Savvy Tips & Helpful Hints

5 Exciting Kitchen Jobs that Don’t Require Expensive Trips to Culinary School

Culinary school has an allure that’s hard to deny, but it carries significant financial risk these days. Savvy foodies are looking for other ways into the kitchen. With a passion for what you are doing and a food handlers certificate, you can become a professional foodie with an intimate connection to the kitchen. Here are some of the gigs you can pursue that don’t require expensive degrees.

Personal Chef

A chef for a five-star restaurant might be expected to hold degrees and have formal training. Often, a personal chef is someone who cooks good meals and is willing to do so professionally. There’s a budding market online with services that present an Uber-style experience where anyone can order a chef to the home. Just be mindful of the requirements your state expects of you.

Health regulations aren’t something to approach carelessly, and the websites that facilitate these connections put the burden of certification on the user. Make sure you’re certified if you pursue this line of work. A California food handler’s card is required to prepare or handle food in that state, while New York is in the process of drafting its final health regulations on this subject. Minnesota requires a manager on-site at all times with such certifications, which may or may not complicate private jobs.


Being a nutritionist is less restrictive in terms of certifications required, but there’s a fine line one needs to walk with regards to marketing. A nutritionist cannot be a dietician, which typically requires some kind of degree from a higher learning institute.

If you’ve got a knack for diet planning, and you understand how exercise fits into a healthy lifestyle, you might find success in meal planning. The fact is that people are busy and trips to the market are expensive without a list. Filling the role of chef and meal planner is valuable to most modern families short on time.

Develop Recipes

Someone who develops recipes has a knack for combining tastes and is always trying something new in the kitchen. You’re not putting new twists on old favorites, you’re breaking new culinary ground.

The trick to becoming successful is effort and creativity. Don’t forget to write down how you prepare your meals either. The basis of a cookbook is proportions and instruction. Practice your writing and you might find yourself ghostwriting for another chef.

Host Foodie Tours

Hosting tours requires a knack for networking and a bit of local knowledge. These days, it’s quite common to find food tours that focus on one particular kind of meal (like a tour of tacos through Los Angeles, or a tour of barbecue joints in Nashville).

Network with your local businesses, find your favorite spots and work out a deal to see what kind of money you can make. Some restaurants might pay a flat fee, others might offer to share some of the revenue with you if you bring a big enough group. With practice and time, you’ll become like a mobile Yelp.

Food Photography

New restaurants open every day, and those owners need a way to market the dishes they make. If you have a passion for photography, and a lightbox, you can become a food photographer. Camera equipment can quickly add costs to this kind of work, so be sure to research what you buy so you spend your money on pieces you need and will use for your work.

Start by photographing your own dishes, focusing on artistic presentation and excellent lighting. You can advertise yourself on social media sites for a relatively inexpensive price, or try and photograph for popular food bloggers to create some exposure for yourself.

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