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Old 12-21-2005, 05:19 PM   #1
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Question Careers in food other than being a chef

OK I hate my job and I have been thinking more and more about a career with food as it is obviously something I love. The problem is I don't want to be a chef I don't think. I do want to cook, but I don't want to work in a restaurant. I want to work a normal schedule (as normal as possible) and I would prefer to now have to work holidays. I know that working in a restaurant means crazy hours and working all of the holidays. What I would really like to do some day is own my own place where I sell prepared foods for people to take home for dinner, but I have no food experience yet and zero business skills so that dream is not something that is going to happen any time soon.

What I want to know is what jobs are there out there that would have me working with food (cooking, prep, etc.), but not in a restaurant?

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Old 12-21-2005, 05:21 PM   #2
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There are catering services, but, those can be crazy hours also.
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Old 12-21-2005, 05:30 PM   #3
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What about working in a deli? Working in a deli would allow you make sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, etc. I know some deli's that even make lasagnas and other entrees that can be purchased to take home.

My mom works in a restaurant as a prep cook and her hours are not that bad. She works from 7:00 am to 2:30 pm. Every once in awhile she will work some odd hours if the restaurant is catering a party or some other function. But the restaurant that she works at is only open for breakfast and lunch.
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Old 12-21-2005, 05:30 PM   #4
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What about supplying dishes to a restaurant? You make them, they serve them? Or supply cakes/puddings etc to a bakery?
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Old 12-21-2005, 05:33 PM   #5
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What about supplying dishes to a restaurant? You make them, they serve them? Or supply cakes/puddings etc to a bakery?
Ishbel, that is what a friend of mine does. She makes cheesecakes for a bakery in return for kitchen time.
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Old 12-21-2005, 05:33 PM   #6
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GB, it's like you have read my mind. I do some catering. Mostly small jobs of 10 people or so but once in a while I have a BIG job where the corp asks for me by name. I just did a gig for IBM here in CHicago for 300 people. It was at a hotel and they were a bit miffed that food was being brought in from outside the hotel. Oh well, right LOL

I don't do enough catering to justify doing it full time. I get maybe 1 or 2 gigs a month. What I would really like to do is give cooking demonstrations for the 'spatula challenged'. Kinda like have a little shop with a few kitchen stations and sell some wines, cheeses, coffee and maybe higher end cookery. Maybe host a wine tasting once a month and a cooking class once a week specializing in contemporary California cousine or possibly French inspired dishes. Perhaps a class devoted just to making sauces and another class on soups & stews. Maybe even have a class on making food oriented gift baskets. Not that I have knowledge in all that. It's just something I've been thinking about for a while.
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Old 12-21-2005, 05:52 PM   #7
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GB,
I've heard that owning your own restaurant may possibly be a 24/7 job with lots of sleepless nights. Some people who begin this type of business are barely making ends meet without a profit for the first few months, or even years simply because they lack something unique about their business. Brainstorm what you really KNOW that would make a difference in your restaurant and that's when you'll catch customers' attention. Customers go for the uniqueness you offer in your business. If you're selling prepared foods for dinner, what will be that special niche that will make your customers come back for more? Target your market as close as possible - location, location, location is the way to go as well. I truly wish you all the luck in the world. I like teaching kids but I would absolutely LOVE having my own food business one day too.
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Old 12-21-2005, 06:14 PM   #8
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geebs - get a job as food critic for the newspaper! You are articulate and have a sophisticated palate.

Think of all the new places you get to try..............
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Old 12-21-2005, 06:39 PM   #9
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geebs - get a job as food critic for the newspaper! You are articulate and have a sophisticated palate.

Think of all the new places you get to try..............
Mudbug that would be a dream job for me, but don't you usually need a degree in journalism for that?
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Old 12-21-2005, 06:51 PM   #10
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GB,
there is a place here that does dinner "my way" You go in, and look over the menu of what is being made up for any given day and meal.You then place your order/s This place will then bag up each thing you need, seasonings, meat, pasta, etc and you take it home and put it together, for a little more money they will also put it all together for you and you just heat and serve..It seems to be doing well..Both my daughters have used them and say the food is really very good...
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Old 12-21-2005, 09:39 PM   #11
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Consider running a small cafeteria for a business. You prepare breakfasts and lunches for employees and guests and are done following lunch.

Usually the company provides the space and the equipment. As an employee you would get benefits. As an independent contractor, you miss the benefitss but keep the profits.

If you can find a place that has a lot of customers passing through, they'll want a nicer setup to impress them. You could have a lot of creative flexibility.
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Old 12-21-2005, 09:54 PM   #12
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How about for a food broker, restuarant design?
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Old 12-21-2005, 09:56 PM   #13
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Raine what does a food broker do?
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Old 12-21-2005, 10:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
OK I hate my job and I have been thinking more and more about a career with food as it is obviously something I love. The problem is I don't want to be a chef I don't think. I do want to cook, but I don't want to work in a restaurant. I want to work a normal schedule (as normal as possible) and I would prefer to now have to work holidays. I know that working in a restaurant means crazy hours and working all of the holidays. What I would really like to do some day is own my own place where I sell prepared foods for people to take home for dinner, but I have no food experience yet and zero business skills so that dream is not something that is going to happen any time soon.

What I want to know is what jobs are there out there that would have me working with food (cooking, prep, etc.), but not in a restaurant?
The only cooking gig I know of that has you working normal business hours and holidays off is in the cafeteria at a school. I just don't know if I could stomach making the same crud they fed me when I was in school. Of course, times are different know, so who knows?
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Old 12-21-2005, 10:34 PM   #15
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I've always thought I'd absolutely enjoy being a food stylist or even (lol, if I had the talent) a food photographer. While both are obviously in bigger demand in large cities like NY and LA (aka, where a lot of the glossy mags are produced and films shot), they are jobs that are required to some extend more or less everywhere. Being a home-ec or high school cooking teacher would also be a wonderful job.

You could also think about creating and trying to market your own line of food(s). What do you love to make? Is there a possibility that something you make is a "hot ticket" food item? Could you fill a niche market?
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Old 12-21-2005, 10:39 PM   #16
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You could also think about creating and trying to market your own line of food(s). What do you love to make? Is there a possibility that something you make is a "hot ticket" food item? Could you fill a niche market?
This is something I had thought about for quite a while as I do have a sauce I made that everyone who tastes it says I should sell it. The problem gets back to me not knowing the first thing about business. I could make the sauce, but I would not know where to start with marketing, selling, projecting inventory needs, etc. What I need (at least to start with) is a job working for someone where all of that is taken care of. What I am thinking of is something along the lines of cooking for one of the food shows or something like that.
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Old 12-21-2005, 10:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piccolina
I've always thought I'd absolutely enjoy being a food stylist or even (lol, if I had the talent) a food photographer. While both are obviously in bigger demand in large cities like NY and LA (aka, where a lot of the glossy mags are produced and films shot), they are jobs that are required to some extend more or less everywhere. Being a home-ec or high school cooking teacher would also be a wonderful job.

You could also think about creating and trying to market your own line of food(s). What do you love to make? Is there a possibility that something you make is a "hot ticket" food item? Could you fill a niche market?
Actually, most of the magazine stills like that are done in Chicago. I used to do some modeling back when I was 18 and learned that most of the catalog print as well as box & packaging photos are mainly done here. I got to see studios in use while they were taking pics of Betty Crocker stuff. Kinda cool. That was 15 years ago or more.
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Old 12-22-2005, 03:05 AM   #18
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Have you considered Culinary School? Maybe something here will give you some food for thought:

http://www.e-rcps.com/learn/courses.htm

Another thought -- I would go to the library or a book store and consume everything I could re a (culinary) new career interest. Local newspapers may list seminars you might attend and you could follow up with some business classes at a community college. I took a Career Planning course at a community college. The test results may surprise you as to what career you would be best suited for.
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Old 12-22-2005, 03:20 AM   #19
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What about giving cooking lessons? There seems to be great demand for it now. You could specialize in whatever you enjoy most. A local restaurant even gives lessons for children on Saturday morning. With new and better ways of cooking coming about every day, it would be a very interesting way of earning a living while enjoying yourself.
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Old 12-22-2005, 06:28 AM   #20
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GB, you most certainly don't need a degree in journalism to do food writing! You are an articulate writer, have a great food 'sense', and are able to pick up all the subtlies necessary for writing. Why don't you do some 'sample' reviews of restaurants you've been to - or, the next time you go to a restaurant, pay attention to what you're being served, how you're being served, etc, and then just write a little piece here for us to "review''?

Look to your little local papers, also, for potential employment sources, not just the big 'dailies'.

If you want to hands-on cook, I'll share how I started; I was like you, no professional experience at all. Called and called and called restaurants in my area, and finally found a head chef who was willing to take me on as a prep cook - then the day I started, discovered he had made me responsible for the 'pantry'! Which in restaurant language reads all aps, salads, sandwiches and desserts!! You could do the same for 'gourmet' delis in your area; the hours are usually much better than restaurant hours. Although, again, my first job above, I told him I could only work days, and he put me on days with only 1 night, which was a slow Monday, so most of the time I could leave early to get home. Now - the down side is - the pay for this is not much more than you could make working at Mickey D's!!!!
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