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Occupational Profile

Kitchen Helper and Food Assembler

Kitchen helpers and assemblers assist cooks in restaurants and institutions by keeping the kitchens clean and by performing a variety of food preparation tasks.

  • Avg. Salary $20,544.00
  • Avg. Wage $13.22
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
Also Known As

Assembly Line Worker, Dishwasher, Dishwasher Attendant, Food Assembler, Food Preparer, Salad/Sandwich Maker, Warewashing Attendant

NOC & Interest Codes
The Kitchen Helper and Food Assembler is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Kitchen Helpers
NOC code: 6641.2
OBJECTIVE

Interest in handling to remove trash and clear kitchen garbage containers, and to unpack and store supplies in refrigerators, cupboards and other storage areas

METHODICAL

Interest in comparing to wash and peel vegetables and fruit, clean work tables, cupboards and appliances, and sweep and mop floors

social

Interest in assisting cook and kitchen staff

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Kitchen helpers keep the kitchens in food service establishments clean and tidy. In general, they: 

  • sweep and scrub floors
  • remove garbage
  • clean kitchen equipment
  • scrape food from plates and wash food trays
  • stack dishes in dishwashers
  • clean flatware
  • wash pots and pans
  • store clean items.

In some establishments, kitchen helpers also:

  • receive and store supplies
  • stock cupboards, refrigerators and salad bars
  • clean food preparation and storage areas
  • assist in basic food preparation.

Food preparers prepare or cook partially prepared foods in restaurants. In general, they:

  • prepare ingredients (for example, wash and slice vegetables)
  • partially cook food in advance of orders
  • assemble and measure ingredients to fill orders
  • package take-out foods
  • pass incomplete orders to other workers to finish
  • help line cooks prepare food orders.

Food preparers also may:

  • bake some items and finish desserts
  • clean food preparation and storage areas
  • stock refrigerators and salad bars
  • tell supervisors when supplies are getting low or equipment is not working properly.

Sandwich, salad and dessert makers prepare salads, sandwiches and desserts in commercial eating establishments and institutions such as hospitals. In general, they:

  • use manual or electric appliances to clean, peel, slice and trim foodstuffs to prepare sandwich fillings and salads, and desserts such as ice cream and fruit dishes
  • portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to patrons
  • keep records of the quantities of food used
  • help other kitchen staff whenever necessary.

Food assemblers often work on assembly lines putting food trays together in hospitals, cafeterias, airline kitchens and similar establishments. In general, they:

  • portion food in consistent serving sizes in an appropriate, safe and attractive manner
  • use tongs, forks and scoops to remove portions from containers (which may be heated or cooled) and place the food on plates
  • add cutlery and napkins to complete each food tray
  • place food trays over food warmers for immediate service or in refrigerated storage cabinets, if necessary
  • deliver food trays and snacks to nursing units or directly to patients
  • distribute menus and collect diet sheets.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers work shifts and often work weekends and holidays. They are on their feet most of their shift and may have to carry trays of food dishes and glassware weighing up to 20 kilograms. They may be exposed to:

  • cool temperatures in refrigeration and freezer units
  • heat from dishwashing and cooking equipment
  • cleaning agents
  • noise and slippery flooring (especially near dishwashers).

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers sometimes work under time pressures and must be careful to avoid cuts from sharp utensils and burns from hot appliances.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers need to possess:

  • an interest in food preparation
  • good health
  • high standards of personal hygiene
  • a neat and tidy appearance
  • the ability to work effectively as part of a team.

They should enjoy handling food and equipment, having clear rules and methods for their work, and working with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 28, 2017

There are no minimum education requirements for kitchen helpers and food assemblers. However, food safety training is a definite asset when looking for employment and related education is generally required for advancement.

In Alberta, food safety courses are offered by:

Visit the Government of Alberta website or contact 780-427-7164 for a listing of approved food and safety training options.

The Government of Alberta awards a Food Sanitation and Hygiene Certification to those who complete approved training and achieve at least 70% on a provincial exam. Food facilities generally employ at least 1 person who is certified. Where 6 or more people are working on site, at least 1 person present must be certified. Where fewer people are working on site, the certified person may be absent.

Food preparation is taught in some high school Career and Technology Studies courses and there is a formal apprenticeship program for cooks. In addition, post-secondary programs are designed to help people enter and progress in the field of food preparation.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Cypress College - Legion Campus

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

However, Tourism HR Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council or CHHRC) offers voluntary certifications related to food services that are recognized across Canada. Certification training is accessible from the emerit website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers work in all types of restaurants from quick service (fast food) outlets and base camps to formal dining rooms. They alsowork in public institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. Part-time work is common.

Experienced kitchen helpers and food assemblers may advance to assistant cook and cook positions, or to supervisory positions. However, supervisory positions may be limited in number, and advancement is generally easier and faster for those who have a high school diploma and are willing to take further education.

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6711: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the Accommodation and Food Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Accommodation and Food Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 40,700 Albertans are employed in the Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related occupations occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 977 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As kitchen helpers and food assemblers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for kitchen helpers and food assemblers. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Salaries are generally highest in hospitals and nursing homes but advancement prospects are limited (for more information, see the Food Service Supervisor occupational profile).

Kitchen helper and food assemblers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6711: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations occupational group earned on average from $11.90 to $15.11 an hour. The overall average wage was $13.22 an hour. For more information, see the Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations wage profile.

 

Related High School Subjects
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Foods
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals website: www.cafp.ca

emerit website: www.emerit.ca

National Restaurant Association [United States] website: www.restaurant.org

Restaurants Canada website: www.restaurantscanada.org

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 28, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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