Emeril. Martha. Mario. These big names have turned their culinary careers into big businesses. From restaurants to cookbooks to television shows, today’s culinary stars have brought the culinary world out of the kitchen and into your living room. And with the opportunities constantly expanding, you don’t have to be an executive chef to make your mark. (Although that doesn’t hurt either.) Read on for five career paths that can help you break into the culinary world.
Maybe you’re more of a big picture/event planning kind of person. Maybe you like the excitement and hype behind a wedding, anniversary, or other milestone event. Starting a career as a caterer might be right for you. Caterers are responsible for every detail of event planning, from napkin color to hors d’oeuvres selection to dish washing, leaving their clients with nothing to do but enjoy the event. (Oh and by the way, did you know Martha Stewart herself got started by running a catering business out of her basement?)
Food Service Manager
At the end of the day, a successful business is about more than just great steaks and vintage wines, it’s a business. And even with the best culinary talent in the world, a restaurant can’t run without a good business foundation. That’s the job of a food service manager-to hire the right people, purchase the right inventory, and handle the bills and accounts so that the restaurant can turn a profit.
Seriously, who doesn’t want to spend their day surrounded by the sweet smell and tastes of cookies, brownies, and other pastries? Pastry chefs are knowledgeable about the history and preparation of our favorite desserts, and use their creative skills to keep these tastes new and exciting. (If you’ve heard about the recent chocolate-bacon-cupcake craze, you know what I mean).
Have you ever added a tablespoon of salt to a recipe when you only needed a teaspoon? If so, you know the result, and your meal probably ended up in the garbage. It’s a recipe editor’s job to catch these kinds of mistakes before they end up in published cookbooks. They may also help determine which cookbooks are the most marketable, and weed out the good recipes (white chocolate raspberry mousse… mmm) from the bad (road kill souffle a la mode… not so much).
Specialty Food Shop Owner
Have you ever been to one of those amazing corner shops that only sells cheese and has brands you’ve never heard of from Argentina and Nova Scotia? If so, you’ve entered the realm of the specialty food shop. These stores won’t sell mass market products from Kraft or Velveeta; instead, specialty food shop owners use their extensive knowledge of a particular product to treat their customers to tastes from around the world. In a market full of big box superstores, specialty food shop owners are carving out a nice niche for themselves. For information on how to get started, visit our specialty food shop owner career profile.
For full career profiles, educational requirements, and salary information for any of the culinary careers listed above, visit the myFootpath career profiles page.