What Are Some Different Types of Culinary Jobs?
Most students who have graduated from top culinary schools or cooking colleges know the direction their career will take. Maybe you'll start as a sous chef and work your way up through the ranks at a four-star restaurant in New York.
Perhaps you'll work as a line cook until you save up enough money to open your own place in downtown Seattle. In most scenarios, the end goal is the same: that prestigious Executive Chef title.
However, one of the best things about getting a good culinary education is the incredible variety of options available to you. If you finally get that culinary arts degree and aren't quite sure if you can handle the next few years in the kitchen, here are a few positions you might want to consider:
Despite how it sounds, this isn't a fictional job. Made famous by Anthony Bourdain, who travels around the world experiencing first-hand the cuisines of the world, culinary adventurers (or culinary travelers) usually work for commercial food manufacturers or retailers.
The purpose of this job is to explore foods in their natural environment, learning how to use existing exotic ingredients and even discovering new ones.
These days, you can take almost any of the classical arts and put “food” in front of it to create a new kind of career. Food writers provide content for magazines and review books. Food photographers make culinary creations look good for the camera. Food artists mold, shape, and carve foods to create visually stunning pieces that are more art than cuisine.
Although donning a suit and working a traditional 9 to 5 schedule doesn't necessarily sound like a culinary career, the line between business and cuisine is not as firm as you might think. Many large corporations have branches that deal in food manufacturing and production, and having someone on staff who knows food is the way many of them try to gain an edge.
This is an especially lucrative field, particularly if you've got a business background to go with it.
Of course, if you have your heart set on becoming a personal chef, opening a bakery, or running a catering business, there's no reason why you can't use your culinary education to get as close to the food you've learned to cook as possible.
Just remember: one of the best assets of a good chef is creativity, and getting creative in your culinary career can open doors you never knew existed.
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.