Kitchen Assistant Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a kitchen assistant. Feel free to use our kitchen assistant job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a kitchen assistant.
Who is a Kitchen Assistant?
A Kitchen is a place where culinary activities are done. A Kitchen assistant is someone who aids kitchen supervisors and cooks to perform all the cleaning, washing of kitchen equipment, preparation of food, and all other activities in the kitchen. They help the cooks to ensure smooth operation in the kitchen. The majority of the duty of a kitchen assistant is a supplementary role.
The main responsibility of a kitchen assistant is preparing food as directed by the head chef, preparing ingredients, cleaning vegetables, preparing simple dishes, and observing the correct cooking temperature. Kitchen assistants make use of cooking equipment, utensils, and machinery such as saucepans, pans, chopping boards, and meat slicers). They also ensure that these kitchen utensils are kept clean and tidy in the kitchen environment. Kitchen assistants are sometimes responsible for restocking the storeroom and cold room by the chef’s instruction to bring ingredients into the kitchen for ensuring that food is well packaged and arranged by food hygiene and safety regulations. When an emergency occurs in the kitchen, kitchen assistants must take the burden of standing for their superior without the quality being affected.
In larger restaurants with so many chefs, the role of a kitchen assistant may correlate with that of an apprentice chef. If a kitchen assistant finds himself /herself in such a scenario, the kitchen assistant follows the instructions of a station chef or line chef who specializes in a particular type of dish e.g. meat, fish, and pastries. In smaller restaurants, the kitchen assistants may perform the role of a kitchen porter. A typical example is that the kitchen assistant will not just help the chef in the kitchen but may be required to wash dishes, carry out kitchen portering duties, or help in serving guests in the reception area or the dining room.
Kitchen assistants can work in temperate areas up to 90 degrees, and they spend most of their time in storage freezers. Kitchen assistants are mandated to follow hygiene standards by their employer and they are often required to wash their hands regularly and wear hats or hairnets. This creates a conducive work environment for both staff and customers. The kitchen assistant along with the cook, and kitchen supervisor adhere to safety rules and regulations outlined by the particular restaurant or parent company.
The kitchen assistant usually works under stressful conditions. All staff, including assistants, keep on standing till the duration of their shift expires. The kitchen chef tends to be very hot, noisy, and crowded; it is a very busy place with a lot of activities ongoing. They usually lift heavy objects throughout their shift. The shift runs regularly during the day and sometimes at the night; including on weekends and holidays. Working hours are usually traditional lunch and dinner times, although increasingly, there is a tendency, specifically in some countries of the world for restaurants to be opened throughout the day. They usually work for 40 hours per week and more as the need arises.
The cleaning of the restaurant or kitchen usually takes place early in the morning before customers arrive and it is the responsibility of a kitchen assistant to come early to work and start cleaning before customers arrive. As a result, the job of a kitchen assistant is a tedious one- involving standing for long hours, and exposure to heat from ovens and stoves which requires good physical fitness and stamina.
Kitchen Assistant Job Description
Below are the kitchen assistant job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a kitchen assistant job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a kitchen assistant include the following:
- Properly cleaning and sanitizing food preparation areas according to the established standards of hygiene
- Washing appropriately and storing all cooking appliances, instruments, utensils, cutting boards, and dishes
- Assisting the cook with the preparation of meal ingredients which includes washing, cleaning peeling, cutting, chopping fruit, vegetables, poultry, and meat
- Sweeping and mopping the kitchen floors as well as wiping down kitchen walls
- Preparing small dishes such as appetizers or arranging plate decoration
- Transferring appropriate ingredients from storage to workstations safely and efficiently
- Managing storerooms and cold rooms
- Assisting with the uploading of delivered food supplies
- Stirring and heating soups and sauces as well as preparing hot beverages
- Maintaining the accuracy of assigned tasks or tasking customers order
- Taking orders from the chef or line chef
- Serving guests at the dining or dinner table
- Taking responsibility when the chief chef is not around
- Showing the customers the menu of the organization
- Serving as a link between customers and the organization
- Disposing of rubbish
- Organizing linen laundry
- High school diploma or GED
- Past proven experience as a kitchen assistant
- A food handler’s license
- Knowledge of professional cooking techniques and methods
- Familiarity with kitchen equipment e.g. stovetops, meat slicers
- Ability to bone meat, wash, peel, cut vegetables, and prepare a wide range of ingredient
- Knowledge of hygiene and safety standards regarding food and storage
- Ability to Multi-task
- The ability to stand for extended periods
- The ability to work in a team
- Excellent organizational and time management skills
- Effective communication skills
- The ability to work in a noisy and crowded environment
Kitchen assistants must possess the following skills and competencies that a kitchen assistant must have to become successful and they are:
- Communication: Kitchen assistants often work in a crowded and noisy environment and hence the need to communicate effectively is highly paramount. They need to be able to speak and listen effectively when given an order by the chief chef. They should also be able to listen effectively to customers whenever a customer gives a preference for the food he wants to eat. A kitchen assistant does not work alone and so there is a great need for him or her to be able to communicate effectively to avoid any health hazards such as hot food or food equipment.
- Multi-tasking Skills: Kitchen assistants should be able to multi-task because the role demands performing different duties. For instance, while they are washing plates they might be called upon to serve guests at the dining table. A good kitchen assistant should be ready at any time to take up different responsibilities as the need arises.
- Teamwork: a kitchen assistant does not in isolation; he or she works with cooks, kitchen supervisors, chefs, and other kitchen assistants is very paramount for a kitchen assistant to adapt to working with other people and contributing his or her quota for the success of the organization.
- Time management: kitchen assistants regularly prepare meals and perform other duties alone. Customers can order quickly what they want to eat and it is the responsibility of the kitchen assistant to make sure that customers are served quickly. Other parts of the cooking process cannot begin until the food preparation process is complete.
Kitchen assistants must be good time managers; they should be able to prepare and serve a delicious meal in a short duration of time.
- Customer service: kitchen assistants sometimes serve guests who come to the restaurant. They must develop a friendly attitude towards these guests and politely serve them. They should discharge their duties always with a smile so that customers can keep patronizing the restaurant. A harsh kitchen assistant will scare many customers away.
In addition, they must dress professionally all the time; most restaurants have uniforms they give to kitchen assistants. They must also be professional in their attitude to customers.
- Food safety: there are rules and regulations that kitchen assistants are supposed to adhere to enhance food safety. There are proper methods kitchen assistants must put in place to conduct themselves in a workplace. For example, storing perishable foods such as vegetables and fresh fish can present a health hazard to customers. Certain cooking equipment also requires a degree of training and skill for use. Good training in such equipment prevents potential safety hazards such as skin cuts.
A kitchen assistant must also know how to maintain kitchen utensils, decorating and garnishing techniques, and storage standards for raw ingredients and foods that are perishable. It is also highly relevant for kitchen assistants to have basic knowledge of table service.
How to Become a Kitchen Assistant
An individual considering becoming a kitchen assistant should follow the following steps:
- Acquire a High school diploma or GED
The role of a kitchen assistant requires a minimum of a high school diploma to qualify. During acquiring your high school degree; you will learn basic skills such as communication, writing, and creative mathematical skills that will help you while discharging your role as a kitchen assistant. You will also need to know solid and liquid measurement conversions.
In addition, you can proceed and acquire a degree in Home Economics or Food & Nutrition to make you a more qualified kitchen assistant.
- Acquire a Degree in Culinary Art
Although this is not mandatory for the position of a kitchen assistant it is highly beneficial. The degree in culinary arts usually takes four years to complete and you will get to harness the practical skills of a culinary professional. You will get first-hand experience working in a kitchen environment, learning basic techniques of kitchen etiquette, safety standards, and cooking principles. Earning a degree can also pave a greater career path for you like a kitchen assistant.
There is no specific certification for kitchen assistants but some employers may prefer kitchen assistants that are certified. A kitchen assistant can acquire certification in ServSafe or become ServSafe certified. ServSafe is a food and beverage training program championed by the U.S National Restaurant Association. Some equivalent certifications are available in other countries. To earn a ServSafe Food Handler certification, applicants must complete and pass an exam.
- Enroll for Training
Experience within the kitchen is highly relevant to the role of a kitchen assistant. The culinary art school usually offers training or internships to eligible students. Enrolling in an internship will make your resume highly competitive.
During your high school or degree, you can enroll in an internship in a restaurant or café. It can be stationed in the kitchen or front of your house, you will get to harness valuable skills in food serviced services. Formal education does not rely on equating what will be acquired when you enroll in job training.
- Apply for the Position
Apply for a kitchen assistant role in your area. You can visit online sites to find jobs for kitchen assistants, you may be surprised how many you may find. Some locally-owned restaurants often prefer applicants to apply formally or as walk-ins. Draft a resume and highlight your educational qualification, culinary field skills, and experience.
In addition, you can build your portfolio by taking pictures of the food you prepared and posting in on social media, employers of various restaurants can contact you when they see your excellent cooking, decoration, and garnishing skills.
An excellent resume will impress a potential employer and present the fact that you are the best candidate for the job.
- Keep being Updated about the trend in your career
As a kitchen assistant, you must familiarize yourself with new trends in the cooking industry to remain relevant. Get to learn about new food preparation techniques, new decoration ideas, and new kitchen equipment. The food industry is very versatile and progressive, ensuring you are not left out. Experience and constant practice are the desire to improve the key ingredients that will help kitchen assistants or commis chefs progress through the ranks of the kitchen brigade.
Where Can a Kitchen Assistant work?
Kitchen assistant vacancies are found in hospitality, catering and tourism, and hotel sectors.
Kitchen assistants usually work in catering and hospitality establishments of different sizes including restaurants, cafes, pizzerias, fast food outlets hotels, and canteens. These restaurants can be found in companies, banks, hospitals, and schools.
Kitchen Assistant Salary
- The average salary for a kitchen assistant annually is $24147 and $14.77 per hour. This salary varies based on the experience, location, and skills of the kitchen assistant.
- In Nigeria, the salary of a kitchen assistant is 234,000NGn per month. Salaries from 88,800NGN to 653,000NGN. A Culinary Assistant earns 99,300NGN while a Culinary Associate earns 99,300NGN.