Cook / Camp Cook

Essential Info

The Station Cook is an essential part of a large pastoral property, duties usually include cooking for up to 30 people breakfast, smoko, lunch and dinner, on some properties afternoon smoko is also required.

You will be required to assist in cutting up killers, making mince and sausages as well as preparing the stores order. You will also need to ensure the kitchen is kept clean, dining tables are wiped and that you maintain good hygiene.

A Camp Cook has basically the same responsibilities as above but instead of being based at the station will be based wherever the stock camp is camped. This means your kitchen might be fairly makeshift and usually in the open air, you may or may not have running water and you will probably have to boil water to heat it for cleaning dishes etc. You may have to do most of your cooking over an open fire.

Some properties have a mobile kitchen if they camp out a lot or move to different locations others move once and take everything in one go to a camp and stay there for weeks or months at a time. Being a camp cook requires you to be adaptable and prepared to camp out for long periods of time, you need to be able to make something out of nothing at times and be creative when supplies are limited.

Extra Duties

On some properties the cook is also expected to maintain a garden or lawn, feed pigs or chooks and other duties as outlined by the employer. You will usually be unsupervised and therefore need to be well organised and know how to prepare appropriate amounts of food for the number of people you are feeding. It’s also good to be able to use leftover food rather than letting it go to waste, and this will assist you to keep to a budget.

Tips and Advice

In order to be good at the job it’s essential there is a balance between feeding the staff well with plenty of nutritious food that will keep them healthy and able to work well, and keeping to a budget. It’s also important to be able to make good use of fresh food when it’s available, and stretch it out or use frozen vegetables and tinned fruit until the next stores order which could be as much as a month away.

Find out what your staff usually eat, it’s mostly traditional old favourites based on meat and three veg, it may not be what you like and it certainly won’t be the latest food trends from the city, but it will keep your staff happy and healthy.