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Cook Resume Example & Writing Guide

Whether you’re looking for your first job in food prep, or you’re ready to move up to a fine dining restaurant, you need a cook resume that sounds as appealing as your food tastes. Use the guide below to help you put together the ingredients of your career and grab your next job.
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Cook Resume Example & Writing Guide
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If you have a passion for the culinary arts and are ready for your next challenge, a cook resume is an essential tool to land your next job. Perhaps you already have some experience in food service and are looking to get your first job in a professional kitchen or maybe you'd like to switch up restaurants and learn a new specialty. No matter the situation, this cook resume example will show you how to create a resume that conveys your motivation and experience.

Here at Resume.io, we have the recipe for success including resume examples for 350+ professions. This cook resume example along with our adaptable cook resume sample will discuss:

  • What does a cook do?
  • How to write a cook resume (tips and tricks)
  • The best format for a cook resume
  • Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
  • Professional resume layout and design hints.

What does a cook do?

Cooks — or chefs — plan, prepare, and serve delicious meals to guests and customers. These highly-trained professionals are culinary artists, creating unique flavor combinations at every turn. They also run the entire kitchen, ensuring that it is organized, clean, and meets health and safety standards. 

A cook takes on many different tasks in the kitchen and usually answers to a chef. Here are some of the jobs a cook may do:

  • Wash, chop and season vegetables, meats, and other ingredients before they are cooked
  • Work closely with a chef to develop a menu and practice executing it before the service
  • Cook and plate various dishes from a restaurant's menu during a restaurant's opening hours
  • Clean and sanitize work stations according to health and safety regulations
  • Place supply orders, receive them, and store them properly
  • Delegate tasks to other members of staff like servers, busboys, and dishwashers

There are many roles in the kitchen that can fall under the title of "cook." If you are working in a diner or short-order restaurant, you may be a line cook, but in other eating establishments, there is a hierarchy of positions that starts at the top with the executive chef, who is mostly a manager. The chef de cuisine, or head chef, manages the kitchen and creates the menus. Their second-in-command is the sous chef. If you are looking for a cook’s job in a fine dining restaurant you may start as a line cook. Your title (depending on the station you staff) may be:

  • Butcher chef (boucher)
  • Fry chef (friturier)
  • Pantry supervisor (garde manger)
  • Grill chef (grillardin)
  • Pastry chef (patissier)

How to write a cook resume

To make the most of your job hunt, you have to know where the jobs are and how best to target them.

Of course, when you think of a cook job, you think of a restaurant. But cooks work in many places that you may not initially think of as a restaurant. Many corporate offices have dining areas, as do hospitals, museums, amusement parks and cultural facilities.

In addition, there is a growing market for personal cook jobs. These professionals either work in a private home or deliver precooked meals to busy families. 

Restaurants and other eating establishments account for 49 percent of cook jobs. Eight percent are self-employed, 11 percent work in special food services and 7 percent work in travel accommodations. 

As a job seeker, here are some sample questions to ask yourself before developing your cook resume :

  • What are my strengths in the kitchen?
  • Do I want to work in a corporate or independent environment?
  • Would I consider working as a personal chef?
  • Am I good at memorizing how to cook many different menu items, or would I rather work in a kitchen that specializes in a few entrees?

Answering these questions will help you target your search and create a resume that shows hiring managers you are ready to work in their kitchen. That's the type of resume that wins you an interview for a cook job.

If you want to add a little more sugar and spice to your cook resume, we recommend you browse through these related food service resume examples here below:

Choosing the best resume format for a cook

You want recruiters to know you have some flair, but there's a reason why cook resume formats should follow a recipe: it works. Traditionally, resumes use the reverse chronological order format. You should, too. That's because restaurant owners are most interested in what you are doing now and this format puts that information at the top of your employment history section.

If you are a career-changer or have taken on many different types of jobs in your working life, consider a hybrid style in which your skills are emphasized over your experience.


Use naming conventions and professional terms on your resume section like "Experience" or "Employment History" since it's what managers will be expecting as they scan your application.


Overload your resume with unrelated work experience if you can avoid it. If you have at least three positions in food service, you can remove other odd jobs from your resume to save space and present a focused application.

Summary example: a taste of everything

Personality is important in a kitchen where teamwork is a must. Your summary is the place to highlight your collaborative nature and excellent communication skills. A summary in your cook resume can also contain a bit about your experience, education (if relevant), and top culinary skills.

This is your time to shine. You can also call this section a profile, but it’s more of a super-summary since it also highlights your professional personality as a cook. The goal here is to sell your skills and convince restaurant owners you are the right fit for the job.

You have about 3-5 sentences in this resume section, depending on space, to describe yourself professionally and sum up the best of your work experience. How do you get along with other kitchen staff? Are you cheerful under pressure? Do you help out in a pinch? Do you stay calm when the rush comes? You are a cook, after all, so make those hiring managers’ mouths water with your cook resume profile. 

Describe your specialty if you have one. Use creative, descriptive language. But don’t focus only on the delicious dishes you can prepare. Remember that being a cook takes a lot more than simply cooking. Maintaining food quality, keeping the kitchen clean, and avoiding food waste are big parts of the job.

Check out the summary section from our cook resume sample.

Adaptable summary resume sample

Hardworking Cook with several years of experience working in fast-paced kitchens. Adept in working with other culinary professionals to achieve goals and ensure customer satisfaction. Committed to using safe and sanitary cooking practices and maintaining an organized and clean cooking area. Experienced in operating various pieces of cooking equipment and tools. Bringing forth advanced food preparation techniques and the ability to serve wonderful food in a timely manner. 


Employment history example: the main course

The employment history section of a cook resume is where you illustrate the skills you have learned in your career, but you won’t simply be writing bullet-pointed job descriptions. Instead, show your prospective employer what makes you stand out from other cooks and what you have already achieved.

You can do this by looking at your employment history in the culinary arts as a series of challenges that you have overcome. You may have already moved up the ladder from line cook to something more, or you may want to make that leap now. To move forward, you must prove that you already have the skills and that you are capable of continuous growth and improvement. Use each bullet point to show off a different skill. 

One great way to make sure you are using action verbs to highlight your successes is the STAR method.

STAR stands for situation, task, action, result. Here is an example:

  • Created an original pasta dish based on a double delivery of spinach, sold 15 more plates than a typical special on a Thursday dinner rush.
Expert tip

Details and data will help you make your case more strongly, so use them whenever you have the opportunity. Also, never forget those action verbs to make your descriptions convincing.

Brainstorm the tasks that you perform as a cook that are not directly related to food preparation and incorporate some of them into your job descriptions. Do you order food? Are you responsible for maintaining safety standards? Have you ever trained someone in kitchen operations? All these skills contribute to your value as an employee. 

If you have worked in jobs outside food services, consider listing any that are relevant such as other hospitality jobs or ones in which you learned management skills or other people skills.

Expert tip

Applicant Tracking Systems

You should be personalizing your cook resume example for each job. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. You want restaurant managers to know that you read their job description and are interested in their job.
  2. You want to show them that you have the cooking skills they require.
  3. Your first hurdle is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

What is an ATS? It is computer software that scans your resume and uses an algorithm to rank it. You may be the exact cook that the restaurant is looking for, but they won’t know it if you don’t pass this initial screening.

While there’s no set formula for getting into the hands of a person, your cook resume will go further if you examine the job listing and try to use the exact keywords and phrases the employer has used in your resume. Don’t go overboard or it will be obvious, but do make sure you mention their top requirements within your text.

Below is the employment history section of our adaptable cook resume sample.

Adaptable employment history resume example

Cook at Edmund's, New York
September 2012 - Present

  • Work as a Cook in a busy American-Asian fusion restaurant.
  • Follow recipes closely and serve food in accordance with restaurant serving guidelines.
  • Safely store food items and kept inventories.
  • Prepare food carefully in response to customer requests or allergies.


Cook at Stratatella Ristorante, New York
July 2007 - August 2012

  • Prepared my station before the start of service each day.
  • Ensured that all needed supplies were present before work.
  • Worked effectively with all kitchen personnel to promote a happy working environment.
  • Observed all food safety regulations.


Back Line Cook at Jimmy Groger's Pub, Poughkeepsie
September 2005 - June 2007

  • Assisted with food preparations prior to service.
  • Made sure food at my station was ready before needed.
  • Handled food with cleanliness and care.
  • Cleaned kitchen and organized cooking utensils.
  • Worked with other restaurant staff to ensure success.

CV skills example: the right techniques

Your skills section is a carefully thought-out sampling of your best talents and attributes. Just as you would serve up a broad variety of foods in a sampler plate, you want to make sure you display a variety of skills in your cook resume. 

You should include 5-10 of your highest level talents, but they should not just be related to cooking. Yes, it is important that you recognize high-quality food, but your time management abilities also make you a more desirable employee. 

Statistical insight

Let's talk money. If you work your way up the culinary ranks, you can expect to make a decent salary. The median pay for chefs and head cooks in 2021 was $50,160 per year.

Make a “Master List” of all the requirements for your job. Then categorize them into hard skills or the job-specific abilities you have learned in your years of experience and soft skills, or those that are necessary across many professions and that make you a good employee. For instance, if you work well with team members, are an excellent communicator, or are very organized.

 See the skills section of our cook resume example below.

Adaptable skills section resume example
  • Knowledge of Food
  • Kitchen Management
  • Food Science
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Safe Food Handling and Sanitation
Statistical insight

It is difficult to predict when the restaurant industry will rebound or how far back it will come, but the U.S. Labor Bureau predicted a 16 percent sector growth between 2021 and 2031.

Education example: a strong start

Since you can become a cook with just a high school diploma, your education section might not take up much space on your cook resume and that's OK. The important part is that a restaurant manager knows if you've done any formal cooking training or other professional development. 

Many schools offer chef’s courses where you can learn the basics of food safety, knife skills, and how to follow a new recipe. If you have taken one of these courses and you are just beginning your career, you should list it here.

On-the-job training counts heavily in your career, but don’t underplay all the courses you have taken to learn specific cuisines. If you have completed any chef’s training, also add that. Consider all cooking courses you may have taken, especially if you learned a specialty cuisine or cooking technique. Many states also require you to earn a food safety certificate, so add that to your education section as well.

Below is an education section from a cook resume sample. 

Adaptable education resume example

Culinary Arts program, Culinary Tech Center, White Plains, NY
January 2005 - June 2005

Food and Finance High School Diploma, New York, New York
September 2001 - May 2005


Resume layout and design: first impressions

Now that you know what ingredients to include in your cook resume, let's add some finishing touches. There's a level of finesse to designing a crisp and clear application. Here are some pointers for creating an eye-catching design.

  • Some touches of color are fine as long as it is used sparingly.
  • Leave plenty of white space by creating one-inch margins, varying the lengths of your bullet items, and using columns to air out text.
  • Avoid getting cute with section headings
  • Make sure the important parts stand out: Your contact information and your previous and current job title and employer.

Restaurant owners and managers are busy. If they can’t easily find what they are looking for, it’s on to the next candidate. If you don't have a ton of time to spend on your resume design, try using a resume template at a starting point.

  • Make sure your resume fits on one page
  • Ensure that there is white space between sections
  • Use graphics or imagery on your resume
  • Overcook your resume with too much information

Key Takeaways

  1. You can be a bit more creative than a banker, but keep you resume neat and orderly (like your workstation)
  2. Create a profile that shows off your biggest achievements and your personality
  3. Your employment history section should detail what you have learned over the course of your career
  4. Customize your resume for each job application to increase your chances of beating the ATS
  5. Use the Resume.io online resume builder and recruiter-approved free resume examples to prevent wasted time and second-guessing.
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