15 Jobs for Chefs Looking To Change Careers

Updated March 10, 2023

Chefs are food service professionals who design menus and prepare meals for guests in a restaurant setting. Being a chef can teach you a variety of skills that may be useful when looking for a change in career. If you're a chef considering a job in a different field, it might be beneficial to learn about what professions require skills similar to the ones you developed as a chef. In this article, we list 15 jobs for chefs who are looking to change careers.

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15 jobs for chefs wanting a career change

Chefs have an extensive knowledge of both food and cooking techniques and may also have leadership experience, customer service expertise and collaboration skills. These skills are often in demand in many other industries, which can provide opportunities to chefs who want to pursue a new career. Here are 15 jobs that chefs may consider when changing careers:

1. Personal shopper

National average salary: $36,169 per year

Primary duties: Personal shoppers are in charge of planning meals and shopping for private individuals or families. They require an expertise in many types of cooking so that they can plan meals on a weekly basis, identify the correct ingredients and find places to purchase them. Some families may want to improve their healthy eating habits and personal shoppers may benefit from a knowledge of nutrition. Aside from developing shopping lists and purchasing food, personal shoppers may also be responsible for developing a manageable food budget for their clients.

2. Cafeteria manager

National average salary: $36,516 per year

Primary duties: Cafeteria managers are food service professionals who oversee the cooking and serving operations of cafeterias. They may work at grade schools, university campuses, office buildings or other locations that provide cafeteria service to staff or customers. Cafeteria managers often plan meals and manage inventory to ensure that enough ingredients and cooking supplies are available to match the menu requirements. They're often in charge of managing the cafeteria staff, creating schedules for their employees and ensuring that they follow all health and safety protocols while working. They may also help in food preparation, meal service and cleaning duties.

3. Food stylist

National average salary: $39,505 per year

Primary duties: Food stylists are creative professionals who create visually attractive food displays to aid in product sales. They may work for a variety of different employers, including creative consulting agencies, magazine and newspaper publishers and media companies. Their primary job is to prepare food using a variety of cooking techniques to match the needs of their client. They then arrange it for photo shoots and filming sessions. Their job may require them to prepare many types of dishes in an attractive and marketable way, and an extensive knowledge of food and cooking techniques is often very important.

4. Nutritionist

National average salary: $41,239 per year

Primary duties: Nutritionists work to ensure that their clients eat in ways that improve their health. They often work with clients on an individual basis to understand their health goals and to create plans to meet them through healthy eating and supplements. Nutritionists may use their client's tastes and budget to guide their plans. After starting a nutritional program with a client, they often document their progress towards their health goals and adjust their plans when necessary. Nutritionists often benefit from an extensive knowledge of human nutritional requirements as well as the health effects of different foods.

Related: Learn About Being a Nutritionist

5. Caterer

National average salary: $44,164 per year

Primary duties: Caterers are food service professionals who provide meals to a variety of different events. They are responsible for preparing menus that fit the requirements of their clients, purchasing food and beverages, preparing meals, transporting them to event locations and serving food to guests. Caterers often require an extensive knowledge of food preparation and service techniques as well as food safety and transportation protocols. They may also work to set prices with clients and may set up and remove tables, chairs, silverware and cooking equipment before and after events.

6. Health inspector

National average salary: $46,232 per year

Primary duties: Health inspectors are local government employees who work to ensure compliance with health and safety codes. They require knowledge of all local, state and national laws and regulations that govern safety in food storage, preparation and service. They often conduct routine inspections of local establishments, including restaurants, bars, coffee shops and grocery stores. Inspectors look for health code violations, write reports and give establishment personnel guidance on maintaining their compliance. They may also conduct inspections for establishments seeking liquor or food service licenses and may testify in legal proceedings that concern health code violations.

7. Hospitality manager

National average salary: $47,978 per year

Primary duties: Hospitality managers are professionals who oversee the operations of hotels. This can include making schedules for staff, conducting interviews, training and onboarding for new employees and maintaining health and safety compliance. Hospitality managers often oversee the processes of hotel restaurants and bars and may help to develop menus, manage inventory and interact with vendors. They may also handle disciplinary actions for employees, respond to guest complaints and oversee the budget of their establishment.

Related: Learn About Being a Hotel Manager

8. Dietitian

National average salary: $49,948 per year

Primary duties: Dietitians work to improve the health of their clients through healthy eating habits. Unlike nutritionists, they often require a license to practice. Dietitians communicate with their clients to assess the root causes of health issues and to discuss their nutritional and dietary goals. They then create eating plans to help improve the wellbeing of their client. They may also monitor their clients' progress and keep records of their treatment in order to assess the effectiveness of their dietary plans.

Related: Learn About Being a Dietitian

9. Restaurant general manager

National average salary: $50,916 per year

Primary duties: Restaurant general managers are leadership professionals who oversee the daily operations of a restaurant. They often manage their restaurant's employee processes, including recruiting, interviewing, training and onboarding new employees, and developing staff schedules. They may also be in charge of payroll and benefits for their employees. General managers are often present during hours of operation, ensuring compliance with health and safety protocols as well as monitoring the quality of their restaurant's food and service. In many cases, they may also respond to customer feedback and complaints and work with vendors to provide inventory for their establishment.

Related: Learn About Being a General Manager

10. Food salesperson

National average salary: $55,768 per year

Primary duties: Food salespeople work for vendors selling food and food service products to restaurants, bars and other establishments. These professionals often look for sales leads by contacting potential customers via email or phone. They can then schedule meetings and pitches with potential clients to convert them into paying customers. Food salespeople often require an extensive knowledge of the food service industry and an understanding of their customers' requirements and their company's offerings. After they make sales, they are often responsible for ensuring the satisfaction of their customers and maintaining their relationship over time.

Related: Learn About Being a Sales Representative

11. Kitchen designer

National average salary: $56,875 per year

Primary duties: Kitchen designers are creative professionals who plan kitchens for private or commercial use. They meet with clients to determine their requirements and to develop blueprints that meet them. They then work with contractors and clients to ensure that they implement the designs effectively. Kitchen designers often benefit from experience with culinary processes and food storage methods as well as familiarity with plumbing, electrical requirements and design software. Aside from their technical skills, kitchen designers often have a talent for creativity and aesthetic design.

12. Restaurant owner

National average salary: $58,094 per year

Primary duties: Restaurant owners are professionals who own culinary establishments and their responsibilities can vary depending on their restaurant. Many restaurant owners are entrepreneurs who start and manage their own businesses. In these cases, they often benefit from culinary experience, including cooking, food storage, health protocols and kitchen management. Restaurant owners are also in charge of the business element of their restaurant and may develop business plans, manage budgets and funding, find investors and plan company expansions. Some owners are hands on and perform many managerial tasks, while others hire general managers to handle daily operations.

13. Food writer

National average salary: $60,129 per year

Primary duties: Food writers are professionals who write and edit pieces concerning food and culinary issues. Some food writers may work as bloggers who write about local restaurants, recipes and travel experiences. Others may work as food critics for newspapers or magazines, traveling to local restaurants to give reviews of their offerings for their publication. Food writers may also work as authors, writing cookbooks, travel guides or memoirs. Most food writers require an expertise in writing and editing, typing skills and an extensive knowledge of food, restaurants and culinary techniques.

14. Food safety specialist

National average salary: $71,975 per year

Primary duties: Food safety specialists are professionals who work to monitor the safety of food and protect the public from food-borne illness. They use their knowledge of health regulations to assess the quality and safety of food products and packaging. Food safety specialists often work in laboratory conditions testing food samples and often require a knowledge of laboratory technology and food science. They may also travel to food manufacturing centers and packaging plants to identify possible public health risks and to ensure compliance with health and safety protocols. Food safety specialists often compile their findings in reports for government officials.

15. Private chef

National average salary: $91,510 per year

Primary duties: Private chefs are food service professionals who prepare meals for individual clients. They often work with their employer to learn their meal preferences, develop budgets and plan menus. They are often responsible for finding ingredients, purchasing them and preparing high-quality meals using a variety of culinary techniques. Personal chefs often specialize in certain types of cooking and are responsible for understanding the likes, dislikes and allergies of their clients. In some cases, personal chefs may travel with their employers and might cook for larger parties when their employers have guests.

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