Kitchen helpers and food preparation workers are responsible for helping a chef prepare dishes for diners. The term kitchen helper can apply to a sous chef, an assistant chef, a dishwasher or a line cook. Sous chefs and assistant chefs work with ingredients that the chef picks and does the prep work before service starts. Line chefs spend time working on the line and preparing certain types of dishes. In a larger restaurant, chefs might work a specific station for soup, appetizer or dessert. Other kitchen helpers work behind the scenes, cleaning up the kitchen and finding ingredients when needed. Peeling and chopping ingredients, cutting meats and preparing drinks are other responsibilities of a kitchen helper. Kitchen helpers gain experience that can assist them in finding positions as chefs, restaurant managers and banquet servers.
Kitchen Helper Education Requirements
Many restaurant jobs do not require specialized training or education. Though some kitchen helper jobs require a culinary background from working in other restaurants or attending a culinary institute, other positions offer job training. More than 80 percent of all food preparation workers do not have a college degree, and those who do possess a college degree work in more advanced positions in the kitchen. Kitchen helpers need to know how to use different kitchen tools, including commercial food choppers, scales and slicing machines, and they need to understand basic kitchen techniques. Many positions require working in a hot kitchen for long hours, and workers spend a lot of time on their feet.
Kitchen Helper Job Market
Statistics show that the kitchen helper positions will grow by 4 percent from 2012 to 2022. Though these positions will grow at a lower than average rate, the figure still shows that the field will add 28,900 jobs in that 10 year span. The growing popularity of television chefs and cooking shows will likely lead more people to express an interest in cooking jobs, including positions as kitchen helpers and chefs.
Kitchen Helper Salary
Kitchen helpers make an average salary of $7 to $11 an hour with a median hourly wage of $9.28. The median annual wage reported by food preparation workers is $19,300 a year.