line cook Career Center
What is a Line Cook?
Posted by: Ira Sider, July 07, 2012
In the kitchen of a restaurant, there is a lot going on. Orders from customers come in rapidly, and without an organized system to properly prepare and deliver fresh food each time, the restaurant will suffer. Because of this need for an organized system, a variety of cooks are put in place to create a streamlined approach. While the head chef supervises the quality of the food and checks everything prior to it being served, the line cooks are the ones who focus on the actual preparation.
Some people wonder what is a line cook, exactly. This role is one of the most crucial to the kitchen’s success, because these cooks are the ones who prepare and supervise the making of the food.
Here are three of the common roles played by these valuable cooks.
Prepare adequate amounts of food – Preparation is one of the most vital parts of guaranteeing a smooth night in the kitchen. If resources run low, or if food is not defrosted, chopped or otherwise prepared to be cooked, the process can get backed up very quickly, leading to disgruntled employees, managers and customers. In this position, it is important that estimates are on target so that everything is in place prior to the restaurant doors opening.
Communicate effectively with team members – A line cook can either work in his or her own specific area or manage a small group of other chefs on that one particular item. To smooth out the process of getting food put together in a way that both tastes and looks appealing, effective communication is important. The kitchen may get extremely hectic with demands for orders coming in quickly, but the person in charge must be able to keep his or her emotions in control and maintain a solid mental capacity to process all of the demands and create a streamlined approach so that food is out on the table quickly.
Address customer complaints – At times, customers may send food back for various reasons. They may feel the food was not prepared to their standards of taste, the dish was not what they had expected or the food had become cold during the wait time. In these situations, it is vital that the supervisor of the crew that created the dish addresses where the pitfall happened or what went wrong, and correct it immediately so that there are no other customer complaints. It may be necessary for the supervising chef to step in and pick up the slack where newer cooks may not be able to during busy periods.
By putting cooks on a particular area that they specialize in – for example, appetizers or hot dishes – the kitchen is able to function at higher level because the food is produced by the same person each time, making it less likely to suffer mistakes in recipes or presentation.