What Are Some Of The Top Paying Culinary and Hospitality Careers?
Few people get into the culinary field because they’re looking for a fast and easy path to riches—but that doesn’t mean you can’t earn a great living doing what you love.
Although it might take a few years to earn the right experience, get the necessary degree, and work up the ranks to your dream culinary job, here are a few of the best paying careers you can find in the food service industry. All statistics are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2015.
Executive Chef (Average Salary: $41,500 to $74,170)
Everyone wants to be the boss, don’t they? In a restaurant setting, this is no less true.
If you ask most culinary students what their ultimate professional goal is, the answer will be Executive Chef, managing chef, or restaurant owner. All of these professionals have a few things in common: they get to call the shots, they have creative control over the kitchen, and they are among the top professionals in their field.
Of course, this kind of prestige comes with its own kind of price tag. Even with advanced degrees from top culinary schools, almost all Executive Chefs have to prove their worth through years of hard work and culinary innovation.
Lodging Manager (Average Salary: $28,300 to $94,330)
Lodging managers who have a hospitality management degree from a top university can expect to enjoy large salaries and quite a bit of responsibility. In charge of overseeing hundreds of staff members, dining facilities and restaurants, and the entire hotel setting, hotel managers are equal, career-wise, to professionals like Executive Chefs or hospital administrators.
As is the case with most professional chefs, there is an experience curve in which the more time you put in as a lower-ranking employee, the better your chances of moving up through the ranks. Unlike other culinary careers, however, getting a Master’s degree in hospitality management can help you land a high-ranking job right out of school.
Food Scientist (Average Salary: $39,940 to $118,390)
Food science isn’t technically a culinary career, since there is a very strong chemistry and biology foundation that requires a few years of school at a traditional university. However, if you’re interested in the sciences as well as cooking, this could be a great choice.
Food scientists work in laboratories and in industrial food production facilities to help with issues related to food safety, quality, taste, texture, preservation, packaging, and product development.
In recent years, television shows, documentaries, and other inside looks at food manufacturing has put the spotlight on how our food is made and where it comes from. For food scientists, this kind of backseat approach is a daily task, and with the right education, it can be a very rewarding job.
Read, Read and Read Some MoreOne of the best suggestions I have for anyone thinking of going to culinary school or just getting into the restaurant industry is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from professional chefs who have worked in the industry and those who have taught in culinary schools.
There are many great books available to get you started in your culinary education and I suggest you read as much as possible before making that big decision to make sure this is the right move for you. Below is just a sample of books you might be interested in checking out.
For a much more comprehensive list of books for aspiring culinary, baking and restaurant management students, I suggest checking out my post on books for future culinary students and chefs.