Leesa Davis

If you relish the thought of constantly being around food, then perhaps it’s time you got paid for your passion as a food enthusiast. Besides the obvious options of being a chef or baker, there are tons of culinary-related jobs that don’t require master skills in the kitchen. Read on to learn more about food-related career choices and to see what each job entails.

1. Nutritionist 

A nutritionist's duties include evaluating the health needs of their clients and designing healthy meal plans. Similar to dietitians, nutritionists counsel their clients on which foods to eat and which to avoid in order to obtain optimal health. Nutritionists' clients may include athletes or a family that may want to change their diet for the better.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitians and nutritionists make an average annual salary of $57,910, which will experience 16 percent growth until 2024. To become a nutritionist, a certification or bachelor’s degree in nutrition is required. The requirements for working as a dietitian are more regulated and require additional certifications and/or licenses.

2. Catering Directors

For the foodies who also enjoy event planning, a job as a catering director may be ideal. Catering directors are responsible for successfully executing food-related events. They will typically lead a team through all stages of an event — whether it’s a birthday party or large-scale business meeting. Catering directors select appropriate venues based on size, meet regularly with banquet and catering staff and negotiate with clients, among other duties. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for catering directors is $54,051.

3. Flavor Chemist 

The flavor industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry which employs a unique position — that of a flavor chemist, also known as a flavorist. They must have a firm understanding of which chemicals create a certain taste and how the chemicals interact with other ingredients. It is mandatory that flavor chemists follow regulations set by the Food and Drug Administration, along with other dietary guidelines. Flavor chemist salaries range from $50,000 to $200,000 per year. Most flavorists receive a degree in chemistry or biochemistry.

Interested in pursuing this occupation further? Flavorist jobs and other industry-related resources can be found in Perfumer & Flavorist Magazine.

4. Food Stylist

Presentation is key when it comes food. (Think about how you strategically photograph your meals for Instagram.) As a food stylist, your job is to showcase meals for film and photo shoots. Some examples of food being “styled” include images you may see in magazines, cookbooks and menus. 

A food stylist combines their cooking skills with creative flair and may work closely with a team of chefs, editors and photographers. Food stylists usually prepare the dishes and use various styling techniques to keep the food looking fresh for shoots. Freelancing is the norm in this field, though there are some full-time, in-house opportunities with prominent companies. It’s helpful for food stylists to have a degree in art or design and to have superb photography skills. Food stylists typically earn between $400 - $850 a day.

5. Food Journalist

Who wouldn’t enjoy getting paid to eat and write about their culinary experience? It’s the job of food journalists to deliver the best of food and drink culture to their foodie readers. Food journalists get to attend restaurant openings and other culinary events, then write about it. But it’s not enough to be a great writer. Food writers must be excellent with research, have a strong knowledge of their subject matter and be able to meet deadlines. A journalism degree helps and so does obtaining an internship in the related field. Networking is also crucial — hey, a journalist has to be ahead of the curve! According to Indeed, the salary of a food writer ranges from $26,222 to $111,865 per year.


Leesa is a writer and blogger who loves to travel. She currently spends her time between New York and Florida. See more of her writing at leesadavis.com.