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Job Description:

Line Cook - Merchant - Madison, WI

Merchant, located at 121 S. Pinckney St. in Madison, WI, is seeking an elite crew of intermediate and veteran line cooks to join our team.

Rule No. One Hospitality Group opened Merchant in late 2010 as a café, a shop, and a late night craft cocktail bar specializing in no-nonsense, modestly priced, seasonal fare that reflects the ingredients and burgeoning culture of Madison, Wisconsin.  Here we celebrate our neighborhood, the First Settlement District, steeped in history, quality, authenticity, style, and entertainment.  The idea has flourished as Merchant has become a Madison institution and a stage for showcasing some of the best bartending and culinary talent in the city with a distinctive menu steeped in the classic American repertoire.  Now, in 2022, we are rebuilding and reimagining Merchant for the new decade with a state-of-the-art renovation featuring aviation-style windows, new finishes and wraparound seating. This will be an opportunity to rebuild not only with new decor and menu, but a culture that celebrates our hospitality group's mission to create spaces for treating each other and ourselves well.  You will be working with a chef team led by some of Madison's top talent, including Chef Matt Schieble who has spent time in multiple Michelin-starred kitchens and General Manager Maggie Roovers, a 2019 James Beard Award semi-finalist.

Our line cooks’ primary focus is on the guest experience while mastering our prep and cooking techniques and recipes to make our guests repeat customers and providing them with the finest quality fare.  The cook role is divided between food production, kitchen operations, culinary and industry knowledge:

Food Production

  • Knowledgeable about every product, recipe, sub-recipe, and menu item served including what it should taste like, what it is made from, what ingredients it contains and where it comes from.

  • Able to prep and prepare mise en place in an effective, efficient, and consistent manner with impeccable knife and safety skills.  Prep is consistent according to Merchant’s standard recipes and methods.

  • Able to fire dishes consistent within Merchant’s standard recipes and methods.  Must construct each dish for maximum consistency in appearance and taste with correct plateware and plating technique.

  • Every dish needs to demonstrate the skills of the chef with a keen awareness to improve speed and efficiency without compromising the quality of the product.

  • Communicate with teammates and FOH in a professional manner and keeping food flowing up to the pass as fast in a timed fashion per the chef expediting service

  • Keep stations clean, floors swept and surfaces wiped down periodically throughout the duration of their shift and service 

  • Work with FOH staff to deliver proper timing of meal progression

  • Purposefully follow all opening, closing and cleaning checklists as needed throughout the duration of the shift and service

  • Ability to work as a team and assist other cooks with any necessary production when time allows to ensure the overall efficacy of the kitchen


Kitchen Operations

  • Knowledge of all tools, equipment and systems in the kitchen maintaining safety and quality standards

  • Remain constantly aware of all allergens on the menu as outlined in the allergy sheets and dish cards provided by management

  • Manage your schedule responsibly by  handling all on-call shifts, time-off requests, getting shifts covered, and manager communications as needed. This includes arriving for all shifts on time or prior to your scheduled start time. It is asked that if you shall be more than 5 minutes late to your shift that you effectively communicate this to your direct supervisor on that shift be it the Executive or Sous Chef.

  • Protect establishment and patrons by adhering to sanitation, safety and alcohol beverage control policies outlined by Merchant and the Health Department


Culinary and Industry Knowledge

  • The Merchant line cook is expected to work with the Executive Chef and Sous Chefs to learn the mechanics of producing balanced dishes in line with our menu.  Every dish at Merchant has a reason and an inherent provenance that brings meaning to the menu and an experience to the guest.  Understanding menu assortment, taste profiles, construction of dishes, and most importantly, how they play into Merchant’s brand is the difference between a cook and a chef.

  • Be aware of the profit motivation of restaurants, minimizing and documenting waste, aware of relationships with suppliers, and contributing to the bottom line by thinking of specials or promotions, or helping to implement cost-saving initiatives.

  • Have an understanding of the palate in relation to taste categories and the mechanics of tasting in order to produce balanced drinks and how ingredients affect taste.

  • We are in the midst of a food revolution in America.  The Merchant cook is expected to work with ownership, and the management team, to understand that eating habits, the industry, and drinking culture have evolved and are evolving in order to serve it properly to the guest.

  • Work with the Executive Chef and management to extend your knowledge of the industry using Merchant’s reading lists, recipe books, etc.  ​


The role will report directly to the Sous Chef, Executive Sous Chef, and the Executive Chef of Merchant.


  • Competitive wages

  • A flexible and predictable schedule that is posted two weeks in advance

  • 50% dining discount for you and your friends and family

  • A free and healthy GF Vegetarian or Regular staff meal

  • 50% off all food and beverage, 15% off retail items

  • Access to Merchant's online classroom with training materials, recipes, and checklists.  After full orientation, we offer weekly paid training opportunities to taste wine, spirits and food with industry experts

  • Our mission is centered around treating each other and ourselves well through our love of food, drink, and community.

  • Sustainability must be possible and attainable in our industry!

  • All employees are offered health, dental and vision insurance

  • Paid time off

  • 401k contribution coming soon

  • The chance to work in a brand new clean facility with state of the art new equipment

  • The chance to contribute to one of the most dynamic restaurant groups in the region

Our ideal cook has the following attributes:

  • 2+ years of cooking experience in a professional kitchen

  • Calm, confident, and focused

  • Able to thrive in a team environment as a reliable and trustworthy player.

  • Awareness and communication are key.  Be vocal and communicative, communicating to managers and the kitchen team.

  • Be impeccably clean, neat and tidy in their personal appearance and also in their working habits. Must adhere to the uniform policy outlined upon hire

  • Also maintain the highest standards of hygiene in their workplace.  Sanitation is a vital aspect of working in the kitchen, equal to the ability to cook. 

  • Self motivated and respectful.  Respect across the kitchen team, FOH and bar, with caring for not only the employees but also the food and the process.  Promote the role of the cook as a Trade and a career and help spread professionalism throughout the industry.

  • Embody the organizational mission and caring, inclusive, and authentic values in terms of who we are and what we believe (outlined below).

Our Values:​

  • Inclusivity.  We will establish a culturally diverse and  inclusive environment, one that specifically supports minorities, all genders, and those historically underrepresented in our industry.

  • Humility. We are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes, and create the space for others to contribute.

  • Effective Collaboration. We are a team centered around positivity, that stands for one message which involves empowering others, empathizing with each other, and uplifting others as a collective.

  • Respect and Justice / Health and Well-Being. All team members need to be treated respectfully and fairly.  This pertains to equity in pay, and specific attention to physical/mental health, well-being and safety.

  • Positivity and Love of Food and Community. Cooking and serving others is a powerful act of caring and love for one another.  Let us work together to bring our community together through the power of food and drink

Pay Rate: total compensation $20-25/hr (inclusive of tip-out)

Merchant is an equal opportunity employer, with a mission to support women, Black, LGBTQ+ applicants.  As an organization, we support a minimum wage of $16/hour.

RNO is a mission-driven lifestyle company dedicated to creating spaces for celebrating and treating each other and ourselves well.  We seek to provide warm, fun and an endlessly interesting mix of inspired programming that challenges, invigorates and delights our guests by celebrating our craft, who we are, what we do and what we believe. As a community-driven hospitality management organization, we are active in social causes supporting women, Black, LGBTQ+, and Indigenous communities everywhere. Cook It Forward is a non-profit advocacy arm of Rule No One Hospitality, Inc. with a mission to address ongoing inequities in our food systems. We are all working collectively on social entrepreneurship, social equity, and social justice-- one meal at a time.

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Anfitrión - Lucille - Madison, WI

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