Prison Architect Wiki

A Cook is a staff member of the prison whose main task is to cook food for the Prisoners. Cooks work in the Kitchen using Ingredients and a Cooker, and wash dirty Food Trays after each meal in a Sink. It is essential to hire one or several cooks early on when starting a new prison as they help to satisfy your prisoners' Hunger Needs.

One cook supplied with five cookers, five fridges, and several sinks will feed an average of 20 prisoners per two hour long mealtime in your regime.[verification needed]



Cooks carry stacks of ingredients from deliveries to the kitchen and store them in an available Fridge/Tall Fridge Cooks begin to prepare meals 4 hours before mealtime, so this must be considered when scheduling meal times in the Regime.


Each cook operates one cooker to cook a meal. After they prepare the meal on a cooker, cooks carry the food from the kitchen to the Canteen where they place the meal on an available serving table.


Cooks also need additional time after each meal to collect dirty food trays from the canteen, clean them in the sink, and then return the clean stacks of trays to their serving tables, ready for the next meal. The amount of time required will depend on the number of cooks employed, the number of sinks available, the number of prisoners working in the kitchen and whether or not work is scheduled for after the meal in the regime. Any uneaten food left on the serving table after mealtime is converted to garbage/recycled garbage by a cook before being removed from the canteen by a Workman.



The number of cooks required will depend on distances to Deliveries, the Staff Room, Serving Tables, distances between fridges and cookers, and the number of prisoners that you have assigned to work in the kitchen. The number of cooks needed can be reduced if Prison Labour is utilised. Without any help from prisoners, one cook will be required for each cooker.

Prison Labour

With the exception of being able to prep during the night when prisoners are sleeping, prisoners who have passed the "KitchenSafety and Hygiene program" or have previous cooking experience can be assigned to work the kitchen to effectively do the exact same tasks as cooks. Therefore it is advantageous to assign as many prisoners as possible to work in the kitchen. Since cooks start cooking four hours prior to mealtime, it is recommended that work is scheduled in the regime on the four hours prior to mealtime so that the prisoners can help the cooks to prepare meals. If work is scheduled immediately after mealtime, prisoners will also help to collect and wash dirty food trays.

Reform Program

Kitchen Safety and Hygiene

A cook will also lead the Kitchen Safety and Hygiene work program for prisoners in the kitchen. If passed, this program allows a prisoner to work in the kitchen, as well as adding 2 points to the prisoner's reform grading score. Each prisoner requires one cooker, and there must be at least one continuous work time-slot of at least 3 hours in the regime. While the work program is happening, the cook leading the program will not cook any meals, and none of the cookers used by prisoners during the program will produce meals for mealtimes. Players can create a second, smaller kitchen in which they schedule the Kitchen Safety and Hygiene work program to mitigate the effects of this.

Actions performed by Cooks

  • Move Ingredients to Kitchen from delivery, storage or pantry.
  • Store Ingredients in Fridge and/or Tall Fridge.
  • Load Ingredients into Cooker
  • Dump Stack (of Food Trays, Ingredients etc.)
  • Scrub Dirty Food Tray in Sink
  • Move Ingredients to Serving Table
  • Move Dirty Food Tray to Sink


  • Your cooks will only prepare meals for meal-times scheduled in the Regime; if none are scheduled no food will be prepared or served.
  • As of Alpha 16, the Cook can now work more efficiently in prisons with multiple canteens and/or kitchens.