Assistant Cook

Apply now Job no: 500089
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 012102 - Human Sciences- Head Start
Location: Harrison County
Categories: Support Staff
Position Open Date:

Position Function:

The Assistant Cook is responsible for assisting the Cook with production/preparation, food purchases, and service of meals in accordance with established United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and State guidelines and standards of nutrition, health, and sanitation. This employee will assist in the planning of nutritious meals and snacks for Head Start students, parents and teachers and perform administrative tasks in support of the food preparation process, including documentation maintenance of records. Noise level could be moderate to loud in the center and kitchen and employee must be able to work in close quarters. 

Salary Grade:  7

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges.  For salary grade UC, these positions are "Unclassified" and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

Department Profile:

Throughout its history, Mississippi State University-Extension (MSU-ES) has demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to programs that directly impact young children and their families. In the past decade, MSU-ES has distinguished itself as Mississippi's premier infrastructural support of high-quality early childhood education.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The Assistant Cook is responsible for assisting in the implementation of food services in a Head Start program serving children ages 3-5. Responsibilities include assisting in preparing attractive, USDA-approved meals; keeping the kitchen clean and sanitary according to Health Department ordinances; and maintaining adequate food stocks, kitchen supplies, and food service records.

Nutritious Cooking: Prepares nutritious meals that take into consideration children’s various cultures and individual nutritional needs.
• Understands and uses child nutritional needs and age-specific portion sizes to prepare
meals in accordance with USDA guidelines.
• Understands and strictly adheres to health, safety, food handling, and sanitation
requirements before, during and after meal preparation.
• Follows menu guidelines and adjusts when necessary due to availability of menu items or
an individual child’s needs.

The Assistant Cook’s responsibilities chiefly fall within the following core functions, although s/he may perform other tasks as needed.

Food Services
• Prepare assigned menu and participate in family-style meals with children, volunteers, and staff.
• Work in conjunction with the Cook to monitor family-style dining in classrooms and
document as appropriate.
• Maintain food service record-keeping and reporting as directed by supervisor.
• Conduct weekly inventory of food and supplies.
• Complete weekly food and supplies order sheets and fax to Headquarters.
• Check food deliveries for accuracy and for good quality. Notify Headquarters when an item is missing or of poor quality.
• Store food and supplies properly. Date all canned, boxed and bagged foods. Use the
FIFO method of inventory.
• Monitor and maintain proper food temperatures.
• Monitor and maintain proper temperatures of all refrigerator and freezers.
• Maintain appropriate cleanliness of all kitchen materials and supplies as required.
• Maintain list and be aware of center food allergies and concerns. Prepare alternate menu items as needed for the affected children.
• Assist in delivery of food to classrooms and of dirty dishes from the classroom.

Non-Essential Duties:
• Performs any and all other duties (or functions) as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to carry out each essential duty in a satisfactory manner. The job specifications listed below are representative of the education and experience as well as the knowledge, skill and/or ability (KSAs) required.
• High School diploma or equivalent
• Experience in purchasing and preparing culturally diverse foods for groups. Knowledge of
early childhood nutrition
• Physical exam and background checks are required for this position.
• Travel required locally or long-distance up to 10% of the time for work-related meetings
and functions.
• Must have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation

Preferred Qualifications:

ServSafe Certfication or obtain such certification within 3 months.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

• Ability to interact effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
• Ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing.
• Demonstrated computer literacy skills, especially Excel and basic data systems in MS
Office and internet navigation.
• Must be honest, dependable and able to meet deadlines.
• Self-motivated and able to work independently

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

Physical Requirements:
• Ability to stand, walk, and bend periodically.
• Ability to engage in repetitive movement of wrists, hands, and fingers – typing and/or
• Ability to work frequently at close visual range (i.e. preparing and analyzing data and
figures, accounting, transcription, computer terminal, extensive reading).
• Ability to receive and respond to oral communication.
• Ability to exert up to 50 pounds of force to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects.

Work Environment:
• Noise level in the work environment is moderate to occasionally loud (examples: business
office with computers and printers, light to moderate traffic, human voices).
• Standard office equipment generally used includes:
• Telephone
• Personal Computer (monitor, keyboard, and mouse) or Tablet
• Printer/Photocopy Machine
• Calculator
• Fax Machine
• May be required to operate a motor vehicle during the course of duties.

Instructions for Applying:

All applicants must apply online at by submitting the completed online application, a cover letter, resume, three professional references.

Restricted Clause:

Position contingent upon funding availability. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

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Applications close:

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