Prep Cook Job Description (Duties, Salary And Template)

Prep Cook Job Description (Duties, Salary And Template)

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If you're a restaurant owner or manager looking to hire, understanding the prep cook job description is crucial. In this blog, we'll explore what prep cooks do, the skills they need, their typical salary, and much more. You can also find a handy job description template that you can use when looking to fill this position in your kitchen team.

What is a Prep Cook?

A prep cook is an entry-level position in the culinary industry. They are primarily responsible for preparing ingredients that make up the restaurant dishes. 

These kitchen staff members ensure that food items are ready for the chefs and line cooks to assemble meals. Prep cooks play a crucial part in helping the kitchen operations run smoothly and efficiently. They wash, chop, peel, and cut ingredients, and may also help with marinating meats, measuring spices, and organizing food storage. 

This cook position is often seen as a stepping stone to more advanced roles in the kitchen, providing valuable experience of working in a restaurant.

prep cook slicing an onion

Prep Cook Job Description

Prep cooks are essential to the kitchen running smoothly. This position involves a lot of important tasks that ensure the line cooks have what they need. Next, we'll dive into the specific responsibilities that prep cooks handle every day. This will give you a clear picture of what a prep cook job description should entail and how the role supports the rest of the team.

Prep Cook Responsibilities

The primary responsibility of a prep cook includes preparing and assembling ingredients for dishes. Key responsibilities include the following.

  • Washing, peeling, chopping, and slicing fruits and vegetables.
  • Measuring and mixing ingredients in accordance with the chef's instructions.
  • Marinating meats and preparing seafood.
  • Organizing and maintaining cleanliness in food storage areas.
  • Ensuring all food items are stored properly to maintain freshness and comply with regulations.
  • Assisting in inventory management and restocking kitchen supplies.
  • Maintaining kitchen equipment and reporting any malfunctions.

Prep Cook Required Skills

These skills help keep the kitchen running smoothly and set up new cooks for moving up in the culinary world. Skills a prep cook should have may include the following.

  • Knife skills: Proficiency in cutting, chopping, and slicing, which are fundamental to kitchen efficiency and food presentation.
  • Attention to detail: Ability to follow recipes and preparation details accurately, ensuring consistency in food quality.
  • Time management: Efficiently managing prep time to align with cooking schedules and service times.
  • Communication skills: Effective communication with other kitchen staff to ensure seamless preparation and cooking processes.
  • Physical stamina: Capability to stand for long periods and handle the physical demands of a busy kitchen.
  • Adaptability: Willingness to learn new techniques and adapt to changing menus and kitchen environments.
prep cook slicing carrot in kitchen

Below you’ll find a template for a job description for a prep cook to get you started, feel free to customize it to the role your restaurant is hiring for.

Prep Cook Job Description Template

Job Title: Prep Cook

Reports To: Head Chef / Kitchen Manager

Job Overview: As a prep cook at [Restaurant Name], you will be an integral part of the kitchen team, responsible for preparing ingredients that will be used in cooking our menu items. Your role is crucial in ensuring that every dish served meets our high standards of quality, contributing significantly to the efficient operation of our kitchen and the satisfaction of our guests.

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Wash, peel, chop, slice, and grate fruits and vegetables.
  • Measure and assemble ingredients for menu items.
  • Prepare simple dishes such as salads, entrees, and sauces.
  • Ensure all food and other items are stored properly.
  • Comply with nutrition and sanitation guidelines.
  • Perform preliminary cooking duties, such as reducing sauces and parboiling food.
  • Maintain a clean and orderly kitchen by washing dishes, sanitizing surfaces, and taking out trash.
  • Assist with stock and inventory management.
  • Ensure that food comes out simultaneously, in high quality, and in a timely fashion.
  • Collaborate with the rest of the kitchen staff.


  • Proven experience as a prep cook or in a similar role preferred, but not required.
  • Familiarity with kitchen equipment and utensils.
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to follow instructions.
  • Good physical stamina.
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work unsupervised in a busy environment.
  • Professional demeanor with a customer-focused orientation.


  • [specify schedule]
  • Flexibility to work early mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays is required.


  • Salary: $/hour [specify range if applicable]
  • Tip Income: [if applicable]
  • Benefits: [if applicable, include things like health insurance, employee discounts, etc.]

Prep Cook Salary

On average, a prep cook in the USA earns approximately $31,200 per year, which equates to about $15 per hour. But keep in mind the salary for a prep cook can vary based on location, experience, and the type of establishment they work in. 

Do Prep Cooks Make Tips?

Whether prep cooks receive tips depends greatly on the restaurant's tipping policy and the structure of the restaurant staff. In many restaurants, tips are primarily earned by the front-of-house staff, such as waiters and bartenders. However, some establishments have a tip-sharing policy that includes kitchen staff, including cooks. This means that in some cases, prep cooks can earn additional income from tips, which is typically pooled and distributed among the team based on hours worked or a predetermined sharing formula.

prep cook slicing a cucumber

Prep Cook FAQs

Do Prep Cooks Wash Dishes?

Yes, prep cooks often wash dishes as part of their duties. In addition to preparing ingredients, they are responsible for maintaining a clean kitchen environment, which includes washing utensils, pots, and pans used in food preparation.

Is a Prep Cook the Same as a Cook?

No, a prep cook is not the same as a cook. Prep cooks primarily prepare ingredients, getting them ready for cooking. Cooks, or line cooks, on the other hand, are responsible for cooking and assembling dishes according to the restaurant’s menu.

What Experience Do You Need to be a Prep Cook?

No formal experience is required to become a prep cook, making it an entry-level position. However, familiarity with kitchen equipment and basic cooking techniques can be beneficial. Many prep cooks gain experience on the job.

What Does a Prep Cook Do?

A prep cook prepares ingredients for dishes before they are cooked. Their tasks include washing, peeling, cutting, and portioning food items like fruits, vegetables, and meats. They ensure ingredients are ready for cooks to use in meal preparation.

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