Become a Cook

Here are five examples of institutions in each of the mentioned countries that offer culinary education:

United States:

  1. Culinary Institute of America
  2. Le Cordon Bleu 
  3. The Institute of Culinary Education
  4. Johnson & Wales University
  5. The Culinary Arts School of Ontario


  1. George Brown College
  2. Vancouver Community College
  3. Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute
  4. Niagara College
  5. SAIT Culinary Campus 

United Kingdom:

  1. Leiths School of Food and Wine
  2. Westminster Kingsway College 
  3. Ashburton Cookery School
  4. Le Cordon Bleu London
  5. Tante Marie Culinary Academy


  1. Le Cordon Bleu Australia
  2. William Blue College of Hospitality Management
  3. TAFE NSW 
  4. Box Hill Institute
  5. Leiths School of Food and Wine (Australia)

Can You Enter the Profession with a Different Degree?

Yes, you can enter the cooking profession with a different degree. Many successful cooks have backgrounds in business, arts, or even science. What's important is the passion for food, willingness to learn, and adaptability in the kitchen.

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