Professionally trained chefs and cooks are in demand as the culinary arts scene worldwide is hot, happening and constantly expanding. While restaurants have become destinations for celebrations, relaxation and sharing good food and wine with friends and family, chefs have become celebrities with their own TV shows, fancy restaurants and tantalising deli shops. Other areas that have experienced rapid growth are catering, food styling and food writing/publishing.
There are a wide variety of career opportunities in the culinary world. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular areas of work and what they entail.
1. Chefs and cooks
Chefs and cooks, professionally trained culinary artists, work directly with food by preparing, seasoning and cooking a wide range of delicious grub – from soups, snacks and salads, to main dishes, side dishes and desserts – in a variety of fields such as catering, institutional dining, corporate dining, restaurants and various other food service venues. Chefs tend to be more highly skilled and better trained than cooks.
2. Dining room service
The profession of managing a restaurant is known as dining room service. Associate, bachelor and graduate degree programs are offered in restaurant management by colleges and some universities throughout most countries in the world. Good service is essential to be successful in the food service industry, and anticipating the customer’s need is only one of the important elements to focus on when you are working within the dining room service industry.
3. Food and beverage managers
Food and beverage managers plan, organise, direct, control and evaluate the operations of restaurants, bars, bistros and other establishments that serve food and beverage – such as hotels and resorts. Apart from managing skills, food and beverage managers also need to have excellent customer skills.
4. Food and beverage controllers
Food and beverage controllers control the sourcing, ordering, purchasing and issuing of food and beverage goods in establishments such as large hotels, as well as manage the stores and stock control.
5. Consultants and design specialists
Food consultants and design specialist can work with restaurant owners in the development of menus, layout and design of dining room etc. They can also specialise in the design and development of food and drink products.
Salespeople within the food service industry introduce chefs and business owners to new products and are able to demonstrate the proper use of cooking equipment. They may sell any range of products needed in the industry – from various food products to different types of cooking utensils.
Teachers within the food service industry train future culinary professionals with their experience in the classroom. To become a food teacher, your education/degree should have a strong food focus – such as home economics, food science, food product development, nutrition, hospitality etc.
8. Food writers and food critics
The terms food critic and food writer can be used to describe a writer who analyses food or restaurants and then publishes the results of their findings. Those who share their opinions via food columns in newspapers and magazines are known as food columnists. Food writers need to establish contact with the public on food trends, chefs and restaurants. Many write for newspapers and magazines, and some publish books.
9. Food stylists and photographers
Food photography aims to produce attractive photographs of food for use in advertisements, packaging, menus or cookbooks. Professional food photography is a collaborative effort that usually involves an art director, a photographer, a food stylist, a prop stylist and their assistants. The role of the food stylist is to make the food look attractive in the finished photograph by carefully and artfully arranging the food and translating the perception of taste, aroma and appeal that one gets from an actual dish, to a two-dimensional photograph.
10. Research and development kitchens
Developing new products for commercial manufacturers, those working within the food service field of research and development spend their day in test kitchens for publications, or in kitchens for restaurant chains or grocery chains.
11. Dieticians and nutritionists
Dieticians and nutritionists help promote good health through proper eating. They supervise the preparation and service of food, develop modified diets, participate in research and educate individuals and groups on good nutritional habits. They can plan food and nutrition programs and run food service systems for institutions such as hospitals and schools.
Many culinary artists develop their own businesses – such as restaurants, bakeries and specialty food stores. Not only do you need to be able to cook if you are looking for a career opportunity here, but you’ll need to develop your skills in traditional management, finance, accounting and marketing, while also building on the entrepreneurial spirit needed to start your own company.
So whether you dream of being a pastry chef or a sushi chef, opening your own cake-decorating business or a cosy country bistro, writing for top food magazines or publishing your own cooking book, becoming a dietician or a nutritionist – a career in culinary arts is the way to go. There will always be numerous opportunities worldwide in all fields related to culinary arts, as food will never go out of fashion!
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