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30 food related career choices NOT including a restaurant chef

Chef creating recipes in the kitchen
Chef creating recipes in the kitchen
© ID-100186769

Talk to any of your friends or family members who work in a restaurant kitchen, and they will tell you about the long hours working nights, weekends, and holidays. They will tell you about the burns and knife related injuries, their sore feet and back problems, and the fast pace life of a restaurant chef. Many of us really enjoy this type of atmosphere as a career choice, however, it is not a fit for everyone. Here is a short-list of food related career choices other than working in a restaurant:

  • Catering/Food Truck - Depending on your business plan, the hours can be more manageable, you can control the volume of customers, and it is easier to plan ahead. This career path does rely on some marketing and promotion experience to increase customer awareness of your brand though.
  • Personal Chef - Those who have extra coin in their pocket sometimes like to have a chef on staff to cook for their family, friends, or corporate events. Unfortunately, if your boss would like a PB&J at 2:00am, make sure not to hurt yourself when cutting the crust off.
  • Chef Instructor - If you have a passion for teaching and a love for food, this may be the choice for you.
  • Corporate Chef - This position does require actual restaurant experience, but many large restaurant chains, food manufacturers, and retail outlets like to have a chef at the helm to develop recipes, train staff, manage consistency, as well as be the culinary spokesperson for their company.
  • R&D Chef - A research and development chef is part chef, part food scientist, and part product development specialist. They test and create food items for retail, foodservice, and manufacturers, as well as study consumer science and trend data to give you the goods you want.
  • Food of Beverage Scientist/QC/QA - Understanding the functionality of food and beverages, quality control, quality assurance, food safety, and the use of all of sorts on interesting things like gum, starch, and flavor systems. Basically the analytical assessment of foodstuff. (a.k.a. the 'mathlete' of food)
  • Market and Consumer Research/Analysis - Understanding consumer science, food trends, buying practices, and psychology of the food and beverage industry.
  • Consultant - You obviously need to have quite a bit of experience to be at a consultant level, but many companies will spend big bucks for those with training in specific areas, as well as allow for short term employment if you don't like to 'settle-down'.
  • Farmer/Forager - Truffles don’t grow on trees…well they do, but you have to find and gather them! Also, all those fruits, vegetables, and grains don’t just magically appear.
  • Livestock/Agriculture - Take farming a step further and understand the science behind breeding and growing for optimized and safe output.
  • Butcher/Fishmonger/Cheesemonger/Sommelier - Be a meat, fish, cheese, or wine expert and have lots of fun interesting factoids to talk about at parties!
  • Sales - Every industry around the world needs a sales guy to move their products.
  • Buyer/Purchasing - Every industry around the world needs a buyer to find products...kind of repetitive.
  • Import/Export - Having skills in international business as well as knowledge of all that documentation stuff is very important. Contracts, traceability yada yada yada...
  • Customer Service - Someone is on the other end of the phone when you call the customer service number printed on the package or on the website. They need to be able to talk about the product in a kind and professional manner even when you got one less chicken nugget than you were supposed to.
  • ​HR/Recruiting - If you have a large network of contacts and know how to find successful food industry professionals, this is a great choice.
  • Restaurant Designer/Equipment Supply - Build the restaurant, furnish the restaurant, develop and supply the equipment, and know how to use/fix it.
  • Manufacturing - The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is $2 trillion strong in the US, plus manufactured products for foodservice and B2B. Lots of opportunities.
  • Engineering - Chemical, process, facility, and mechanical just to name a few, all of which can be tailored specifically to the food and beverage industry.
  • Food Tech/IT - Develop that cool new food app, or streamline the ordering process and POS systems in restaurants or supermarkets.
  • Food Critic - Fancy trying new foods or dining out at restaurants, followed by providing honest (hopefully) opinions? This is a fun position but hard to become ‘THE’ food critic without a following or backing of a publication.
  • Food Writer/Marketing - Descriptive writing, tag lines, romance copy, content development and social network management. This is perfect for the foodie who may find it difficult to be in a kitchen.
  • PR/Publicist - This is someone who manages the public image of a brand or product. Finding ad sponsors, creating hype, pitching news releases, and working with writers to create content.
  • Event Planning - Their ain't no party, like an event planners party, cuz an event planners party has absolutely everything you would want at a party. You need unbelievable project management and attention to detail skills.
  • Food Stylist - Making food tasty is one thing, but making food aesthetically pleasing for pictures, packaging, and promotions is another. Hhhmmm, the burger on the commercial doesn't look like whatever I just bought...
  • Cook Book Author/Blogger - For those who have the knack for writing interesting and creative recipes in book form! Unfortunately the internet has cut down on book sales, so many have turned to blogging instead.
  • Entertainment/TV/Celebrity Chef - If you are a character and know how to perform in front of a camera, this could be for you. In fact, many of the current TV chef personalities aren't even the best cooks...'BURN'.

Each of these options have numerous, more specific titles depending on the experience you have, and what type of company you work for, So don't be sad if you love food, but are not the restaurant chef type...there are plenty of options for you!

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