Non-Traditional Careers Outside the Kitchen

Interested in working in the food industry but not really keen on sweating it out in a hot kitchen? Here are some cool non-cooking jobs that may take your fancy.

Food photographer – Yes, everyone with a smart phone is a food photographer nowadays, but it takes real skill to produce an image that can attract customers’ attention and make them want to invest in a service or a product. So if you have advanced photography skills, businesses may just pay for your photos. It helps to partner with a talented food stylist.

Average Salary: Freelance photographers earn between $18,000 to $36,000 a year. Top professionals, however, can rake in a cool $500,000! 


Food stylist – Much like makeup artists for actors, food stylists prep food to make it look attractive for commercials, cookbooks and photo shoots. Good stylists know how to translate a food’s taste, texture and even aroma to a photograph. A lot of food stylists have culinary training and a good understanding of how food will photograph.

Average Salary: $50,000.

 Photo Credit:  Emily Cavalier ,  License . 

Photo Credit: Emily Cavalier, License

Tasters – Yes, there are people who actually get to eat for a living. Wine, chocolate, coffee, tea, vinegar and ice cream tasters are trained to notice subtle differences in products, and gauge the freshness and quality of a product.

There are even supermarket food tasters, who taste tinned food. We're guessing that they don't have as much fun as the ice cream folks. 

Average Salary: Entry-level employees earn between $30,000 and $60,000. Senior execs can rake in six figures.

 Photo Credit: Vila Porto Mare | Chocolate & Wine by  Porto Bay Events ,  License . 

Photo Credit: Vila Porto Mare | Chocolate & Wine by Porto Bay Events, License

Food Writers – Remember Anton Ego from Ratatouille? The food critic’s every bite made the cooks at Gusteau’s quiver in their shoes. And with good reason. Food critics, with their sophisticated palates and knowledge of world cuisine are meant to be able to discern and appreciate different tastes such as umami, bitter and sour. Experienced critics can tell how fresh the ingredients are, how long the dish was cooked and how authentic the food is. They then write reviews in newspapers, blogs and magazines. Scathing reviews are common. Why? Monsieur Ego puts it simply -- “We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and read”. Other food writers include recipe writers, bloggers, and food magazine journalists.

Average salary: Food critics can make between $20,000 and $75,000, although their salary depends largely on their reputation and experience. Food journalists make less, and bloggers tend to charge per article.

There are plenty more careers in the food industry, so keep an eye out on for more articles on Careers in Food!