10 Cool Jobs in the Food Industry

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10 Cool Jobs in the Food Industry

Professional iPhone food photographer? Yup, it exists. Kohel Cara / Getty Images

When you think of jobs in the food industry, what first comes to mind? Probably roles like restaurant manager, bartender, barista, server, sous chef, and so on.

But, beyond these basic positions, there's a whole world of opportunity for those passionate about the culinary arts. For example:

Interested in capitalizing on the trend towards local and sustainable food? Work at a farmers market. 

Always dreamed of starting your own business? Consider becoming a craft brewer. 

Keen to study the science behind what makes food taste good and how to manipulate those flavors and textures? Look into molecular gastronomy.

These are just some of the options available out there, and if you're after inspiration for a unique culinary career, keep reading to learn about some of the coolest jobs in the food industry. 

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Molecular Gastronomist

Carrot caviar is one molecular gastronomy creation. Claudia Uribe / Getty Images

Carrot caviar. Cigar smoke ice cream. Mango foam. Balsamic vinegar pearls. Olive oil powder.

The world of molecular gastronomy is a strange one, but for chefs who want to take their cooking to the next level - or to another dimension, even - it can make an exciting and unique career choice. 

Molecular gastronomy - also called "modernist" cuisine or "avant-garde" cooking uses chemistry and physics to examine and experiment with the texture and taste of food. 

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Mycologist

Although most mushroom hunters do it as a hobby, those who are serious about it can make a killing selling their mushrooms to high-end restaurants. Aaron McCoy / Getty Images

Mycologists study mushrooms, a surprisingly tricky science considering the vast range of mushroom species and their diverse purposes. It takes a refined set of skills to be able to determine which mushrooms are poisonous, and which are deadly.

There are both professional and amateur mycologists - often called "mushroom hunters" - who make a living foraging mushrooms to sell to restaurants and food distributors.

Morel, Porcini and Chanterelle mushrooms are often in high demand, for example, and mushroom hunters tend to be very secretive about their most fruitful hunting grounds, as selling their findings can be an extremely lucrative venture.

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Urban Farmer

If you've always wanted to grow your own food but prefer the city to the countryside, consider a career in urban farming. Stephen Zeigler / Getty Images

These days, farming isn't just for country bumpkins. Environmentalists, entrepreneurs, and even everyday people are figuring out how to turn unused urban spaces into horticultural gold mines.

You don't need a background in urban farming to get involved. There are many small businesses popping up across North America that are focused on urban farming, with a demand not only for green thumbs but also for people with sales, marketing, fundraising, and communications skills. 

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Craft Brewer

If you're a die-hard beer fan, monetize your hobby as a small-time brewer. Nicola Tree / Getty Images

Craft brewing is becoming a popular endeavor, opening up a market for seasoned brewers and curious entrepreneurs to create and sell their own beer, wine, and cider. Although it can be difficult to get started, and hard to learn, craft brew is in high demand at bars, restaurants, farmers markets and local stores.

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Farmers Market Manager

Many farmers' markets employ vendors, managers, communications specialists, and more. Ojo Images / Getty Images

As the demand for healthy, local and sustainable food grows, so does the number of farmers markets. There are over 8,000 farmers' markets in the U.S. today, compared to just over 4,500 in 2008.

With the boom of farmers markets comes an increase in jobs, too. Larger market organizations - like Greenmarket in New York and the Ferry Plaza market in San Francisco - employ a wide range of individuals, from managers to business development staff to communications assistants, and there are also employment opportunities at smaller, local markets, too.

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Food Lawyer

Food law is heating up as attention is turned to the functioning of the food industry. Brand X / Getty Images

Food is a hot topic in the news. From factory farming to GMOs, there are legal battles being fought by lawyers on both side. The battles are bound to continue as more and more people take a closer look at the nation's food industry, an industry that some say is in dire need of fixing.

In addition to dealing with farming and food production, food lawyers also work with issues related to food allergies, food supplements, public health and safety, and worker's rights in the industry.

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Holistic Health Coach

Holistic health coaches use food, drinks and herbs to enhance their clients' health. Jana Leon / Getty Images

Holistic health coaches integrate natural therapies in their medicine practice, often focusing on the inclusion of health foods, herbal supplements, and wellness regimens like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.

Holistic health coaches who focus on nutrition help their clients plan healthy meals based on their individual goals and desires.
 

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Vegan Chef

Vegan chefs create delicious recipes without any animal products. Tara Moore / Getty Images

The food industry is buzzing about vegetarian, vegan and raw diets, and the weight of it all lands on the shoulders of chefs willing to craft plant-based meals that are both healthy and delicious. Is that an impossible feat? Not quite.

In fact, as more people discover just how tasty meat-free meals can be, vegan and vegetarian restaurants and recipes are becoming equally popular, creating opportunities for herbivorous chefs.
 

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Restaurant Designer

Restaurant design is a high-pressure, high-dollar field to work in. The International Photo Co. / Getty Images

 A lot of goes into the birth of a restaurant. Sure, a bulk of that time and effort is dedicated to choosing a concept and crafting a menu, but, there's a lot of work on the non-culinary side, too.

From architectural planning to interior design to lighting style to fabric selection, restaurant designers have a lot to take into account when putting together their ideas.

Some firms work exclusively in the hospitality industry, hiring architects, interior designers, project managers, and many other individuals who help bring a restaurant from concept to creation.

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Food Stylist

Food stylists generally come from a background in the culinary arts, but most have strong photography skills as well. Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Any aspiring chef knows it can be pretty difficult to make food taste good - and sometimes, even harder to make it look pretty.

Food stylists, however, tend to not be concerned with taste and generally focus on aesthetic appeal for commercial and editorial purposes, consulting with restaurants, grocery stores and publishers during photo shoots and making sure that the food looks as good - or better - than it tastes.

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Food Industry Job Resources

Yamada Taro / Getty Images

Ready to find your own cool job? Good Food Jobs is an excellent search engine that connects job seekers with a diverse range of gastro-opportunities in the industry. The website also runs a fun blog that highlights individual with unique food jobs. 

Keep Reading: Top 10 Jobs Without a College Degree

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