• Share

What is a Line Cook and How to Hire the Best Talent

Running a successful restaurant is not easy. Many different skills must be on the menu to work well, and line cooks are one. If you want your kitchen team to run smoothly, make sure they have the right experience level.

Here are what you need to know when it comes time to hire and what makes a good line cook.

  • What is a line cook?
  • What are the duties of a line cook?
  • Types of line cooks
  • What is the average salary of a line cook?
  • One of the most important things you should be looking for in a salesperson is skills. Skills are imperative to ensure that your team succeeds.
  • Interviewing a line cook


Are you ready for the future of dining?

Get our free guide to help you understand how your restaurant can prepare for short and long-term success.

What is a line cook?

Line cooks are in charge of the line station and need quickly to produce dishes that chefs have requested. Click To Tweet

What is a line cook in a restaurant? Cooks are a vital component to running an efficient kitchen, but there is no one definition for what they do.

What are a line cook’s duties?

Line cooks are the backbone of any kitchen. They prepare and cook food, clean up afterward, organize items on a plate—the list goes on. There is an organized hierarchy in many kitchens with line chefs in charge of specific areas such as entrees or sauces.

What does a line cook do? Line cook tasks can include: 

  • When a chef or sous-chef gives you instructions, do as they sI try to do are a few grocery-related ta do at least once per week.
  • Cutting up vegetables
  • Preparing sauces and soups
  • Cooking and seasoning dishes 
  • Baking bread or desserts
  • Creating recipes 
  • Plating 
  • Getting containers out on time 
  • Cleaning and organizing workstations

Line cook hierarchy 

If you are a line cook, the chances are that the position will change at some point in your career. This might be because of promotions or an adjustment to what is expected from their job description based on how long they have been with the company.

A sous chef or head cook may have one or more saucier sauce cooks, often the most senior line cooks, and work under them.

line cook

Types of line cooks

  • Fish chef or poissonnier
  • Fry chef or friturier 
  • Grill cook or grillardin 
  • Sauce chef or saucier
  • Pantry chef or garde manger
  • Pastry chef or patissier 
  • Roast chef or rotisseur 
  • Butcher chef or boucher
  • Baker or boulanger 
  • Confectioner or confiseur 
  • I’ve been a vegetarian for about ten years, and I love cooking vegetables.
  • The relief cook or chef de tournant is a highly specialized position that takes the place of chefs who are away from work for an extended period.

How much does a line cook make?

A line cook’s wage will depend on the type of restaurant, but it is usually about $13 an hour in America and Canada. This can be much higher depending on how experienced or specialized they are.

What skills should you look for in the hiring process?

Line cooks have a lot of varied skills, but they might not be trained in them from the beginning. Many restaurants prefer to train entry-level line cooks and show them how things are done their way.

Restaurants looking to hire an entry-level cook should look for someone who has both basic culinary skills and the right soft skills. This means that they are willing to learn, have a good fit with their co-workers, handle working in high-energy environments like kitchens (a fast-paced environment), and work well under pressure.

A lack of hospitality experience or schooling is not a deal-breaker for restaurants that are looking to hire someone just starting out.

What does a line cook do? The most critical skills for a line cook are:

  • Knows how to cook a few dishes
  • Cooks must have some level of knife skills, sauces, and ingredients (more senior roles will require more)
  • Has experience in the restaurant industry or has gone to culinary school
  • Great communication skills 
  • Creative 
  • Reliable
  • I am always on time and get the job done fast.
  • A good chef knows how to use the latest technology in the kitchen, like a computerized display system.
  • The organization and cleanliness of the food are something that I value.
  • They enjoy the work
  • Passionate about cooking 
  • I am excited to learn new skills and grow withconstantly changing companying.

Interviewing a line cook

Before you begin interviewing or drafting a job description, first consider what your restaurant needs. Do you need someone who is willing to learn and grow with the company? Or do you want someone more experienced that can jump in right away without training? Understanding these questions will make it easier for applicants and reduce time spent on searchingWhen hiring a cook, makeke sure to list years of experience and education requiremenok.

line cook

When interviewing, it is essential to ask questions about the following:

  • Prior work experience
  • Certifications that they have achieved
  • Positions they held 
  • Restaurants where they have worked.
  • One of the challenges they faced was their lack of sales skills. They overcame this by taking a class to learn what is necessary for them in order to be successful.

When hiring someone, make sure to contact their previous employers and see how they fared in a fast-paced environment. Make it clear what the job will entail for them so that you know if they are qualified or not.


Hiring the best talent for your kitchen 

When looking for a line cook, it is important to find someone that will fit in with your staff and work well. Above all else, make sure they are passionate about cooking; this person needs to be able to handle the pressure of working long hours and always show up when you need them.

It’s important to find a line cook who wants more than just one task. Click To Tweet

They need someone who will be able to take on any job that is thrown their way and really want them in the restaurant.

Now that you are ready to open your restaurant, it is time to think about the right tools for running a successful business.