Salt, Pepper, and a Paycheck: Five Jobs for Foodies

Foodies are in demand. Whether you love to cook it, serve it, study it or write about it, there are plenty of opportunities to parlay your affection for food into rewarding employment. The food industry is thriving, and there are a host of ways to hop on the bandwagon. Some positions require years of training and experience, and some jobs will train you as you work. No matter what your experience level, if you have the passion, work ethic and creativity, you can get your foot in the kitchen door.  

Executive chef

Employing about 14 million professionals, the restaurant industry is among the largest private sector employer in the nation, second only to elementary and secondary schools which hold the distinction as the largest. The restaurant industry projects that 2015 sales will reach more than $709 billion, which will signify the sixth consecutive year of growth. Restaurant work is fast-paced and demanding, but it’s also a lot of fun. As you garner experience in the industry, your skills are transferable and in demand across the U.S.

Executive chefs usually hire and set the schedule for the kitchen staff, order the food and supplies for their team and prepare the recipes and specials. It’s a big job. That’s why they need the help and support of a stellar team to plate it up so flawlessly on a hectic Saturday night.    

It’s a competitive field, but experience and talent are well-rewarded. Medical, dental and 401K plans, once less common benefits in the industry, are becoming more standard.  

  • Number of Jobs: Simply Hired’s August 2015 data revealed 47,000 jobs for people who cook or bake; executive chef positions are among those.
  • Average Salary: $57,000
  • Search Executive Chef jobs

Military Food Service Specialist

The military needs foodies like you to help keep soldiers in every branch of service properly nourished and ready to meet the demands of their posts. If you are interested in learning the food trade as a military professional, the position comes with military benefits: paid training, medical benefits, G.I. Bill, student loan repayment, etc. To earn those benefits, you will need to learn the ropes as a soldier, attend boot camp and be prepared to serve your country. It’s a great way to start a career in the food industry, serve your country and get stellar benefits for yourself and your family.

  • Number of Jobs: Simply Hired’s August 2015 data revealed 18,000 jobs in non-restaurant food service; military food service specialists are among those.
  • Average Salary: $29,000
  • Search Military Food Service Specialist jobs

Hospital Food Service Professionals

If you are interested in food production and service, hospitals are there own microcosms of activity. It takes a vast team to feed the many patients, staff and visitors that hospitals see everyday. If you have a knack for food preparation, service and management, a hospital is a great professional environment to grow your interest. You can learn about the industry as you work your way up in a field where there will always be a demand for your expertise. Learn about dietary restrictions for various conditions. Receive training to interact with patients and to exercise care and tact in food presentation and delivery. Get experience in a growing and thriving industry. Your experience will be transferable and in demand at facilities across the country. Most hospitals offer benefits and increased salaries as you advance.

  • Number of Jobs: Simply Hired’s August 2015 data revealed 18,000 jobs in non-restaurant food service; hospital food service professionals are among those.
  • Average Salary: $20,000
  • Search Hospital Food Service jobs 

Registered Dietician

Work as part of a health care team and advise patients on how to use food to reach their optimal health. Develop dietary standards and assist with menu planning. Counsel patients about how to best care for their various conditions using food to aid them in their recovery. Dieticians can also use their expertise in the grocery industry to guide product development. They can work as food writers, weight loss counselors or recipe writers. If you have the experience and credentials, there are plenty of ways to apply your expertise.   

Food Scientist

This exciting field gives food lovers the chance to experiment with the public pallet, develop recipes that customers love and the processes for preparing them en masse. Food scientists enhance existing recipes to make them tastier, healthier or more cost-effective. They work with engineers, marketing professionals and other colleagues to test, refine and market the items on grocery store shelves. This position requires at least a bachelor’s degree in meat or food science. This is an engaging position that lends itself to a creative professional who is a good communicator and a team player.

Americans love food. The booming restaurant and food industry in the U.S. attests to the public’s enduring enthusiasm. If you share this affection, there are scores of ways you can put your affection to work. It’s a great time to be a foodie.