The frying chef station requires more skill than most people realize because precise timing is essential for fried foods to become crispy, cooked throughout, grease-free and not overcooked. Seafood can prove particularly challenging, and chefs must cook each component of seafood platters with exact timing to achieve golden color and a proper degree of doneness.
Fry cooks can find two types of culinary careers: station chefs de partie in the French brigade system and short order fry cooks in fast food and neighborhood restaurants. Both culinary jobs perform similar tasks such as breading foods, frying meats, potatoes, seafood and garnishes to order and maintaining deep fryer quality by regularly filtering and changing oil.
Other Duties of Fry Cooks
Fry cooks or frituriers need to perform their fry cook duties and often help out on the grill and other stations. Duties include the following culinary tasks:
- Breading foods and making signature sauces for fried foods
- Exercising good portion control
- Learning kitchen abbreviations and order fulfillment procedures
- Becoming an expert in timing because fried foods must go out immediately
- Ordering goods and supplies for fryer maintenance
- Disposing of used oil
- Maintaining fresh oil and frying strongly flavored foods separately
Types of Fry Cook Jobs and Essential Training
Fry cooks work in all types of restaurants from burger joints to upscale cruise ships and hotels. The bigger the resort or city, the more fry cook jobs will be available. Many restaurants hire fry cooks with little or no experience, but a culinary education can help you land a better paying job, get promoted faster or get hired in upscale resorts or gambling centers.
- Fry cook jobs often give people entry-level restaurant experience or help to finance culinary educations.
- Deep frying is actually a dry heat method of cooking because oils react violently to moisture.
- Frying foods at proper temperatures and avoiding crowding baskets keep foods from absorbing oils. Learning about why foods react as they do will help you advance your culinary career.
- Expert fry cooks seal in natural moisture and deep fry foods to crispy perfection, so experience and training are the keys to success.
- Fried foods have the reputation of being greasy, but experienced fry cooks can produce foods that are crispy outside and moist and tender inside.
Friturier and Fry Cook Salaries
Fry cooks often earn hourly wages of $7 to $10 per hour in fast food restaurants, but a chef de partie in a French brigade restaurant might earn $20,000 to $40,000 depending on the location. Fry cooks work in fast food franchises, restaurants, cafeterias, sports concessions and resorts, but more than a half million people work as fry cooks in fast food restaurants according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Location plays an important role in salaries for all restaurant workers. Many aspiring chefs seek positions in high-end hotels or restaurants for advancement opportunities even if they have to settle for less prestigious jobs. Ambitious chefs might relocate to California, New York, Florida, Illinois or Texas where culinary salaries are the highest in the nation.
You might work nights, weekends and holidays in fry cook or friturier positions, so having a flexible schedule helps you impress your bosses and advance in the kitchen hierarchy.
Disadvantages of Becoming a Fry Cook
Fry cooks have a bad reputation with the public because of the mistaken impressions that fried foods are always greasy and that fry cooks have few culinary skills.
- Fast food restaurants operate at frenzied speeds, which can cause stress on the job.
- Grease and oils can permeate clothing and hair.
- Fry cooks often suffer minor burns or severe injuries from hot grease.
- Fry cooks often have to stand in one position for long periods.
The Road to Kitchen Success and Celebrity
Most celebrity chefs started working in kitchens while young and learned about food from mentors, cookbooks, online cooking shows and dining out in restaurants. If you have passion for food, you could become respected in your community regardless of whether you become famous nationally. The job outlook and career security for trained fry cooks and frituriers are high, and most fry cooks learn their craft while younger than 24. Learn everything you can about restaurant work while working as a fry cook, develop neat work habits, learn to work seamlessly with other cooks and develop an instinct for timing fried foods precisely. Acquiring these skills will help you get promoted or find a higher paying job.