While the Food Network may make it seem that it’s either be a world famous, TV-show-hosting chef or bust, in reality there are a lot of options available for graduates of a culinary school. Here are a few ways you can have an exciting and engaging career outside of the obvious, stereotypical choice of being a head or sous chef in a local restaurant.
Food stylists work with food in order to maximize the beauty in the way the dishes are presented and appear. The sumptuous looking dishes you see pictured in cookbooks and food magazines or presented on cooking shows have all been masterfully and painstakingly worked over by food stylists—they are the aesthetic quality control of the food world. Rather than simply working to increase the taste of the meal, food stylists find ways to maximize color or intensify the appearance (even sometimes using chemicals that make food “steam” for commercials!). Jobs as a food stylist can be found with magazines, marketing companies, and TV food shows, among other places.
Being a caterer involves a lot of the skills and training as being a restaurant chef, but allows you to be free of the constraints of the kitchen. Caterers get to go out and work with customers. The food they prepare, obviously, must be done in much larger portions, and caterers must know how to prepare food that will still be tasty and warm over the time it will be available on a buffet line.
An increasingly popular choice for culinary arts school graduates because of the trending popularity amongst the rich of having one, this rather glamorous job has a lot of appeal. Not only is being a personal chef one of the most lucrative positions a culinary arts school graduate can attain, but it is also one that allows for a lot of freedom: personal chefs have a few clients at most and are able to prepare and serve meals with a lot of variance (as opposed to restaurant chefs that must prepare the same dishes from a limited menu).
Cruise Ship Chef
If you have a culinary arts degree and love to travel (especially to get paid to travel!), this is the career for you. Granted, those who pursue a job as a chef on a cruise ship don’t make as much money as other more lucrative jobs, and often work much longer hours, but these other jobs don’t take you the tropics every week, either!
Cooking School Instructor
Those who can’t do, teach—right? Not in this case! Being an instructor is a great option for those who’ve graduated with a culinary arts degree and love food, but also love the academic world and love to teach. As with the previous career choice, this may not be the highest paying position open to graduates, but the rewards of encouraging students and inculcating in them a love of food can far outweigh this downside.
Ultimately, it is up to you to find out what career option best suits your interests and skills. The good thing is that your options aren’t limited to one field. Explore the wide world of food and find one of the many jobs that fits you best!
This article was written by Karl Stockton for the team at kendall.edu; for those interested in the culinary arts, Kendall can be of assistance with their culinary arts school degree programs.