San Diego Zoo SENIOR COOK - ZOO in San Diego, California


San Diego Zoo

Job Code





Food Service

Average Hours per Week


Employment Status

With Benefits


Job Description:

JAMBO!It all began with a ROAR over 100 years ago!

San Diego Zoo Global is a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. San Diego Zoo Global operates three world-class facilities: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Our organization’s vision - we will lead the fight against extinction. Help us to make a difference for wildlife and begin your adventure with a career at the San Diego Zoo. Join the dedicated crew who are passionate about what they do and strive to create unforgettable experiences for our guests. Share your knowledge, skills and commitment to provide GRRREAT Customer Service and be a part of the ROAR with San Diego Zoo Global! 

Attire - The Society has a very conservative grooming policy. Tattoos may not be visible or must be appropriately covered while on duty. Jewelry may be worn if it does not detract from a well-groomed look or create a safety hazard. No facial or tongue piercing.Amenities - Located at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, this adventure offers ZOO Perks which include discounts on food/premium products, free and discounted admission to local attractions, and accrual of vacation and sick time (exception for some grants). 

Put your Passion for Wildlife to Work  

Location – Retail OperationsDuration – Year roundPositions available - 1Union position -Starting hourly wage: $18.88Requirements include:The Senior Cook consistently demonstrates leadership qualities as well as the desire and ability to engage in positive relationships with internal and external customers. Supports and mentors staff. This senior level Cook position serves as an assistant to the chef, coordinates and supervises the work of other cooks and kitchen workers. Essential functions for this position include performing a variety of skilled duties in preparation and cooking of various food items. Applicant must have cooking experience in high volume, fast paced, full service restaurants. An example of experience would be at least 3 years in a fast-paced restaurant setting and 1 to 2 years of previous cooking experience in a fast paced banquet environment. Must have sauté, broiler and line production experience. Ability to follow and provide verbal direction effectively and work in a team environment is required. Clear, consistent and courteous communication is necessary. Butchering experience is a plus. Selected candidates must have knowledge of inventory control procedures, appropriate temperature for cooking and holding food, ability to follow recipe accurately, understanding portion control, minimizing waste and adherence to recipes. Knowledge of preparing stocks, soups, and sauces without referring to recipe is highly desirable. Culinary school or previous experience supervising or training the kitchen crew is required. Minimum of 4 years of experience as a cook or relief cook and previous training in a full service restaurant that generates over $1 million in annual sales is considered a plus. Applicants must be available any of the seven days of the week including nights, weekend, and holidays.(Posted 1/10/2019)

Application Deadline: Friday, January 18, 2019


Job Requirements:


The Senior Cook performs all job assignments with a positive attitude that supports San Diego Zoo Global’s mission and vision of saving species worldwide by uniting our expertise in animal care and conservation science with our dedication to inspiring passion for nature and leading the fight against extinction. The Senior Cook works under minimal supervision, performs a variety of moderately difficult duties and exceeds expectations in the preparation and cooking of food in large quantities; assists chef in the overall planning and supervision of the kitchen.  This position reports to the Sous Chef. This class is distinguished from the Cook class in that the Senior Cook consistently demonstrates leadership qualities as well as the desire and ability to engage in positive relationships with internal and external customers.  Supports and mentors non-senior staff.  This senior-level Cook position, serves as assistant to the chef, coordinates and supervises the work of other cooks and kitchen workers, and  in absence of Chef may serve as acting Chef. 


  • Assists chef in menu planning

  • Prepares and cooks menu items

  • Ensures that preparations are complete for the day's menu

  • Prepares main and side dishes for banquets and buffets

  • Ensures that the kitchens are maintained in a clean and orderly condition

  • Orders supplies

  • Conducts the period-end inventory

  • Oversees daily food preparation

  • Corrects issues that affect food production, service or quality

  • Provides support to the chefs, manager, supervisor and lead of the area

  • Assists with new hire training and mentors staff

  • Engages in the organization’s mission and vision

  • Adheres to all SDZG and department policies and practices

  • Model for punctuality and professionalism

  • Exemplifies the highest standard of work ethics

  • Performs consistently above organization performance standards

  •  Practices the GRRREAT Customer Service Standards


  • Assists chef in menu planning and ensuring that all necessary preparations are made for the day's menu

  • Prepares and cooks menu items, including main dishes, side dishes, sandwiches, hamburgers, and steaks

  • Oversees daily food preparation to ensure that proper safety and sanitation methods are consistently followed

  • Orders supplies based on daily inventories and par sheets

  • Takes action to correct any issues that could affect food production, service or quality



Performs related duties and responsibilities as required.  


Education, training and/or experience which clearly demonstrate the knowledge and skills listed. An example of which would be extensive experience as a cook or fry cook, completion of a commercial cooking apprenticeship or other training program; experience in other restaurants and operations such as catering or fine dining. Knowledge of: 

  • Proper preparation and cooking methods for a wide variety of food items

  • Proper usage and care of commercial kitchen equipment and utensils

  • Sanitation and safety methods for food preparation and handling

  • Inventory control procedures and best practices

  • Informational Zoo facts

  • Effective customer relations skills

  • Effective leadership skills

Ability to: 

  • Cook and bake food in large quantities

  • Understand recipes and menus

  • Evaluate food condition, doneness, and decorations

  • Operate commercial equipment and utensils correctly and safely

  • Train and supervise cooks and kitchen helpers

  • Keep simple records

  • Use  cash register (as needed)

  • Accurately complete the period-end inventory

  • Maintain a passing grade on Environmental Health Department tests

  • Work in a high volume, fast-paced environment

  • Work in a team environmentand motivate others

  • Multi-task and prioritize

  • Follow directions effectively

  • Be a role model in all areas of performance

  • Deal tactfully and courteously with others

  • Competently perform the representative duties outlined above

  • Perform each essential job function at a high level



Frequent requirements to operate potential hazardous commercial kitchen equipment such as slicers, grinders and cooking grills; exposure to heat environmental conditions found where food is being cooked in quantity for long periods of time.  


Frequent requirements to move moderate to heavy objects up to 50 pounds; work on slippery surfaces and move about the kitchen area; ability to move about in assignedfacilities; standing for long periods of time; work safely on slippery surfaces.ALL NEW HIRES ARE SUBJECT TO PASSING A DRUG SCREEN.SOME EMPLOYMENT IS CONTINGENT UPON PASSING PRE-PLACEMENT TESTING.