Every few weeks I’m invited to speak to the newly arriving students at culinary school. I tell them I teach a class on love affairs.
I am the matchmaker.
I want to know what each student loves (not what he or she likes) to do.
With a little bit of luck, I can suggest ways in which they can marry their hobby or unique skills with their culinary knowledge as they seek a long and fruitful career.
I’m astonished to discover how many budding chefs yearn to own a truck. A truck that serves every kind of food from cupcakes and rice pudding to Korean barbecue.
Today I talked about the calendar. The US Tennis Open is coming up. So is the World Series. A sports fan may want to cook at the private dining room of a sports franchise or become a private chef for an athlete.
Dancing with the Stars employs a personal chef for each competition. Personal chef jobs are on the rise. It is one of the best jobs for an entrepreneur who can start a business without requiring a capital investment.
I spoke about jobs in art and design; photographer, food stylist, kitchen designer, and special event cake designer. Create a wedding cake in oil and acrylic paint to frame and preserve for ever and ever (or as long as the marriage lasts.) become a chef in a museum, create a food exhibit, become a lecturer on the topic of food in fine art? Become a recipe developer for Panera or Starbucks (or Dunkin D’s.)
Tasting is a good and well paying job. Taste ice cream, coffee, tea, olive oil. Chew gum. No kidding. Nestle is one of the companies that employs chewing gum tasters. There are real jobs that require super taster to… well…taste…all day. .
How about becoming an ethicist, a futurist or a trend tracker?
Or work on Wall Street analyzing food companies?
Or work for a food foundation or as a humanitarian or lobbyist or inspector to trace the source of contaminated food.
Here are just a few ideas for working in the food media: investigative journalist, vegetarian columnist, historian, folklorist (why do so many Jews go out for Chinese dinner on Sundays?) The late Professor Alan Dundes examined this question with his students who also study the allure of violent sports, holiday traditions and even the mystique of the vampire.
Said Dundes: “As a psychoanalytic folklorist, my professional goals are to make sense of nonsense, find a rationale for the irrational and seek to make the unconscious conscious.”
How about taking up a career as a food memoir writer, biographer, commentator, geographer (do you know what a food geographer does?) trade magazine reporter, supermarket observer, radio host, (I’d like this job myself,) essayist, restaurant reviewer, food book reviewer (not only cookbooks but also food books dealing with politics, profiles of food companies etc.), catalog writer, TV star, ingredient shopper for TV star, TV producer, obituary writer for former food celebrities. Preparer of last meals in the federal penitentiary leading to a possible book contract for Meals to Die For.
I had only three minutes to describe my food jobs class so I didn’t have time to even mention careers in education, farming, science and technology or rare, unusual and extraordinary culinary careers so instead, I’ll get around to them in this blog. Please come back soon.
Have a nice day (as they say at the bank!)