A line cook is a position in the kitchen hierarchy, signifying a cook tasked with a specific part of the kitchen for their supervision. A line cook will have a set of cooks and production lines that they’re tasked with overseeing, and will usually report directly to the head cook. The job of a line cook can be quite varied depending on where one’s employed, and it’s usually a precursor to getting promoted to more lucrative positions within the kitchen, ultimately to a head cook. At times, it can be highly demanding, especially in busier restaurants.
Becoming a line cook is normally done by getting promoted from lower positions in the kitchen, normally starting out as a regular cook or even a kitchen assistant. It can pay off to have good connections with the upper staff in the kitchen, in order to get noticed as quickly as possible. Having a good overview of the structure of the restaurant’s particular kitchen and the general specifics of the restaurant industry is also of great benefit. A good line cook needs to be attentive and alert.
A line cook doesn’t earn much – the median salary for 2009 was $21,000 and the annual salary rarely goes over $27,000. However, the job comes with far less responsibilities than those of a regular cook, or on the other hand the head cook, making it an interesting middle ground for those looking for a job with less demands. On the other hand, it’s not very common for a single person to hold the job for too long as it’s mostly a stepping stone to higher positions.