Institutional Cook

County of Orange
Full Time 0.75 per per week $50,814 - $68,369 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 $0.75 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 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 of similar or lower-level classifications.


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 Institutional Cook supervises paid staff and in some assignments is required to direct or train inmates and juveniles in the preparation, cooking and serving of food. In addition, the position prepares, cooks and serves food; checks menu for items to be prepared; estimates number of persons to be served; makes substitutions on the menu when foods indicated are unavailable; determines quantities of ingredients to be used for the number of servings to be prepared; assists in ordering, receiving, checking and storing foods and supplies; reports suspected violations of institutional rules and submits reports of inmate or juvenile ward violations of rules and regulations to a designated authority; prepares records and reports; inspects food preparation areas to see that sanitary procedures are observed and ensures that proper techniques and procedures are being used by persons engaged in food service activities. The position may also perform meat cutting and baking duties. Incumbents work rotating schedules including weekends, holidays, nights and on an emergency basis as needed. 

The ideal candidate will possess the following:
  • Experience working in the institutional food service industry (e.g. correctional facility, hospital, cafeteria, military facility, hotel, banquets/catering)
  • Six (6) months of lead/supervisory experience 
  • The ability to detect odors and other indicators of food spoilage, push, pull and steer food carts
General Knowledge of:
  • Practices, methods, and equipment used in preparing, cooking, and serving large quantities of food in an institutional, large commercial kitchen or similar setting
  • Common weights and measures used in cooking
  • Food handlers' sanitation and safety practices 
Some Knowledge of: 
  • Basic principles of supervision
  • Fundamentals of dietetics
  • Behavior of persons in detention facilities 
  • Sanitation methods in cleaning and caring of equipment 
  • Practices of ordering, storing and inventorying large quantities of food
  • Occupational hazards and safety precautions of kitchen areas and equipment 
Ability to: 
  • Supervise and train paid staff and/or oversee and train jail inmates or youths in the preparation, cooking and serving of food
  • Direct the preparation of and/or prepare, large quantities of food 
  • Coordinate cooking processes so that nutritional meals are prepared and served on time
  • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide up to four-digit numbers and fractions
  • Read and understand recipes, instructions, and labels
  • Prepare and maintain work and food preparation activity records and reports; inventory supplies and equipment
  • Maintain the security of kitchen equipment and utensils
  • Read, write, speak, comprehend, and communicate in English
Education and Experience:
One (1) year 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 six (6) months 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.

Please click to view 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.

To be selected for a position with the Orange County Sheriff's Department 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 Services (N.A.C.E.S.).

Human Resources l 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 County. 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.

Written Exam (Weighted 100%): 
A written exam consisting of job-related, multiple-choice questions will be administered. Invitations to participate in the written exam will be sent via e-mail.

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.

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 Felix at (714) 834-5857 or email at .

Please click for tips to complete your application.