10 Careers in Food to Lead a Flavorful Life

Published November 23, 2021
chefs preparing food on kitchen counter at restaurant

Are you fascinated by food? If so, maybe you should consider a career in the food industry. There are a lot of interesting options in this field; from jobs focused on growing or preparing food to careers that involve developing or selling food products. Explore a few of the different careers in food and you just might get some great ideas for a fascinating career path that will help you live your best (and most flavorful) life.


If you love preparing food and functioning as a leader in a team environment, working as a chef might be the perfect career path for you to take. Chefs oversee food preparation in commercial kitchens. Their jobs involve developing and testing recipes, creating menus, overseeing kitchen staff, and working with suppliers. Most chefs work in restaurants or in food service operations at hotels, resorts, or banquet facilities. Some work on cruise ships. The median pay for chefs is around $54,000 per year.

Pastry Chef

Restaurants and other foodservice operations that offer high-end desserts or a wide selection of baked goods often have a pastry chef on staff. A pastry chef has specialized expertise in developing recipes and preparing all kinds of baked goods. Many also work with various kinds of sweets, such as candy, sugary sauces, or other types of desserts. The average pay for pastry chefs is around $57,000 per year.

Restaurant Manager

If you like the idea of working in a restaurant but are more interested in the administrative and guest services aspects than doing the actual food prep work, consider a career in restaurant management. Restaurant managers are responsible for overseeing all day-to-day operations, including hiring and managing kitchen staff, servers, and hosts, as well as overseeing the budget. Some advance to district manager jobs. The average annual pay for restaurant managers is around $56,000 per year.

Cake Decorator

If you're looking for a way to link your artistic skills to your love for food, consider becoming a cake decorator. This career involves working with icing to decorate cakes based on customer orders, or to sell to walk-in customers. Cake decorators often work in bakeries, supermarkets that have on-site bakeries, restaurants, or catering businesses. Some are self-employed small business owners. On average, cake decorators earn around $30,000 per year.


If you love the idea of preparing food for special events, consider pursuing a career as a caterer. Rather than preparing individual meals in a restaurant, caterers prepare large quantities of food to be served at special events like wedding receptions, awards ceremonies, and business meetings. Professional caterers often work for catering companies or event facilities, such as convention centers and banquet halls. Some caterers are self-employed. On average, caterers earn around $27,000 per year.

Culinary Arts Instructor

If you're looking to combine your love for food with a passion for teaching, consider becoming a career and technical education (CTE) instructor who teaches in the culinary arts program at a high school, community college, or career college. This type of job generally requires experience in the occupation and a degree. Jobs in K-12 school may require a teaching certificate. The median pay for CTE teaching jobs is around $59,000 per year.

Food Safety Inspector

Food safety inspectors combine expertise in science and safety to help ensure that food products prepared and sold to the public for consumption are done so within safety guidelines. Some conduct safety and compliance inspections in restaurants and other locations where food is sold, while others work in food manufacturing facilities or inspect the conditions under which food is transported or stored. The median pay for food safety inspectors is around $55,000 per year.

Food Scientist

Food scientists are researchers who explore ways to more efficiently produce food products and/or improve their safety. Some work for government agencies, like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), while others work for food growers or manufacturers, such as packaged foods companies. This lab-based role requires a degree in food science or another field of scientific study. Some positions require graduate degrees. The median pay for food scientists is around $69,000 per year.

Food Sales Representatives

Food manufacturers and distributors hire sales representatives to develop distribution channels for their products. They are responsible for identifying prospective customers and convincing them to stock or purchase the company's products. Some work with supermarkets, shop owners, and online retailers. Others work with restaurants and other organizations with large foodservice operations, such as hospitals and schools. The average pay for food sales representatives is around $57,000 per year.

Food Brand Manager

Food brand managers are marketing professionals who are responsible for the brand strategy for a particular food product or line of products. They typically work for food manufacturers. Their duties involve tracking sales figures, gathering customer data to ensure that the product meets their expectations, figuring out the best way to promote the product, and taking steps to ensure that sales are strong. The average compensation for food brand managers is around $71,000 per year.

Many Careers in Food

These are just a few examples of the many career options related to food. Many people begin their careers in fast-food jobs or server roles, but those jobs are just the beginning. From the careers listed above to careers in agriculture or nutrition, the possibilities for careers in food are nearly endless.

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10 Careers in Food to Lead a Flavorful Life