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How to Become a Line Cook (Line Cook Training Program)


The journey to becoming a line cook is both exciting and challenging. For many, the allure of the culinary world, combined with the passion for creating delicious dishes, drives this ambition. But how do you navigate the path to becoming a successful line cook?

Based on our decade-long experience in the restaurant industry, we’ve crafted a comprehensive training program. Let’s dive into how to become a line cook.

Step 1: Explore Line Cook Education Requirements

While many line cooks learn on the job, formal education can provide an edge. Most employers prioritize:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent as a basic requirement.
  • Vocational or culinary school degrees can be beneficial.
  • Apprenticeships or on-the-job training, often preferred by local diners or smaller establishments.

How long does it take to become a Line Cook?

Generally, with on-the-job training, one can become proficient in about a year, but formal education might extend this period.

Do I need the experience to become a Line Cook?

While experience can be beneficial, many establishments offer “cook training” for those passionate about “being a line cook” but lack prior experience.

Step 2: Start To Develop Line Cook Skills (Line Cook Requirements)

Mastering the art of cooking requires specific skills.

Line Cook Skills & Requirements

  • Knife Skills: Efficient and safe chopping, dicing, and mincing.
  • Cooking Techniques: Grilling, sautéing, and roasting, among others.
  • Food Safety Knowledge: Understanding of hygiene and food storage.
  • Physical Stamina: Ability to stand for extended periods.
  • Team Collaboration: Working harmoniously with other kitchen staff.
  • Time Management: Ensuring timely dish preparation.
  • Stress Management: Handling kitchen pressures, especially during peak hours.

Line Cook Duties And Responsibilities

  • Food Preparation: Preparing ingredients for the main chef.
  • Cooking: Following recipes and chef’s instructions.
  • Cleanliness: Maintaining a hygienic workstation.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Ensuring kitchen tools are in working condition.
  • Inventory Management: Keeping track of stock and supplies.
  • Presentation: Plating dishes in an appealing manner.
  • Collaboration: Working alongside other kitchen staff to ensure seamless service.

Step 3: Complete Relevant Line Cook Training

Types of Training:

  • Culinary Schools: Comprehensive courses covering multiple cuisines.
  • Workshops: Short-term intensive training sessions focusing on specific skills.
  • On-the-job Training: Learning directly within a restaurant setting.

Line Cook Training Template

To enhance the “line cook experience,” a structured training agenda can be invaluable. Here’s a suggested five-day training:

Day 1: Introduction to the Kitchen

  • Lesson 1: Kitchen layout and equipment overview.
  • Lesson 2: Safety protocols and emergency procedures.

Day 2: Basic Skills Development

  • Lesson 1: Knife skills and cutting techniques.
  • Lesson 2: Introduction to primary cooking techniques.

Day 3: Advanced Techniques

  • Lesson 1: Sauces, gravies, and dressings.
  • Lesson 2: Advanced grilling and roasting.

Day 4: Team Collaboration & Workflow

  • Lesson 1: Effective communication in the kitchen.
  • Lesson 2: Role of a line cook in the kitchen hierarchy.

Day 5: Mock Service & Review

  • Lesson 1: Preparing dishes in a mock service environment.
  • Lesson 2: Feedback and areas of improvement.

Best Line Cook Training Programs and Courses

Formal Education:

  • Culinary Institute of America 
  • Johnson & Wales University 

Workshop Training:

  • Local Culinary Workshops 

Online Training:

  • Online Cooking School 
  • Virtual Culinary Academy 

How to Train a Line Cook

From a trainer’s perspective, training a line cook is about blending theory with hands-on experience.

Steps to Train:

  1. Introduce the kitchen layout.
  2. Focus on safety protocols.
  3. Develop basic knife skills.
  4. Dive into cooking techniques.
  5. Enhance presentation skills.
  6. Discuss inventory management.
  7. Conduct a mock service for real-time experience.

Line Cook Training Checklist

A training checklist ensures no stone is left unturned.

  • Kitchen Orientation: Check if the trainee is familiar with the kitchen layout.
  • Safety Protocols: Check if safety guidelines are being followed.
  • Knife Skills: Assess the trainee’s proficiency with knife techniques.
  • Cooking Techniques: Gauge the trainee’s versatility with cooking methods.
  • Time Management: Monitor the trainee’s efficiency during service.
  • Collaboration: Evaluate the trainee’s teamwork skills.

Step 4: Get Additional Line Cook Certifications

While not always mandatory, certifications can enhance credibility.

Most common certifications for Line Cook

  • Food Safety Certification
  • Culinary Arts Diploma

Does a Line Cook need certifications?

No, but they can give a competitive edge.

Line Cook Certification Cost

Varies based on the course, but generally ranges from $100-$500.

Step 5: Prepare Your Line Cook Resume

Highlight your skills, training, and any certifications. Mention any formal “line cook education” and any relevant “line cook training programs” you’ve undergone. Don’t forget to list your “line cook experience.”

Step 6: Apply For Line Cook Jobs

Seek out job openings on platforms such as:

  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • CulinaryAgents
  • HospitalityOnline
  • ChefCrossing

Key Takeaways

  • A passion for cooking is the foundation.
  • Formal education can offer an edge but isn’t mandatory.
  • On-the-job training provides invaluable experience.
  • Certifications can differentiate you from others.
  • A well-crafted resume can open doors to numerous opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Starting as a prep cook, then line cook, followed by sous chef, and eventually, executive chef.

Yes, many line cooks start with on-the-job training.

Seek establishments offering “how to be a line cook with no experience” training or start as a prep cook to learn basics.

With dedication, a line cook can ascend to the position of an executive chef or even own a restaurant.

Yes, given the long hours and fast-paced environment, physical endurance is crucial.

Dominik Bartoszek

Dominik Bartoszek

8+ years Digital Marketer driven by data & AI. Helping restaurants grow more through online orders.

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