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Yes, There's Such a Thing as a Flavorist, and 9 Other Awesome Food Jobs

Yes, There's Such a Thing as a Flavorist, and 9 Other Awesome Food Jobs


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Does professional fortune cookie writing sounds like a great way to earn a buck?

Yes, There's Such a Thing as a Flavorist, and 9 Other Awesome Food Jobs

iStockPhoto/ Thinkstock

Want to work in the food industry? Your options are a lot more varied than you might expect. Here are 10 food industry jobs that you probably didn’t realize existed.

Cheese Professional

Love cheese? Consider making a career of it. Working in a cheese shop can be a great way to get a foot in the door. Work hard enough and you could become an American Cheese Society–Certified Cheese Professional — similar to a cheese sommelier. From there you’ll be a hot commodity for high-end restaurants and cheese shops, and can even advise cheesemakers in best practices.

Culinary Tour Guide

Food tourism is a hot ticket these days, and culinary tours are a booming cottage industry. The most important part of the tour is the tour guide. If you’re passionate about the food and restaurants in your city and consider yourself a people person, it might be time to start your own culinary tour. Or you can become a culinary travel specialist for a company like Epitourean.

Flavorist

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Becoming a flavorist is the best way for someone who loves chemistry and food to combine their passions. Also known as flavor chemists, these scientists engineer both artificial and natural flavors; for example, they’ll spend hours combining chemicals to nail that perfect butterscotch flavor. These in-demand scientists take their jobs very seriously: there’s even a Society for Flavor Chemists.

Flavor Guru

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Hard at work inside the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont is a team of flavor gurus whose job is to invent new ice cream flavors. Many food product companies employ similar researchers in their research and development departments, and, especially at artisanal-style foods like Ben & Jerry’s, knowledge of chemistry isn’t a prerequisite.

Food Photographer

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We’re living in a golden age of food photography. Magazine and website food shots look so real and delicious they instantly induce hunger. Digital cameras, even those in our smart phones, have the capacity to capture extraordinary images if you know what you’re doing. So if you have a camera and photography equipment, consider throwing your hat in the ring by starting your own food photography website.

Food Stylist

Ever wonder why the food in magazines and advertisements always looks so perfect? That’s because a professional food stylist is called in to make it look that way. These artists do everything from sourcing to cooking to arranging and often shellacking food to give it that mouthwatering look. At magazines (and on Food Network), food stylists work in tandem with photographers to make sure that every featured dish looks great, and ad agencies hire food stylists to work in their creative departments as well.

Fortune Cookie Message Writer

Yes, it’s a real job: if you feel you’ve got a little Confucius in you, consider writing fortune cookie messages. It’ll never be a full-time gig (Wonton Foods, for example, the largest fortune cookie company in America, employs a team of freelance writers and requests new fortunes only every couple years), but it’s certainly a fun way to make some cash on the side.

Menu Designer

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Designing a menu is nothing short of an art. Not only do menus need to be easy to read and pleasing to look at, there’s also a science behind it: the items restaurants look to push the hardest need to be in one spot; the most expensive items in another; and some items fare best in boxes. If you have a knack for graphic design and an interest in psychology, seek out positions at companies like The Menu Company.

Recipe Tester

Before a recipe is published in a cookbook, magazine, or elsewhere, it needs to be tested and retested to ensure that home cooks won’t end up frustrated. In order to excel as a recipe tester, you’ll need to know what’s wrong with a recipe if it doesn’t work out: if it needs three eggs instead of two, for example; or if another half hour in the oven will push it over the edge to greatness. A you might expect, a culinary degree is mandatory.

Taste Tester

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Every food item needs to be professionally tasted and graded before it hits the market, and if you have a culinary degree you’re a prime candidate to become a taste tester. Foods are graded on criteria like texture, flavor, and viscosity. If you think you have an expert palate, it could be the perfect job for you. Be warned, though: not everything you eat will be delicious!


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