Summer Cooking Jobs and Kitchen Work
In addition to other hospitality jobs, resorts and hotels employ kitchen and dining staff. Some resort jobs, such as chef and bartender, require fairly extensive previous experience and licensing; others are entry-level positions. You can also find seasonal kitchen and serving staff jobs at large restaurants located in high travel areas during the summer.
These can be tiring jobs and you'll spend a lot of time on your feet, but they can be fun for the right person.
Working in the kitchens may not be glamorous and often involves very early or late shifts, but these are some of the Alaska seasonal jobs most open to new and entry-level workers. The season usually runs from the pre-peak season in early May through October, although actual Alaska summers are short- June through August. Be sure to also check out these kinds of positions with cruise ships. They are one of the biggest employers in Alaska, and even the housekeepers and stewards on cruise ships receive tips.
Seasonal Chef jobs
Most chefs, even seasonal ones, are considered the authority in the kitchen. Unless the restaurant already has a well defined menu, the chef usually creates a menu built on his or her own strengths and abilities as well as the local cuisine. If working at a smaller hotel, the chef may also be responsible for ordering food, maintaining the kitchen budget, and supervising kitchen staff members. He or she must also be knowledgeable of state and local health regulations and make sure all kitchen operations meet these, as well as safety considerations. This means you must have previous experience as a chef or at least as a sous chef in order to be considered for one of these positions.
Chefs will work varying hours, depending on the meals the hotel serves. Most hotels do a brisk breakfast business, so chefs will need to begin preparing breakfast as early as 5:00 or 6:00 AM, and chefs working the dinner hours may work as late as 11:00 or 12:00. Chefs are on their feet several hours of each workday, and kitchens are usually fast paced and hot work environments. You must have a passion for this kind of work to truly enjoy it.
Line cooks and prep cooks do not have the extra responsibilities that chefs do. They are basically required to prepare all of the food according to the chef's instructions. They must usually work together as a team in order to quickly prepare and plate food for guests. Cooks will still need to know proper cooking and serving temperatures and health and safety requirements, although these are often part of the training cooks receive on the job. To get a job as a cook, you may not need to have as much kitchen experience, and in some jobs you may not have to have any, but the better quality restaurants do prefer to hire candidates with experience. You will be required to work the same kinds of hours as the chef, described above, and you may work part time or full time. This is a great way to get kitchen experience to determine whether you want to become a chef or work a different occupation in the restaurant industry.
Hosts and hostesses oversee the dining room, greet guests, seat them, and process checks. Some hosts and hostesses are trained to tell guests about special menu items, which is a great way to sell higher profit meals. Hosts and hostesses should also be fairly familiar with the menu to so that if guests have a question about it they can answer it. Hosts and hostesses are key employees when it comes to turning around tables. Restaurants improve their profitability when tables can be turned as quickly as possible without rushing the guests. Hosts/hostesses must be vigilant and make sure that each time a table is available it is cleaned and ready for the next set of guests. At some restaurants, hosts/hostesses are required to clear and clean the tables. They may also be required to run the cash register, so previous cashiering experience may be required or preferred. Hosts/hostesses usually work part-time hours, and they can receive tips. Hours will vary, according to the meals the restaurant serves. Hosts and hostesses spend a lot of their time on their feet.
Waitstaff need to be friendly and have good customer service and sales skills. Waiters and waitresses take customer orders, and at some restaurants also serve the food, clear the tables, and make sure guests have everything they need. Refilling drink glasses is usually high on the job priority list and ensures that the waiter or waitress receives a good tip. Some guests can be very "high maintenance," asking for new silverware, extra napkins, a dish to be warmed up, cooled down, or remade. Waiters and waitresses need to be able to meet the guest's needs, while following house guidelines and policies. These are usually part-time jobs that are scheduled throughout the day and evening hours. In most restaurants you'll need to know what is in each menu item and how it is prepared in order to answer customers' questions. These can be very fast paced, high stress jobs, but tips can add quite a bit to your income. Previous experience is usually preferred, but not always a requirement.
Summer Bartending Jobs
Bartenders serve alcoholic beverages and sometimes food to guests. They must be over the age if 21 and hold a current Alaska TAMS training program card. They need to be knowledgeable of how to prepare mixed drinks according to guest orders. They are also trained to recognize when a patron has had too much to drink and have the right to refuse service to any guest who may be a danger to himself or others. Bartenders may also be required to prepare drinks for restaurant guests, order liquor and beverages for the bar, and wash glasses. Bartenders usually work part-time hours during the afternoon and evenings, and you will be on your feet during the majority of your shift. Experience is usually preferred, but not a requirement.
Buspeople clean the dining room, set tables, serve non-alcoholic beverages or bread and provide customer service. They may also assist the dishwashers. Since buspeople are key players when it comes to turning over tables, they often receive a portion of the waiter's or waitress's tips. A busperson who cleans a table quickly but well is an employee very much appreciated in the restaurant. In some restaurants, buspersons also bring out the trays of food to the waiter to serve, and help set up the dining room by putting on tablecloths, folding and placing napkins, silverware, candles, etc. Some employees need to be strong enough to pick up and move larger tables. As with most restaurant jobs, this is usually a part-time position, you will be on your feet most of your shift and you will work varying hours of the day and evening. While experience is usually preferred, it is usually not a requirement.
Dishwashers clean dishes and the kitchen, usually under the supervision of the chef. Since most restaurants utilize specialized equipment, the dishwasher should have some knowledge of how to run and maintain the equipment. He or she also needs to be able to work as a team to make sure there are plenty of clean plates and silverware while the restaurant is serving its guests. Dishwashing can be a fast-paced, hot job. You may have to have the ability to carry a stack of plates that weigh up to 50 pounds from one location to another. As with most restaurant jobs, this is usually a part-time position, you will be on your feet throughout your shift, and you will work day- and night-time hours. You usually don't have to have previous experience to get one of these jobs, but having past experience can make you a more attractive candidate to employers.