What Skills Do You Need to Become a Prep Cook?


The responsibilities of a prep cook primarily involve the preparation of food components for later use and the proper storage and labeling of those items. Additional duties vary depending on the requirements of the chef, but these commonly include the storing of inventory upon delivery, trash removal and general kitchen cleaning. Most restaurants offer on-the-job training to an inexperienced applicant who shows a willingness to learn.


  • A prep cook must be organized in the kitchen. He should maintain a neat work area and have every item required for a recipe or task arranged in a logical manner. This improves efficiency, saves time and improves the quality of the final product.

Take Direction

  • Prep cooks must follow instructions in strict accordance with the requirements of the chef and execute the directions of a standardized recipe to exact specifications. This ensures consistency in each item the kitchen produces and contributes to overall food quality. They should show receptiveness to feedback and view criticism as a means of improvement.

Knife Skills

  • Imperative to the aesthetics of a prepared food item, a prep cook must possess good knife technique. Without sacrificing safety, she must consistently and quickly produce knife cuts to the exact dimensions outlined in a recipe to ensure all the items cook evenly. Only through repetition, practice and discipline can a prep cook become proficient.

Understanding Weights and Measures

  • To follow a standardized recipe, the prep cook must have a basic knowledge of cooking measurements. Exact measurements are crucial in the preparation of each recipe, and professional kitchens supply the appropriate tools necessary to weigh and measure ingredients.

Time Management

  • The success of each item served from a professional kitchen relies on the preparatory work that preceded it. To work effectively, a prep cook must economize his time in the kitchen and manage it efficiently. The job requires that a prescribed amount of work be completed by a certain time for other kitchen employees to prepare their cooking stations. The prep cook must complete a prioritized list of items needed for the upcoming meal service.

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  • Photo Credit Food Ingredients image by Antonio Oquias from Fotolia.com
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