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A cook is a fully qualified tradesperson who is able to: prepare, cook and present a wide variety of foods efficiently and according to industry standards; be thoroughly familiar with safety requirements, safe work practices and health regulations pertaining to food preparation and service.

Cooks generally are employed in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, clubs, central food commissaries, correctional institutions, catering establishments and educational institutions. Cooks can also be found working in the transportation industry aboard ships, trains or airplanes and at construction and logging campsites. Each working environment offers the opportunity to use many of the skills outlined in this analysis. It should be noted that due to the specialization of menus and the rising cost of food, it may not always be possible for cooks to fully utilize their skills in one food service establishment. Individuals wishing to enhance their proficiencies in particular skills may need to be exposed to several food service operations. Some of the tasks identified in this analysis overlap with the trades of baker and meat cutter. A certified cook should be proficient in the skills that are common to the occupations of baker and cook as well as those that are common to the occupations of meat cutter and cook. Depending upon the size of the food service operation, a certified cook may be requested to perform all of the tasks identified in this analysis. A certified cook, proficient in multiple tasks, may have greater job opportunities and be able to adjust more rapidly to future needs.

This analysis identifies all the tasks performed by cooks. It can be used as a basis for the development of training profile charts for vocational schools and apprenticeship training programs. The body of the analysis is limited by its terms of reference to a description of the "work performed" in the cooking occupation. It omits identification of other factors, such as aptitudes and capacities, interest and temperaments, and the conditions under which the worker performs his/her duties.
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