Bring Home the Bacon with These Fun Food Industry Careers

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Originally published on Baking with Basil

The Food and Beverage Industry is one of the most dynamic and challenging fields in the professional world. Many have their first jobs in the Food and Beverage Industry. Working as bussers and food-runners we cut our teeth learning about hard work, how to communicate in a work environment, and, of course, the value of a dollar.

Unfortunately, many leave their first restaurant job with a bad taste in their mouth. To veterans of the industry, that’s no surprise as they know better than most that low-level bar and restaurant jobs are no picnic. But the food and beverage industry is diverse, and it has many other positions that are both financially and personally rewarding. Here are just a few…

Chef

It’s fun to put on an apron and pretend to be a chef from time to time. A real chef, however, does much more than anything we can act out in the kitchen. In short, Chefs manage their restaurant’s entire back of house. That means not just setting the menu and cooking the food, but also handling orders from food vendors and making sure they manage the products they are ordering so that they are neither running out of food nor wasting money by throwing away food they did not end up using.

In terms of education, being a chef is, for the most part, a practical profession that does not technically require any formal education. While there are many prestigious culinary schools, only those at the upper end of the industry need attend. Even if you do end up going to culinary school, that usually only comes after a good deal of first-hand experience in a kitchen.

A chef’s journey is, in many ways, very old-fashioned: It involves apprenticing under a master of the craft and gradually honing your skills to manage your own kitchen.

Food Stylist

If this profession sounds new it’s because, well, it is. The profession of ‘food stylist’ has come up more and more recently as restaurant owners have embraced the fact that while they may know how to best cook their food, they may not know how best to present it.

I bet you didn’t know that much of our taste exists in our brain—not, that is, in our mouths. Say you have a deliciously prepared meal in front of you. Often, if it’s served sloppily, piled in an unappetizing manner, or on dishes that don’t match the setting, chances are you’ll enjoy it a lot less.

Food stylists often consult at the opening of restaurants, bars, and breweries. They work with owners and entrepreneurs closely to ensure menu item is prepared and placed in the most appetizing fashion.

Restaurant Designer

Restaurant designers sit at the intersection between hospitality and architecture. Just as presentation matters, so too does atmosphere. It’s so important, in fact, that it is regularly listed as one of the top reasons customers frequent their favorite establishments.

It’s true that consumers often dine out for the convenience of being served. But now that social media has become a hub for sharing our personal experiences, people seek out beautiful settings and ambiance for the perfect shareable photo. This goes a long way for businesses who spend good money on restaurant design because it means that their diners will do their marketing for them.

If you love creating a beautiful setting that enhances the dining experience, this is the career for you!

Mycologist

If you love food and you love the outdoors, consider becoming a Mycologist. Essentially, a Mycologist is a mushroom hunter. These fungi experts make their living by understanding the environments that exotic edible mushrooms grow in and foraging them.  Once mushroom are collected, the Mycologist sells them to luxury restaurants and other high-end buyers.

You can pursue a career in Mycology either as a professional or an amateur. Professionals typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or microbiology.

High-demand rare mushrooms include porcini, morel, and chanterelle varieties.

Urban Farmer

Farming is not just for gra-y hairs in blue jeans. The profession of ‘Urban Farmer’ has grown substantially in cities like New York and LA as an increasing number of city-dwellers have begun to yearn for green and healthy alternatives. Being an Urban Farmer is a great side hustle because it requires minimal time and space. Investing in both of those things now, means you can be picking your own fruit and vegetables to sell at local restaurants and markets before you know it.

Farming is also very psychologically beneficial. There’s something about the experience of growing food that simply makes people feel good about their contribution to the earth.

Holistic Health Coach

With the health and fitness industry bigger than ever, it is no surprise that ‘Holistic Health Coach’ has become a financially lucrative profession. For this career, you will need an education in human biology, nutrition, as well as a basic knowledge of cooking.

Self-care has become more of a movement than a personal endeavor. People are more aware than ever that taking care of their mental and physical health is integral for a long, happy life. Because Americans have been trained (since our inception) to believe that overworking ourselves is the only way to success, holistic health seems radical. Holistic Health Coaches are trained (and often certified) to unravel those core beliefs and to replace them with the belief that self-care leads to real success in all areas of life.

Craft Brewer

Becoming a craft brewer is an ambitious goal. It requires an ample amount of time and the pursuit of perfection. Because of the hours of demanding work that goes into this profession, it should first be a hobby before making it a career. If you stick with it, though, the rewards can be substantial.

Becoming a craft brewer involves many steps including a range of things spanning from learning how to brew different grains, getting certified in alcohol safety, and (sometimes) a pursuit in formal education. Many great craft brewers have made headway in their field because of their in-depth knowledge of subjects like chemistry, microbiology, and even engineering. In the end, craft brewers have a diverse set of skills that enable them create and recognize the taste of unique flavors of beer.

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Megan Glenn

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By Megan Glenn

Megan Glenn

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I'm a freelance writer and content creator who loves words, but loves a good story even more. I'm a lifelong learner and thus, love using research as part of my writing.