Cooks

(NOC 6322)

in All Sales and Service

Cooks prepare and cook a wide variety of foods. They work for restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other health care institutions, central food commissaries, educational institutions, and other organizations. Cooks also work aboard ships and at construction and logging campsites. Cooks may specialize in preparing and cooking ethnic cuisine or special dishes.

Job Outlook

Good

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  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 1100 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Sales and Service

  • Estimate 10325 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 17495 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Cooks may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers. Also, a average portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 35% of Cooks who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $27,186. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$14.00

Median

$18.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$3,669

Minimum

$17,935

Median

$41,583

Maximum

Compared to: All Sales and Service

Hourly Pay

$12.55

Minimum

$18.36

Median

$22.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,949

Minimum

$16,629

Median

$45,086

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Cooks prepare and cook a wide variety of foods. They work for restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other health care institutions, central food commissaries, educational institutions, and other organizations. Cooks also work aboard ships and at construction and logging campsites. Cooks may specialize in preparing and cooking ethnic cuisine or special dishes.

Job duties

Cooks:

  • Prepare and cook complete meals or individual dishes and foods.
  • Prepare and cook special meals for patients as instructed by dietitian or chef.
  • Schedule and supervise kitchen helpers.
  • Oversee kitchen operations.
  • Maintain inventory and records of food, supplies and equipment.
  • May set up and oversee buffets.
  • May clean kitchen and work area.
  • May plan menus, determine size of food portions, estimate food requirements and costs, and monitor and order supplies.
  • May hire and train kitchen staff.

Sample job titles

  • apprentice cook
  • assistant cook
  • banquet cook
  • cafeteria cook
  • camp cook
  • caterer cook
  • cook
  • line cook
  • ship's cook
  • short order cook

Skills

  • This work requires initiative, imagination, and creativity. Knowledge of basic nutrition and cooking methods is needed. You should understand and apply the rules of hygiene, sanitation, and occupational safety. Organization, time management, and the ability to perform under pressure are important. You must have good physical health, physical stamina, and manual dexterity. You will be required to establish good working relationships with a variety of co-workers and customers and display a professional attitude.

Job requirements

  • High school is usually required.
  • A three-year apprenticeship program for cooks or completion of college or other program in cooking or several years of commercial cooking experience are required.
  • Trade certification is available, but voluntary, in Nova Scotia.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) is also available to qualified cooks upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Other considerations

  • These jobs are heavily influenced by tourism activity. Employment levels tend to vary throughout the year and peak in the summer months. A high rate of turnover in these jobs generates numerous job openings for people seeking employment. Earnings can vary significantly depending upon the skills and training of the individual and the employer’s organization type. There is movement among the various types of cooks in this group. Movement to supervisory or more senior positions, like chef, is possible with experience and training.

By the numbers

Quick look

7,190

employed in 2016

64.9%

employed full-time

3.7%

self employed

49.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
51%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
36

median age

Compared to: All Sales and Service

102,605

employed in 2016

56.4%

employed full-time

5.8%

self employed

60.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
39.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
37

median age

Where will I likely work?

41.9%

Halifax

$20,216 median annual income
17.2%

North Shore

$17,099 median annual income
17.0%

Cape Breton

$16,433 median annual income
13.6%

Southern

$17,208 median annual income
10.4%

Annapolis Valley

$17,751 median annual income

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

77.5%

Accommodation and food services

10.2%

Health care and social assistance

3.1%

Public administration

2.4%

Retail trade

1.7%

Educational services

What is the age of Employment?

29.0%

15-24

19.0%

25-34

18.0%

45-54

17.0%

35-44

14.0%

55-64

3.0%

65+

Compared to: All Sales and Service

30.0%

15-24

17.2%

45-54

17.2%

25-34

16.1%

55-64

13.8%

35-44

Top levels of education

39.7%

High school

$16,110 median annual income
24.7%

Less than high school

$14,052 median annual income
18.4%

College Diploma

$22,035 median annual income
10.4%

Trade Certification

$27,886 median annual income
4.6%

Bachelor

$19,190 median annual income

Compared to: All Sales and Service

39.8%

High school

$15,705 median annual income
19.7%

Less than high school

$9,866 median annual income
19.5%

College Diploma

$20,644 median annual income
9.9%

Bachelor

$21,262 median annual income
8.0%

Trade Certification

$21,234 median annual income

Education & training

Culinary Arts/Chef Training

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to provide professional chef and related cooking services in restaurants and other commercial food businesses. They include courses in recipe and menu planning, preparing and cooking of foods, supervising and training kitchen assistants, managing food supplies and kitchen resources, aesthetics of food presentation, and familiarity with or mastery of a wide variety of cuisines and culinary techniques.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to serve under the supervision of chefs and other food service professionals as kitchen support staff and commercial food preparation workers. They include courses in kitchen organization and operations, sanitation and quality control, basic food preparation and cooking skills, kitchen and kitchen equipment maintenance, and quantity food measurement and monitoring.

Institutions providing this program

Futureworx Career College

Truro, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Apprenticeship Training

Halifax, NS

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Cook

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
Ship's Cook

Not Provincially Regulated: This job may be regulated by a federal regulatory body.

Regulating body:
Transport Canada - Marine Safety Services
Dartmouth, NS

Contacts

Canadian Culinary Federation, Halifax Branch
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Tourism Talent
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Sector Council
Halifax, NS

Additional resources