Working as a chef can be thrilling and interesting, but it can also be a high-stress job that can wear people down.
So if you’re looking for jobs for former chefs, you’re not alone! Luckily you don’t have to leave the foodservice industry to find work that meets your tastes.
These are some of the best jobs for ex-chefs, and why they’ll suit you so well! Taking the next step in your career is huge, so don’t be afraid to consider more than one of these!
1. Restaurant Critic
Although the average person may assume chefs and restaurants fear critics, in reality, more national critics aren’t out for blood.
The job requires you to eat at multiple restaurants a month, try their menu, and write an opinion on the food based on what the average person would think of it.
Reviews would cover everything from cost to flavor, and allow you to use your chef background to explain why someone would like or dislike this restaurant.
It’s one of the best jobs for former cooks since you will have a deeper understanding of food prep. Many critics aim to be as anonymous as possible, which can be a lot of fun for those who want to feel like a spy during their day job!
Yearly salary, $88,000 (Work.Chron)
2. Food Blogger
This salary may be too low for many, but keep in mind that this is one job that is easily combined with another.
Working as a food blogger means writing short blog entries, stories, and posts, including images around your experience with food.
Not only can you cover recent events and experiences, but you can also dive into things that have affected you with food during your career as a chef.
This line of work depends on you having an interesting personality and enough stories to keep people reading. Plus, if you like working in your pajamas, this is a job with no uniform required.
Being a food blogger requires you to do a little bit of everything, from being a restaurant critic to a food stylist, and many say their worst nightmare is a romantic dinner since the lighting is never good for photos!
Yearly salary: $41,058 (ZipRecruiter)
3. Cooking Teacher
If customers have you burnt out and you want a career change that will rekindle your interest in food, nothing will do it as well as working as a cooking teacher.
In this role, you’ll work with colleges or technical schools and educate through a mix of lecture coursework and hands-on kitchen training.
Through this role, you’ll help people understand the passion behind cooking and possibly inspire them to cook more. Your schedule will also be pretty flexible, so it’s a perfect for someone wanting a job without deadlines.
Yearly salary: $51,262 (Glassdoor)
4. Food Stylist
As a chef, you more than likely put your skills to create beautiful and awe-inspiring dishes, as a stylist, you get to take it to the next level.
In this role, you’ll prepare food for photographs and television, preparing the dishes and using styling techniques so that the food looks incredibly tasty for the entirety of the photo or video shoot.
It’s a fantastic way to make money with art skills, but not one where you get to taste food or feed people.
Trends on the Rise
Although many professional food-based jobs are male-dominated, 92% of food stylists are women! This is considered an artistic and creative role that mostly offers freelance and gig work, so you have to be competitive all the same. Creating a good food portfolio is an awesome way to start – ensure that you include multiple foods and design types.
Yearly salary: $68,385 (Salary.com)
5. Health Inspector
Working as a health inspector is a vital job that allows people to feel safe when they go to restaurants.
In this role, you’ll inspect a variety of locations to check for health and safety hazards. You’ll need to ensure each business follows the sanitary codes and laws, monitor hygiene and cleanliness, and determine if the location is safe.
The unfortunate part of this job is that you’ll occasionally have to deliver bad news.
Yearly salary: $60,017 (Comparably)
As a dietitian, you’ll counsel clients on their nutrition issues and healthy eating habits. In this role, you’ll promote health and manage the disease.
The main emphasis will be on long-term life changes and helping people understand that major overnight changes in diet aren’t the way to gain a healthy lifestyle.
Over 30% of dietitians currently work in hospitals, but these aren’t the only places to find employment for this career.
Tactics for Success
- The main difference between dietitians and nutritionists is that nutritionists are not always certified to treat clinical conditions. Therefore, to become a dietitian, you’ll need to complete an undergrad or postgrad degree in nutrition and dietetics.
- You have to be capable of educating and working with people one on one in this role, especially since many are nervous about discussing diets when they feel judged or put down.
Yearly salary: $64,643 (Salary.com)
7. Catering Business Owner
If you don’t want to give up your love for cooking, just want to give up having to work in a restaurant every day, you’re not alone!
Fortunately, there are tons of options as a caterer that will allow you to make this work.
This is a role that primarily works during the weekend, although for the rest of the week, you’ll have to focus on food sourcing, client management, and any necessary prep work.
Math is a huge part of this job so that you can ensure to have the right amount of food for everyone, it’s time to brush up on this soon!
Yearly salary: $55,000 (Shmoop)
8. Recipe Author
If you love developing recipes and are fantastic at weaving in stories about the experiences that led you to that recipe, you’re going to do awesome as a recipe author.
In this role, you’ll test and create recipes people may enjoy, as well as work to weave in a story about the recipe.
Although many are confused about the story’s point, its main purpose is to protect the publication against theft, with the stories ahead of the recipe allowing you to claim plagiarization and copyright theft.
As a recipe author, work is usually pretty laid back, so it can also be a job with a lot of free time if you want.
Yearly salary: $60,322 (ZipRecruiter)
9. Product Sourcing and Purchasing
This is a great role for chefs who have an intimate understanding of the food world. In this position, you’ll help restaurants and food stores source and purchase items to either cook or sell.
As an employee in this role, there’s a heavy emphasis on ensuring that you find the best thing available within the budget your employer has set for you.
Over a quarter of Americans are heavily influenced by their food source to decide whether or not to eat or buy it, so this role is important.
Yearly salary: $92,820 (Salary.com)
10. Research and Development Chef
This is one of the most interesting roles you can take on as a chef, and many seek out when they leave the restaurant business.
As a research and development chef, you’ll provide creative culinary services to whichever development team you work for.
Not only will you create procedures, but you’ll also evaluate ingredients, perfect recipes, and improve profitability, all while ensuring it’s safe and high quality.
Yearly salary: $71,276 (ZipRecruiter)
11. Restaurant Consultant
Being a restaurant consultant is an exciting way to get still to help restaurants succeed while also getting to be hands-off. You’ll often be asked to wear many hats, so it can be a perfect career for a jack of all trades.
In this position, you’ll work as an advisor and help run any establishment you get hired by as smoothly as possible.
Not only will you need to identify and address any potential issues, but you’ll also need to be able to offer solutions or give ideas on how to correct these.
Yearly salary: $76,694 (Glassdoor)
12. Entrepreneur Restaurant Owner
Many may assume restaurant owners make tons of money, but a lot of it comes out before it even hits your pocket.
Most goes to employee pay, closely followed by the cost of the food and ingredients and the physical location of the restaurant itself.
This role requires a lot of passion for what you do, so take the time to consider it carefully before going for it!
50% of Americans say that restaurants are an important part of their lifestyle, so there’s an obvious market out there, even in modern times when most people seek out delivery!
Yearly salary: $65,000 (Pos.Toasttab)
13. Culinary Marketing Specialist
As a culinary marketing specialist, you’ll work on branding ideas, graphic designs, promotional materials, and advertising copies for companies in the culinary world.
There are strong ties to the advertising industry and could allow you to work directly in that depending on the company you go for.
To make this role work, an intricate understanding of the food industry, what people are interested in, and what looks and tastes good all matter.
Yearly salary: $63,352 (ZipRecruiter)
Although taking on a huge career change can be scary, especially if you’re working for a restaurant that depends on you heavily, you owe it to yourself to try new things.
Allow yourself to start fresh, and give one of these careers a try to see if it’s what you need.
Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.