Tentative Classification Standards issued by the Division of Classification & Compensation are shared with the operating agencies of State government for their consideration and comment. Accordingly, this document that you are viewing is subject to change and will be issued in final form at the completion of the review period.

New York State Department of Civil Service

Division of Classification & Compensation


Tentative Classification Standard


Occ. Code 3102300


Cook, Grade 11 3102300

Head Cook, Grade 15 3102600


Brief Description of Class Series


Positions in this series prepare and cook a variety of foods such as meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, salads and baked goods in the kitchen of a State facility.  Incumbents prepare and cook food and usually supervise a kitchen staff in meal preparation and cooking, and in the cleaning of the kitchen and pantry areas. Incumbents use all cooking utensils and equipment found in a kitchen such as blenders, bowls, grills, grinders, kettles, knives, measuring devices, mixers, ovens, and slicers.



Distinguishing Characteristics


All positions are in the non-competitive jurisdictional class.


Cook: under the supervision of a Head Cook in a large kitchen, prepares and cooks an entire meal on an assigned shift or for a specific type of cooking such as range cooking, baking or dessert cooking. In the former assignment, the incumbent usually supervises a small kitchen staff in the storage, preparation, cooking and dispensing of food, and also in the cleaning of the kitchen and pantry areas. Cooks may be the highest-level position involved in food preparation and cooking in a small kitchen and/or perform similar activities to those described for Head Cook in a smaller setting such as a hostel, a half-way house or a camp.


Head Cook: oversees the operations of a large kitchen; supervises and directs the activities of a large kitchen staff including Cooks; and may personally perform food preparation and cooking activities on occasion. This class is characterized by the assignment to assign a kitchen staff to shifts; determine the amount of food to be prepared to meet menu requirements; order and inventory food supplies; inspect kitchen and pantry areas to ensure that proper preparation, utilization, cooking and sanitation procedures are observed and provide training to kitchen staff; maintain operational records; prepare accident reports and work repair orders. Depending on the setting, they may also have responsibility to meet specific accreditation standards.


In those cases where a Head Cook is the highest-level position involved in food service operation, such as correctional facilities with fewer than 300 inmate beds, an incumbent is typically supervised by a facility director or administrative position who reviews the food service operation as to quality of food, utilization of resources and adherence to agency operating and sanitary procedures.



Related Classes


Food Service Workers 2 function as working supervisors in the performance of relatively unskilled activities in food preparation, portioning and serving food, and cleaning dishes, kitchen equipment, dining and food preparation areas in State facilities.  In certain smaller settings, such as the various residential centers of the Office of Children and Family Services, Food Service Workers 2 may prepare and cook an entire meal on an assigned shift.


Dietitians provide dietetic care and nutrition services to individuals in State facilities or community residential settings.  Incumbents assist in the management of food and nutrition program operations; participate in diet, meal, and menu planning and development; assist in and/or provide instruction on diet and nutrition therapy, meal planning, and food preparation and sanitation to individuals, families, and healthcare, direct care, and food service staff; and inspect and supervise food preparation, service areas, and meals to ensure compliance with dietetic care and nutrition plans, standards, regulations, and requirements. 


Nutrition Services Administrators oversee, manage, and administer food, nutrition, and dietetic programs for individuals in State facilities or community residential settings.  Incumbents plan, organize, and direct food preparation and service, and clinical dietetic program activities, such as nutrition counseling, menu development, and food safety and sanitation operations; develop and implement nutrition policies and procedures; supervise the activities of Dietitians, and other food and nutrition services staff; and monitor program operations to ensure the nutritional health and well-being of individuals served and compliance with established standards, laws, rules, and regulations.



Illustrative Duties




Prepares and cooks a variety of foods for residents, employees, or students within a State facility.


·         Reviews menus to determine type and quantity of food to be prepared.


·         Plans cooking schedule so food is ready at prescribed time.


·         Draws required foodstuffs from kitchen storage areas.


·         Measures, mixes, stirs, cuts, grinds, chops and seasons ingredients according to State recipes using a variety of hand and power kitchen utensils.


·         Bakes, roasts, broils, fries and steams food as called for in recipes.


·         Observes and tastes food and adds ingredients and seasoning to improve texture and flavor.


·         Tests food for completion of cooking time and adjusts heat controls.


·         Carves and divides portions into individual servings.


·         Prepares special foods for residents requiring special diets.


·         Arranges for distribution of food by placing into service trays or packing food into hot boxes for shipment to separate dining areas.


·         May supervise a small staff in distributing food in a cafeteria setting.


·         May personally serve main course of meal in a cafeteria setting.


May supervise a small kitchen staff of Food Service Workers 2, Food Service Workers 1, and in some cases correctional inmates.


·         Makes specific work assignments in kitchen and pantry areas.


·         Directs and/or may personally perform the general cleaning after each meal.


·         Provides oral and written instructions regarding materials, utensils and procedures to be performed.


·         Demonstrates proper preparation and cooking procedures.


·         Oversees and inspects performance to ensure instructions, procedures and standards are observed.


·         Ensures that proper sanitation and storage procedures are always followed.


Head Cook


May perform all of the same duties and functions as a Cook.


Schedules the preparation and cooking of meals in a large kitchen of a State facility.


·         Determines types and amount of food to be prepared for each meal according to menus and special instructions or events.


·         Requisitions or arranges for delivery of required foodstuffs from central warehouses, suppliers or storage areas.


·         Arranges cooking schedule for various types of food so that all are ready at the specified time.


·         Schedules necessary kitchen staff to prepare and cook meals.


Ensures that utilization and sanitary levels are observed in kitchen and storage areas.


·         Inspects food preparation and cooking areas to ensure sanitary conditions are observed.


·         Maintains records of food temperatures to ensure that prepared foods are safe and palatable.


·         Inspects storage areas for evidence of vermin, insects and mold and arranges for their eradication if present.


·         Inspects cleaning procedures to ensure utensils are sanitized after each use.


·         Oversees cleaning and sanitizing of kitchen and storage areas to ensure sanitary conditions are met.


·         Inspects food for deterioration and discards all tainted food.


·         Ensures all refuse is removed promptly and properly to proper areas.


·         Inventories food inventories and recommends changes in menu so that food is used before spoiling.


·         Supervises work activity in the ingredient rooms.


Supervises a large kitchen staff of subordinate Cooks and Food Service Workers, and also in some cases inmate workers.


·         Assigns kitchen staff to various shifts.


·         Provides instructions regarding the food to be prepared, the manner in which it is to be prepared and any special requirements.


·         Inspects food preparation and cooking procedures to ensure that sanitary conditions are observed and all food is utilized.


·         Evaluates work performance and suggests corrective measures.


·         Arranges for special food service training where available. 



Minimum Qualifications




Non-competitive: three years of experience in large-scale cooking, one year of which must have included regular supervision of subordinate employees or working inmates.


Head Cook


Non-competitive: five years of experience in large scale cooking, two years of which must have included regular supervision of subordinate employees or working inmates.



Note: Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe.  Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class.  The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written.  Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.