So, you have been a chef for a few years, you’ve worked your way up the food chain (pardon the pun) and feel like you’ve seen it all. Perhaps you’re wondering what’s next? Careers for chefs are anything but conventional, with high rates of burn out and venue-jumping it is not uncommon to find chefs looking to explore how their skills may be applicable to the ‘outside world’.
Luckily for those that have been trained in commercial kitchens, a chef’s skillset is a highly sought after one. Chefs typically have high levels of discipline and attention to detail. They work with precision and can repeat the same high-quality time and again. They’re trained to work well in a team and to always be open to learning new techniques and adapting. Really, chefs are a dream candidate for any job.
That’s enough flattery though. If you’re a chef looking for the next step in your career outside the commercial kitchen you would be forgiven for thinking there aren’t many opportunities out there. But we are here to assure you, there are several careers out there that are perfect for chefs. Read on and let us know which you like the sound of best…
Combine your cooking knowledge with a bit of creative flair to create delicious looking dishes for anything from TV ads to catalogues to recipe books. One of the best bits about this job is no one actually eats your food so you can use all sorts of crazy techniques to get it to look picture perfect. Although you may cringe the first time you realise that ice cream in the ads is actually mashed potato.
If you don’t want to spend long hours in a hot and cramped commercial kitchen but still love the buzz of the restaurant business, maybe you should consider consultancy. Consultants can specialise in everything from kitchen design to staff training. Were you particularly good at inventory in your past job? Or did the manager turn to you for menu design each season? Then that’s what you should focus on! Train others to be as effective as you in certain areas and enjoy the short projects that enable you to relax in between.
Companies that supply chefs (like us!) are always on the hunt for people who are passionate about food and ingredients to make the transition to sales. With a background in the commercial kitchen you will have a huge advantage over other salespeople who have never experienced what it’s like to work on the front line of hospitality. You understand how difficult it can be to source ingredients and can be trusted by chefs to help find the right ingredients. Plus with all of your friends still in hospo you’ve already got some leads lined up!
Perhaps you still want to cook but you don’t want the stress of a restaurant environment? Then a career as a personal chef could be just the fit for you. Personal chefs are certainly on the up in Australia, with everyone from celebrities to busy families looking for chefs to create custom menus for their enjoyment. The best thing about this is it can be super flexible, you can cook in your own home and deliver or cook in your clients’ home. You may cook daily fresh meals or set up your client a week at a time.
Food-themed tour guide
We bet your friends and family always turn to you for advice on the best new restaurant in your area? If you pride yourself on being on top of the hottest venues in town, perhaps you should consider turning that knowledge into a food-themed tour? You can guide tourists (or locals!) to the hidden gems in your area and give them insights into the food they’re being served. You could set up your own business, become a local guide via online platforms or approach local tour companies who are always looking for experienced locals.
Are you a detail-oriented chef? Good at following recipes to a tee? Cookbook publishers and recipe magazines are often on the lookout for recipe testers who can ensure everything from the oven temperature to the amount of salt in their recipes is perfect. This is often on a freelance basis so is an excellent way to keep your chef skills in-tune while pursuing other passions or career paths.
Are you a chef that has made the move to another career path? How has it gone for you? We’d love to hear from you – reach out on our Facebook page.