Head Institutional Cook

County of Orange
Full Time 1.50 per per week $56,555 - $76,232 Per year CA Orange County Sheriff's Department - Headquarters, 550 N Flower St, Santa Ana, CA 92703, United States



In addition to performance-based merit increases, this position is scheduled to receive salary range increases on the following dates:

Effective June 28, 2024 – 4.25% increase

Effective June 27, 2025 – 4.00% increase

Salary may be negotiable within the range listed above, based on position requirements and successful candidate's qualifications, subject to appropriate authorization.

Premium Pay
In addition to the hourly salary, eligible applicants may receive premium pay for:
Jail Supplement Pay: 

An employee in this classification who is assigned to work in a correctional setting will be paid an additional $1.50 per hour for all hours paid.

This recruitment is open to the public and will remain open on a continuous basis for a minimum of five (5) business days, until the needs of the Department are met. Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply immediately.Incumbents will be periodically rotated through assignments, shifts, including nights, weekends, holidays and correctional facilities. 
This recruitment is open to the public and being held to establish an open eligible list to fill vacancies in this class until the next recruitment. The eligible list established may also be used to fill positions in similar/or lower classifications.   The current vacancies are within the Orange County Sheriff's Department; however, the eligible list may also be used by other County of Orange agencies or departments to fill their vacancies. 

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is among the largest in the nation, providing exemplary law enforcement services focused on a collaborative, dedicated and innovative approach to public safety. Our nearly 4,000 sworn and professional staff are committed to serving the needs of Orange County through 6 organizational Commands comprised of 23 Divisions. Together, these Commands and Divisions provide services including land, air and sea-based patrol, custody operations, investigative services, emergency management, coroner services, forensics, and specialty operations, among an extensive list of other public safety services.

The Inmate Services Division includes Commissary Operations, Food Services and Correctional Programs. The Division provides quality products, professional services, and nutritional meals for the County’s inmate population in a fiscally responsible manner. It is also responsible for offering rehabilitative opportunities and re-entry programs aiding in successful community reintegration. This Division consists of more than 150 personnel and 400 volunteers working with a variety of County/community stakeholders. The staff, volunteers and stakeholders assure that the Sheriff’s Department meets or exceeds Title 15 of the Minimum Jails Standards by providing support services, including meals, commissary, educational, vocational, religious, recreational, and re-entry transition programs to foster rehabilitation and reduce recidivism of inmates once they leave the Sheriff’s custody.  

The Food Services Unit operates a total of five kitchens, three inmate dining halls, three warehouses, and prepares over 3.8 million meals annually. Utilizing approximately 81 professional staff members along with inmate kitchen crews, Food Services provides three nutritionally balanced meals to each inmate housed at the County's five jail facilities. In addition, Food Services prepares special medical diets ordered by Correctional Medical Services staff for inmates with special dietary needs as well as religious diets, court ordered meals, cold bag meals for inmates attending court, County inmate work crews, and emergent operations situations. These meals must meet or exceed the requirements set forth by the California Board of Corrections Title 15, the National Academy of Sciences Recommended Daily Allowances, and the California Retail Food Code. The Food Services' Public Health Nutritionist analyzes all menus to ensure the Sheriff stays in compliance with the above mentioned guidelines and provides similar nutritional services for the Probation Department.  

The Head Institutional Cook is responsible for the supervision, training and oversight of work for cooks, food service workers, and/or inmate/youth workers who are performing or assisting in food preparation and cooking at a County facility. Incumbents are responsible for coordinating the preparation of meals to ensure adherence to scheduled mealtimes and for inspection of final food products in adherence with established quality standards and dietary guidelines.
The ideal candidate will possess the following:
  • ServSafe certification, but not required
  • Experience working in the institutional food service industry (e.g. corrections, military, schools, hospital, airline feeding)
  • Knowledge of various computer software programs, food service management information systems
  • Experience in a food service supervisory/management position
  • Familiarity with County, State, and Federal health and safety regulations related to food services
Thorough knowledge of: 
  • Practices, methods, and equipment used in preparing, cooking and serving large quantities of food  
  • Menu planning, quantity ordering and inventory control
  • Principles of supervision
  • Common weights and measures used in the preparation and cooking of food
Ability to:
  • Supervise the preparation, cooking and serving of large quantities of food, which may include special – i.e. medical or religious - diets and cafeteria food  
  • Coordinate cooking processes so that meals are prepared and served on time
  • Supervise lead workers engaged in seven-day-a-week food preparation and cooking activities
  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide up to five-digit numbers, including fractions in some assignments
  • Read and understand administrative procedures as well as recipes, labels and instructions for food preparation
  • Keep detailed records on food service activities and costs and prepare written reports
Education and Experience;
Option I
Two (2) years of experience as Institutional Cook with the County of Orange.
Option II
Three (3) years of experience preparing and cooking large quantities of food in a correctional facility, hospital, cafeteria, military facility, hotel, banquets/catering or similar setting; must include one (1) year of lead/supervisory experience.
Some assignments may require possession of a valid California Food Handler Certification by date of appointment.
Some assignments may require possession of a valid California Driver License, Class C or higher, by date of appointment.
Click to view the class spec/job description.
The County of Orange is committed to providing a means for applicants who may have a disability to identify areas in which they may request a reasonable accommodation. The following is a description of the physical, mental, environmental, and working condition abilities, which are customarily required to perform the essential job functions of this position. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Recruiter for any questions or to request an accommodation during the testing/selection process. 

Physical and Mental Requirements:
Ability to perform physical tasks such as lifting above shoulder level; lifting up to 50 pounds with frequent lifting and/or carrying of objects weighing over 25 pounds; bending, stooping, squatting, crawling, standing and/or walking for long periods of time; speak and hear well enough to communicate clearly and understandably in person and over the telephone.
  Environmental and Working Conditions:
Frequent exposure to machinery, electrical appliances, fire, heat, cleaning chemicals, sudden temperature changes, slippery surfaces, and noise/vibration, steam/hot water and cramped areas.
Applicants must not have been convicted of a felony or be on any form of probation and must pass an extensive background investigation to the satisfaction of the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner.
Background screening includes completing of a Personal History Form, interview with a background investigator, fingerprinting and may include a polygraph test. Some of the areas considered in the background screening include prior convictions, traffic violations, drug use and credit problems, employment history, professional references and education verification (i.e. degree, license, or official transcripts. Foreign degrees require an evaluation of U.S. equivalency by an agency that is a member of the National Association of Credentials Evaluation Services (N.A.C.E.S.).
Human Resources | Minimum Qualifications
Sheriff Human Resources screens all applications to identify the most qualified candidates for the position based on the skills required to meet the needs of the Department. After the initial screening, the qualified candidates will be referred to the next step and notified of all further procedures applicable to their status in the competition.
Structured Oral Panel Interview (Weighted 100%): 
Candidates will be interviewed and rated by a panel of job knowledge experts. Each candidate's rating will be based on responses to a series of questions designed to elicit the candidate's qualifications for the job. Only the most successful candidates will be placed on the eligible list.
Based on the Department's needs, the selection procedures listed above may be modified. All candidates will be notified of any changes in the selection procedure.
After all procedures have been completed, Sheriff Human Resources will establish an eligible list of qualified candidates.
Veterans Employment Preference
The County is committed to providing a mechanism to give preferential consideration in the employment process to veterans and their eligible spouses and will provide eligible participants the opportunity to receive interviews in the selection process for employment and paid internship openings.

Please click to review the policy.  
Only on-line applications will be accepted. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of on-line applications. Application information must be current, succinct and related to the requirements in this job announcement. Your application should demonstrate your professional experience and education related to the specific qualifications/duties listed in this bulletin, including areas which you have developed expertise. For specific information pertaining to this recruitment, contact Mary Cortez-Valadez at (714) 834-5834 or email at .

Please click for tips to complete your application.