Culinary Careers

Finding a job in the food-service industry

As Americans continue to expand their palates and develop a taste for more sophisticated cuisine from around the globe, the culinary industry will continue to grow at a fast rate. Currently, the culinary industry is experiencing extensive growth in the fine-dining industry. More people than ever before are interested in becoming a chef, largely due to the fact that the career prospects in the industry are so good.

Where Are the Jobs?

The culinary-arts industry has thousands of different jobs available, and no two jobs are exactly the same. Though many people picture a head chef when they think of a professional cook, in actuality there are many other positions available in the industry.

In addition to jobs in restaurants, there are culinary-arts positions available in hotels, resorts, schools, corporations, the media and even private homes. Where you choose to look for a job will likely depend on your personal tastes and preferences. Some people enjoy working in a high-pressure environment like the kitchen of a prestigious restaurant, while others prefer a more laid back atmosphere.

Standard jobs in the culinary industry include:

  • Restaurant manager
  • Cafeteria manager
  • Chef
  • Caterer

Unusual jobs include:

  • Food critic
  • Food photographer
  • Food researcher
  • Food Consultant

Career Placement

Most cooking schools offer some kind of career placement service to their students. If you’re already enrolled in cooking school or plan to enroll in the future, make sure to take advantage of this invaluable resource! Doing so may open up career opportunities that you may have never previously considered.

Meeting with instructors and the cooking school's career counselor and talking to past students is the best way to ensure you get the kind of experience you’re looking for. Actually working on a kitchen line and experiencing its related pressures is the only way to appreciate the realities of working in a restaurant.

Some students who sign up to do an internship at a posh restaurant are discouraged to find themselves stuck peeling potatoes and doing other rudimentary jobs. It may be a better idea to try to get placed with a small family restaurant where you'll be able to practice and develop more skills.

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