A job as a pantry cook can be a gateway to a long culinary career. The entry-level position can be a springboard to kitchen leadership opportunities or roles in other culinary specialties.
Under the supervision of a sous chef or executive sous chef, pantry cooks typically prepare salads, sandwiches, desserts and other cold food items. They may also make sauces and other items. They must accurately follow a restaurant's recipes; keep a detailed inventory of meat, poultry and other foods; and ensure that the work area is clean and sanitary.
Education and Training
Because the role of a pantry cook is an entry-level position, far less training is necessary than for other kitchen positions. A high school diploma or GED and on-the-job training is typically adequate, although those aspiring to higher positions may attend culinary or vocational schools. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, programs for cooks of most specialties last from a few months to two years.
Salary of a Pantry Cook
A pantry cook's salary varies by region and type of restaurant. Like most other cooks, a pantry cook typically works full-time hours. According to Career Builder, the national median pay for pantry cooks was $33,349 a year, as of 2014. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary information for pantry cooks, it does state that the 2012 overall median pay for all cooks was $9.88 per hour, or slightly more than $20,000 a year.
Pantry cooks spend many hours standing in a cold kitchen that is frequently bustling with activity. The environment, which may include slippery floors and crowded spaces, contributes to a higher rate of injury compared with workers in other industries, according to the BLS.
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