- On average, line cooks make around $14 per hour
- Work hours will include late nights, early mornings, holidays and weekends
- Having an associate's degree may give you the edge in your job search
What do line cooks do?
Liking to cook dinner for your friends and loved ones might be a good starting point, but it won't be enough if you want to make it as a line cook. Cooking the same dishes for strangers for a lengthy shift requires more than just a general "like" of the kitchen, you've got to love it.
For someone looking to get into the restaurant business, especially the "back of the house," a line cook job is a great stepping stone. Line cooks are usually responsible for prepping ingredients and assembling dishes according to restaurant recipes and specifications.
Kitchens can be hot, noisy and stressful places, so you'll need to be able to work efficiently and quickly to be successful as a line cook. It can be a dangerous job, with minor cuts, bruises and burns being a part of the daily (or nightly) routine.
How much do line cooks make?
The average salary for all line cooks is about $14 per hour. Experienced line cooks at high-end restaurants can earn up to $18.25 per hour. The awesome benefit of free meals is not included in your hourly wage. Many line cooks can eat for free during their shifts.
Education requirements to be a line cook?
More and more line cooks and chefs are required to have two and four year degrees. These culinary programs provide basic training on cooking techniques, health and safety procedures, and other various aspects of restaurant management. Most community colleges offer technical classes in culinary arts, with the potential for job placement after completion.
Career paths for line cooks
Career paths for line cooks are often determined by the size and type of restaurant. Some potential promotions in the kitchen include line supervisor, sous-chef, chef and executive chef. Many chefs decide to open their own restaurants or catering businesses. Many advancement opportunities involve moving to bigger or busier restaurants, which may require moving to larger cities.
The future of line cooks
The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects a slower than average increase in line cook positions over the 2008-2018 decade. This slow growth will result in fierce competition for available positions, making education and experience important for success.
See all job descriptions