How to Hire a Cook in Canada

How to Hire a Cook in Canada?

Can a cook help your growing business in Canada? Hiring a new cook for your banquet hall, restaurant, or catering business is the best way to grow your business and provide high-quality food for your customers. Our team can help you stand out from the competition by focusing on the steps behind hiring a cook in Canada, including the cook’s responsibility in a restaurant, skills required to succeed as a cook in Canada, qualifications needed to work as a cook in the big white north, access to data about candidates who are seeking cook jobs in Canada, considering the average cook salaries in Canada, terms that should be included in the job description, and what to ask a candidate during the interview.

Different types of cooks in the Canadian restaurant industry?

There are typically two types of cook that work in a kitchen in Canada. Firstly, there would be the prep cook, who would prepare all the food for cooking and ensure all the pots, pans and other pieces of kitchen equipment were ready to use. Also, the prep cook would ensure that everything is clean before cooking begins and perform other basic cleaning duties. The prep cook need not have formal training in the culinary arts, but he or she should have a basic understanding of how to prepare ingredients for cooking.

  • Prep cook: Duties include preparing food for cooking, cleaning workstations, and preparing kitchen equipment for use.

On the other hand, there is the line cook who supports the head cook or chef in cooking and preparing meals. Line cooks may be responsible for just one aspect of a meal, such as preparing all the salads or all desserts, or they may be in charge of all or several aspects of the meal. In the kitchen, line cooks work directly under the head cook, allowing the kitchen to run more smoothly. It is possible for a line cook to be a new graduate of a culinary institute or to have no formal culinary education depending on the establishment.

  • Line cook: Duties include preparing and cooking food for meals and supporting the head cook.

Cook’s responsibilities

In order to ensure your Canadian business runs efficiently, cooks prepare meals and oversee kitchen staff. Organizing the kitchen and monitoring public safety are their responsibilities as well. To put it in another way, they are the liaison between the kitchen staff and the server staff. By hiring them, you can ensure that your kitchen runs smoothly and produces high-quality food. The following tasks fall under a cook’s responsibility in Canada and each candidate is assessed for these by our recruitment team:

  • Maintaining and managing all kitchen equipment
  • Handling specific requests from customers
  • Training all kitchen staff and sometimes in charge of hiring
  • Maintaining tidiness and order in the kitchen
  • Developing recipes

Skills we look for in a professional cook

There are many skills and qualities that help a cook succeed in their role in Canada. Our recruiters look for a variety of skills in each candidate, including:

Cooking Experience

Hookjobs is aware that becoming a talented cook typically requires five years of kitchen experience. However, exceptions are sometimes made based on work experience. Usually, a cook gains experience through junior positions or cook roles. Knowledge of baking and pastry techniques and cooking styles is an extra advantage.

Eagerness to Learn

Being a cook takes a lot of experimentation and practice. They need to work on mastering different methods of cooking, using flavors thoughtfully, and putting together a variety of dishes. All of these efforts take a significant amount of time and energy. That’s why our team always looks for an eagerness to learn in each and every candidate since it is an important trait to have as a cook.

Ability to Multitask

A cook is often responsible for a variety of tasks, like chopping, preparing sauces, and cooking appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. During busy holidays, they may need to step in to help other cooks at their own stations. For example, they might need to stir a soup while broiling meat. Additionally, cooks may need to help with cleaning. As a result, we always evaluate the candidate’s multitasking skills prior to recommending them to businesses.

Eye for Detail

Cooking is considered a science, and therefore it is important to us that a candidate be exact and measure every ingredient. This requires knowing the order of when to use ingredients and understanding how long to cook each item. An eye for detail also comes in handy for portioning, measuring, heating, and presenting food.

Teamwork Skills

A cook needs to learn how to operate in a team and communicate when needed. When working in the kitchen, a cook should be able to ensure that all their tasks are being completed while also having other cooks’ and staff’s tasks in mind. Therefore, we uniquely care about this skill when evaluating cook candidates.


A cook plays many roles, including plating dishes and ensuring that food tastes great for customers. All of these activities require an extreme level of creativity. Some highly talented cooks also get involved with decors, like tablecloths, dinnerware, and furniture arrangements.

Genuine passion

Famous cooks typically become well known through their passion for food, but a career as a cook is very demanding. Cooks often work on holidays when guests are relaxing – like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or Thanksgiving. Therefore it’s important for cooks to truly enjoy being creative and creating memorable dining experiences for guests.

Qualifications we look for when assessing cooks in Canada

In Canada, the restaurant industry is regulated by the provincial governments. Therefore, several certificates are required so that a cook can take on employment in Canada. Some of these certificates are only granted to professional cooks with hours of experience.

The most popular certification for cooks is the Red Seal Certificate, also known as Interprovincial Trade Standard (ITSS). The Red Seal Certificate is issued by Provincial/Territorial Apprenticeship and Certification offices. It is recognized nationally as proof of excellence in the field of cooking. To be eligible for the exam, a candidate must have 5,000 hours of work experience in basic cooking techniques and another 3,000 hours related to advanced cooking techniques.

Another type of certification needed to work as a cook in Canada is the Canadian Food Safety Certificate. This certificate is issued by provincial government organizations such as health departments or food authorities. As part of this certification process, candidates must complete a training program and pass an exam on topics related to food safety and kitchen hygiene.

In addition to these certificates, cooks should also obtain a ProServe Certification from their provincial government organization(s). ProServe Certification provides proof that they have received training on safe alcohol service practices in restaurants and bars. The certification is valid for three years.

Finally, candidates need to obtain a Food Handler Certificate from their local health authority or food safety organization in order to work as a cook in Canada. The certificate confirms that they have the knowledge of food safety practices necessary to safely prepare and serve food.

Needless to say that our recruiters are fully aware of all regulations and qualifications needed to work in Canada as a cook and make sure that all candidates are highly qualified and acquainted with all regulations.

Where to find a cook in Canada

One of the best ways to find a cook for your restaurant is to post a job ad on a career website. You can also look for hospitality or restaurant-specific industry websites where future chefs might be looking for their next career step. Additionally, to find a professional cook for your business, you can work with a recruitment agency in Canada.

With the country’s high cost of living, the abundance of culinary professionals, and the diversity of culinary schools, finding the perfect professional cook can become an overwhelming task. This is why many restaurants in Canada turn to recruitment agencies for help. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a full-time cook or a part-time one, recruitment agencies in Canada can provide tailored solutions to fit your needs.

A recruitment agency in Canada, like Hookjobs, can offer several benefits to a restaurant that is looking to hire a professional cook. We are experienced in the process and we can draw candidates from our databases that match the requirements the restaurant is looking for. We also have access to countless sources of potential candidates through our job boards, social media groups, and other methods.

In addition, we can help narrow down the candidates to those who match the job criteria and employment terms your restaurant requires. We can help prepare job descriptions that are more likely to attract qualified applicants and can even streamline the hiring process for you.

Hookjobs is also an expert at interviewing and assessing candidates. We know how to spot talent and skills that might not be obvious from a resume so that the restaurant will make sure they hire the perfect cook for their kitchen. We are also knowledgeable about Canadian immigration laws and other regulations that could affect how a chef could be hired or employed in Canada.

Finally, Hookjobs is also up to date with the most current trends in culinary education and employment, so we can provide valuable insight into what kinds of chefs and cooks will be in demand in the near future. All of this helps businesses easily find the right professional cook and reduce hiring time significantly.

What do we consider when writing a cook job description in Canada

Writing a job description for a cook in a restaurant in Canada requires a certain level of detail and specificity, so as to attract suitable candidates and weed out those who aren’t qualified for the position. Cooks in Canada are experts in one or several cuisines or types of food. So we make sure to mention these details in our job description. Here are some important elements we include when writing a cook job description:

  • Position Overview: We start by providing an overview of the Cook position the client is hiring for. We include the title, what the role entails, and the expectations of the successful candidate. We ensure to mention the key skills and qualifications needed to be successful in this role.
  • Responsibilities: We outline the duties that come with being a cook in the restaurant. This can include a range of tasks – from prepping ingredients to operating kitchen equipment.
  • Qualifications: We make sure to specify the qualifications required for the role. This includes necessary experience in preparing food as well as any certifications or culinary training that are relevant.
  • Skills: We provide an overview of the skills the client is looking for in their ideal candidate. These range from kitchen-related skills (like knife skills) to customer service and teamwork.
  • Personality Traits: We provide insight into the type of personality the manager of the establishment is looking for in their cook. Our team outlines qualities such as creativity, organization, and positivity that would make someone suitable for the job.
  • Salary/Benefits: We explain what salary or compensation the client is offering for this role along with any benefits that come with it (such as vacation days, bonuses, etc.).

Additionally, the followings are the top searched terms that lead to clicks on cook job postings. We make sure to use them in the job posting to gain interactions:

  • Cook
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant
  • Line cook
  • Camp cook
  • Foodservice
  • Kitchen helper

How we Interview cook candidates in Canada

Canadian cooks and culinary professionals are often experienced in one or several food types or cuisines. This makes choosing the right cook for your restaurant in Canada extremely hard. To find the best candidate for your restaurant in Canada, first and foremost, we create a list of questions that will help assess the candidate’s qualifications, abilities, and overall fit. By asking relevant questions we can enquire about their experience with specific cooking techniques, familiarity with certain types of food and ingredients popular among Canadian people, and ability to work in a professional environment. To ensure the questions are comprehensive and meet the needs of your restaurant, we enlist the help of professional recruiters in our team, people with knowledge about the culinary industry. We hold the entire interview as a part of our service so you can be sure the cook you will be introduced to is vetted as a professional.

Next, we make sure that there is a clear understanding of what type of qualifications and experience the cook should have in order to succeed in the role. As mentioned above several certifications and qualifications are needed for cooks to work in Canada, so we make sure to ask for them. This will also help us determine which questions are best for each individual candidate. It’s also important to ensure that candidates understand the client’s expectations and job duties. This will be done by providing them with an overview at the beginning of the interview or prior to their arrival.

When interviewing cook candidates, we prioritize creating a positive atmosphere. We ask questions that allow candidates to showcase their skills and qualifications while being kind and welcoming throughout the entire process. Additionally, we set clear expectations and timelines for both parties during the process. We also make sure to give candidates time to ask questions as well. Strong candidates for cook positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

  • Preparing and cooking methods, including the use of different equipment
  • Managing kitchen staff
  • Dealing with a rush of services
  • Cleaning and safety procedures
  • Inventory

What is the cost of hiring a cook in Canada?

Cooks in Canada typically expect a salary of 17 CAD per hour. The salary range for a cook position in Canada varies from 10 CAD per hour to 30 CAD per hour depending on the expertise of the candidate. Chefs are way more costly to hire as they have a lot more experience and years of culinary knowledge. You can learn more about hiring a chef in Canada here.


What’s the difference between a cook and a chef?

The main difference between a cook and a chef is the amount of training they have. Typically, a chef will have graduated from a culinary arts program and spent a few years as an apprentice.

How do I choose between two cook candidates?

The best way to choose between two cooks would be to give them each a trial shift. This will allow you to see their skills and know how they get along with the rest of the staff.

How can I increase job satisfaction among my cooks and kitchen staff?

The best way to keep your cook happy is by respecting their ability to create meals that will satisfy your customers. You also want to make sure that your cook is making a competitive wage. Offering something like free meals while working is another great way to keep your cooks happy.

Is the cooking job regulated in Canada?

A. Occupations in the tourism/hospitality industry are not regulated in Canada. This means that you are not required to register with one of the provincial or territorial regulatory authorities to be authorized to practice occupations in the tourism industry anywhere in Canada.

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