The stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a foodie’s favorite time of year. From buttery turkey to gingerbread cookies, ‘tis the season of yumminess.
So we’ve put together a delectable selection of our favorite food-inspired careers. If you’re passionate about all aspects of edible goods — from their taste and look, to their origins and history — read on.
Showcase Food as a Food Stylist
As a stylist, you make breakfast, lunch and dinner look their best for photo and film shoots. Mixing your cooking skills with creative visual style, you use many tools — from lipstick and lard, to lacquer and lotion — to get a dish ready for its close-up. However, it’s not all about the artistic process: to protect your clients against legal issues, you’ve got to stay up to date on all truth in advertising laws.
Average Salary: $33,000–$58,000
Develop Food as a Flavor Chemist
Imagine being able to taste your job. Flavorists do it every day. These chemists use their deep knowledge of essential oils, flavor aromas, and botanical extracts to recreate and intensify flavors from nature — or create entirely new ones. The goal: give processed foods that oh-so-perfect taste.
Average Salary: $50,000–$92,000
Purchase Food as an Artisan Food Buyer
Without specialty buyers, food lovers wouldn’t be able to pluck that bottle of real Italian olive oil off the shelf, enjoy the tang of Indian turmeric, or add Madagascan vanilla extract to their chocolate chip cookies. Plus, when you’re not dealing with international trade regulations and paperwork, you can take time to sample your wares.
Average Salary: $37,000–$66,000
Explore Food as a Dietician
Most people associate dieticians with the idea of food restrictions. Yet much of a dietician’s work revolves around introducing clients to a whole new world of flavors, from the sweetness of blueberries to the spiciness of wasabi. Using your appreciation for good, healthy meals, you guide others toward better nutritional choices.
Average Salary: $42,000–$63,000
Write about Food as a Restaurant Critic
Of all the tantalizing food writer jobs — cookbook reviewer, food blogger — this one takes the cake. While this is a competitive field (who doesn’t want to get paid to eat?), if you’ve got a subtle palate to match your excellent writing skills, you too could thrive in this dream job.
Average Salary: $25,000–$51,000
Advocate for Food as a Food Activist
Whether working to improve school meals plans, fighting for better access to fresh vegetables in low-income neighborhoods, or striving to promote stronger food industry safety standards, it’s a food activist’s mission to promote sustainable and healthy systems from field to plate.
Average Salary: $26,000–$52,000
Study Food as a Culinary Historian
There’s no single path for this tasty career. You might write about the history of a food product (anyone read Salt?), lecture on the effect of the coffee trade on world politics, or consult on a film set to make sure the civil war soldiers are eating historically accurate grub. Regardless of the arena, you use your unique set of knowledge to highlight the historical aspects of food and its consumption. Bon appetit!
Average Salary: $33,000–$76,000
Salary info from the US Department of Labor
What’s your favorite culinary-inspired career?
Annie Favreau works for Inside Jobs, a career exploration site where people can discover what opportunities exist and learn what paths can take them there. Have an opinion? Join the conversation on Twitter @InsideJobs.