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A kitchen helper has the primary responsibility of keeping the kitchen at a restaurant or other food service operation clean and orderly. He usually has many other duties as well, depending on the type of establishment in which he works. In addition to his cleaning duties, he might assist in the dining area or help the cook with food preparation.
A kitchen helper sweeps and mops floors, and washes work tables, cutting blocks and boards, refrigerators, walls and any other surfaces. She separates recyclables from garbage, then removes all this waste material and places it outside in appropriate containers. She also cleans the kitchen garbage cans at least once daily.
The kitchen helper commonly has dish washing duties. He washes trays, pots and pans manually, and scrapes food from dishes before placing them in the dish washing machine. He cleans the interiors of glasses when necessary, such as when milk has dried on, and loads glasses and flatware into the dish washing machine as well. After the machine cycles, he unloads the items and stores them on shelves or in cupboards.
Kitchen helpers sometimes do food preparation work to assist the cook. They might wash, peel and slice vegetables and fruit. They measure and assemble ingredients for frequent orders to save time for the cook. Kitchen helpers also may be responsible for packing up take-out orders.
Dining Area Assistance
Some kitchen helpers assist in the dining area as well. They may be responsible for removing used dinnerware from tables and counters, and setting tables for the next customer. They might stock salad bars and buffet tables.
Kitchen helpers may work any shift, and many of them work weekends and holidays. The jobs can be full-time or part-time. Kitchen helpers are on their feet most of the work day, and may need to carry heavy trays of food and dishes. The kitchen can be very warm and noisy, and floors can be slippery. As of 2009, hourly pay for kitchen helpers ranged between $7 and $13 depending on years of experience, according to the PayScale salary survey website.