Your food career… a short quiz

Want to make a career out of your food obsession? If you’re gleefully hoisting a fresh bunch of seasonally appropriate herbs in eager agreement, well… you’re not alone.

Culinary school enrollment in the U.S. is now at an all-time high, thanks to a progressively elevated status in the media for culinary professionals (i.e. Food Network, celebrity chefs, Bravo’s Top Chef, Kitchen Confidential…).

But maybe you already have a degree and you’re not so sure about shelling out $60,000 for the CIA (even if it is kind of cool to say you’re at the CIA), or $20-$40,000 for one of the other culinary schools. Maybe you’re not so certain the fast-paced kitchen is right for you.

Luckily, there’s a way to combine food and just about any other skill or interest you might have.

Here’s a few simplified sample combos:

  • food + chemistry = food lab microbiologist
  • food + theater = Iron Chef producer
  • food + programming = FreshDirect application development
  • food + hypochondria = nutritionist
  • food + nitpicking = cookbook editor
  • food + horticulture = produce farmer
  • food + drug dealing = restaurant receiving manager
  • food + issuing monologues in empty ampitheaters = food blogger
  • food + activism = Eric Schlosser
  • food + sarcasm = restaurant critic (see: Frank Bruni)
  • food + astronomy = food packaging developer/freeze-drying expert
  • food + astrology = um… a producer for a line of chocolates designed for the various astrological signs? I don’t know… Go read your chart. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.

Bottom line: There’s a food niche that’s just right for you.

Herein I’ve developed a quick and easy quizlet to help you along. Answer truthfully!

  1. You’re early at a party and your peeps haven’t rolled in yet. You:
    a. head straight for the buffet table to re-arrange the appetizers.
    b. head straight for the buffet table to complain about the appetizers.
    c. head straight for the drinks to invent a new cocktail.
    d. head straight for the kitchen to assemble the appetizers.
    e. head straight for the bar to pour something tall and neat.
    f. Fake a phone emergency and ditch. First at a party? That’s sooo not cool.

  2. In high school, you:
    a. rocked the special events committee.
    b. rocked the opinions page.
    c. rocked the chem lab.
    d. rocked the split shift in a divey local restaurant.
    e. hosted notoriously rocking parties.
    f. rocked.

  3. What’s for dinner?
    a. Whatever comes recommended from the specials board at Le Café Chic.
    b. Quail confit over a savory apple-sage tart with haricots verts lyonnaise.
    c. Cereal. Again.
    d. Whatever they’re putting up for family meal.
    e. Vodka-marinated sirloin and a dirty martini.
    f. Hold on a sec… Hey, mom! What’s for dinner?

Mostly “a” answers?
Have you considered catering?

Mostly “b” answers?
Food critic. Specialty foods buyer. Wine snob. You and your opinons will be valued in these fields.

Mostly “c” answers?
Food is an abstraction for you. You’ll make an excellent product development scientist. Get thee to a laboratory!

Mostly “d” answers?
You were born to be a line cook. Move to a major metropolitan area, find yourself an u¨ber-picky chef and live on vitaminwater and adrenaline. Work hard, learn much, and we’ll read all about you in Saveur ten to twenty years from now.

Mostly “e” answers?
You may be an alcoholic. You may also be a professional cook. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Consider AA.

Mostly “f” answers?
Are you sure you like food? Have you considered a position in the front of the house?

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