A job, which makes up the first link in a long chain of food preparation and service, is a career of a kitchen attendant, who assists cooks and chefs in preparing and storing food, washing dishes and utensils, and cleaning work areas. Kitchen attendants may be alternately called cook helpers, kitchen hands, kitchen porters or kitchen runners.
A kitchen attendant performs multiple tasks, among them sweeping and moping floors, washing worktables, walls, refrigerators and meat blocks, segregating and removing trash and garbage and placing it in designated containers. He steam-cleans garbage cans, sorts bottles and breaks disposable ones in a bottle-crushing machine. A kitchen hand washes pots, pans and trays by hand, scraping food from dirty dishes and washing them by hand or placing them in racks or on conveyor to a dishwashing machine. Holding inverted glasses over revolving brushes to clean inside surfaces, polishing silver, as well as setting up banquet tables, are also the duties of a kitchen attendant. He transfers supplies and equipment between storage and work areas by hand or by the use of a hand truck. A kitchen hand washes and peels vegetables, using a knife or a peeling machine chop, cuts and cooks foodstuffs and helps prepare salads and desserts. Kitchen attendants also organize laundering of linen.
A kitchen manager, who ensures the smooth functioning and cleaning of the kitchen, coordinates the work of kitchen attendants. A kitchen manager is responsible for all activities in the kitchen, and is required to be knowledgeable in all the aspects of the kitchen operations. Moreover, he has to ensure cohesive working conditions.
Hence, the first thing you should have to be a kitchen manager is a creative interest in food and cookery; you should be organized and able to plan your own work and that of the others; and, certainly, you should have good communication, leadership and management skills. An ability to work under pressure and to make instant decisions is greatly valued, let alone calmness in dealing with unexpected situations and crises. You have to be physically fit in order to be able to keep active in a hot and busy kitchen and to take big pressure often starting early in the morning and finishing late at night.
However, kitchen managers usually work in shifts as well as kitchen attendants, who may be employed on a full-time, part-time, casual or seasonal basis. They must be prepared to work irregular hours and to stand for long periods. Protective clothing, such as overalls or gloves, may be provided. Kitchen hands must be able to use knives and other cooking equipment efficiently and safely.
Undemanding as the job of a kitchen attendant may seem, it requires a good set of skills, including good hand-eye coordination, good personal hygiene and an ability to work quickly and safely. You must be free from skin allergies to food and detergents. The last, but not the least, are good communication skills and an ability to work as a part of a team.