Working Offshore As A Cook On Oil Rigs

Working Offshore As A Cook On Oil Rigs
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When most people think of oil rig workers they don’t think of bakers and cooks, yet someone on offshore rigs must cook for all of those workers. Here are some ways that you can get a job as a cook on an offshore oil rig with a catering company.

First, you will most likely be working for a company that is contracted by the oil rig. Offshore oil rig catering companies hire bakers, “camp bosses or head cooks”, cooks, dishwashers and cleaning personnel.

What Cooking Jobs On Oil Rigs Are Like

Working as a cook on an oil rig means that you are serving meals 24 hours a day. Offshore rig crews often work in twelve hour shifts so there may be six primary meals a day. Food is served cafeteria style for the most part, though some meals such as steak may be cooked per order.  You will also be expected to provide meals available for people who are working odd hours, such as service hands or overtime workers. Because you are feeding rig workers who are just waking up as well as those wanting an evening meal, you may have all kinds of things on the menu, from scrambled eggs to fried chicken. Many offshore oil rig cooks follow a traditional schedule of having certain menu items on days of the week. For example, Sunday may be steaks or fried chicken, while Fridays may be seafood night on some rigs.  The kitchen and eating area on an oil rig is called the “galley”, just like on a ship. Many offshore oil rigs are in fact classified as ships and have “abandon ship” and fire drills just like on a navigable vessel.

To be a cook on an offshore oil rig you will need to be adept at making delicious dishes from whatever you have on hand. Part of your job as head cook or camp boss may be to procure supplies from land and to do frequent, detailed inventory of what cooking supplies you have in the galley. Bad weather or other factors may make it hard to get food deliveries from shore, so keeping a well stocked pantry is essential for any offshore rig cook.  If you don’t have enough for everybody to eat, or you are not making the kind of meals the crew expects, you could be in big trouble from both the crew and your bosses.

Pay is usually more for cooking jobs with catering companies on offshore oil rigs than similar jobs on land but there are many more responsibilities. Even head cooks are often doing many of the menial jobs such as washing dishes, since it is a team effort to feed so many workers.  Offshore cooking jobs on rigs often come with good benefits such as medical insurance, retirement, vacation and overtime. Some catering companies follow a similar schedule as the rig workers, such as two weeks on and two weeks off. While it might be frowned on, some oil rig cooks work those two weeks on land in other jobs. Head cooks on offshore oil rigs may make over $60,000 a year with bonuses and overtime.

Get Your Resume In Order

Offshore oil rig catering companies will want a resume. Make sure to include any experience you have in preparing large meals, including catering, large restaurant or cafeteria work. Include references that you know will speak highly of your work. Military and institutional work experience are also helpful.

What Kind Of People Make Good Oil Rig Cooks?

You’ll probably be sharing a small quarters with other employees. There are not that many activities on a rig other than working and resting, with some time at the end of the day, if any, for reading or watching TV. You’ll need to get along with others, including the rig workers, and be above all, a good chef. In addition, you’ll need to be OK with being away from your family and shore for weeks. To get a job with an offshore catering company you’ll most likely have to pass a background check, which includes criminal history, and a drug test. You may also have to pass a physical exam and take any safety courses required.

Where To Look For Offshore Oil Rig Catering Company Jobs

Offshore oil rig catering companies serving the Gulf Coast include the following:

Aramark, http://www.aramark.com

The Compass Group, www.compass-group.com

Sonoco, www.sontheimeroffshore.com

Universal Sodexo, www.sodexo.com

Also look in the classified sections and websites  of newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle  and New Orleans Times Picayune for offshore oil rig catering jobs.

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