What Food Job Would You Like?
- cayjohan Oct 17, 2008 08:50 PM
We all talk about what we cook, what we eat, where we eat, what we consider proper in our dining companions, what we deem the sensible ways of going forward foodwise. Good. I'd like to propose a question: what food job would you really like? We all like food and many of us work in the business of feeding people. I would like those employed in the food world to chime in, as well as the rest of us who think we know something.
I'll say that, hell and dammit, the food job I'd really like is butchery. Yes, I eat mostly veggies, but I find I have a love of for animals that we eat...and so would love, as a food job, to be responsible for treating that food respectfully. Plus, I really love anatomy, and it seems very cool to deal with food and science. Aaaaand, I've had some experience with this in my growing up. There it is.
There's my fantasy food job. Anyone else? Share why (really, why?), please?
I've done that as a restaurant cook, and I greatly prefer it to the pressures of working "the line". I like to have control of my workspace and be able to plan and execute tasks in an efficient and productive manner.
I've been missing that part of work (I retired over 3 years ago) but not the craziness that seems to come with restaurant kitchens.
So, instead, I do unpaid reviews of a few restaurants and publish them on this, and local forums.
Not a Food Critic/Reviewer, but a Food Judge for Competitions. In no particular order, my favorites would be:
Xiao Long Boa
Dream food job? I agree with iluvtennis. How great would it be to get paid to eat at the best restaurants in the world and tell people what you thought of them. Food critic would be pretty cool. I like what Bourdain does. Traveling the world, writing, making TV I know that he is cynical about the TV part but what an amazing life to get paid to lead. I like what Gordon Ramsey does. His show "The F Word" is pure genius I think it would be really fun to do that kind of show. I also love his show "Kitchen Nightmares" It seems so rewarding to travel around and save people's restaurants.
The vanilla ice cream loving purist in me thinks that my real dream job may just be to be a chef. Behind the scenes but ever present. No ties, no cubicals, no excuses, very few things that are taboo to talk about. How rewarding must it be to push out food confidently to hundreds of people in a night. To move with purpose, quick and clean like second nature, no movement wasted. Sure you have to clean grease traps and work crazy hours in a high stress high temperature potentially dangerous kitchen. Sure it tends to be a low paying back breaking blue collar job. I think the down side to professional cooking probably just adds to the pride that one takes home at the end of the day. Also, the gradification is immediate, customers happy, food good, service successful awesome. There is just something cool about the idea of running a kitchen. Being responsible for executing food that people order and pay money for and get excited about.
Plus I hear that girls dig chefs.
And you get free beer.
Back in 2002 I asked myself this very question. I spent two months thinking about my fantasy food job. I was a mental health counselor working with rescue worker trauma and was burnt out. Prior to that I had been a wilderness guide, corporate trainer, and adventure therapist. But, after high school and before college I had worked in retail wine and spirits. I had also done some private chef and caterer gigs.
One day I taped large sheets of poster paper to the walls in my home office and started brain-storming about food jobs. I wrote down every idea, crack pot or not. I spent several months thinking about what food/beverage jobs I really wanted.
While doing this I studied at the French Culinary Institute in the evenings fall of 2002 just for the fun of it. I had no real plan at this point, but wanted to improve my kitchen skills. In late fall 2002 and winter 2003 I quit counseling and worked on a start-up dairy farm learning to make artisanal cheese and bake brick oven, rustic bread. After that I worked on a ship-based university as a counselor again, but got to travel around the world. I took courses at every culinary school I could during my travels, eventually on five continents.
I became a food and beverage business consultant through chance. I was at a local farmers market chatting with a farmer/vendor in Spring 2005 and suddenly ideas started spilling from my mouth. He asked me for my business card and asked my consulting fees. I ran home and printed out some business cards and quoted a fee. He hired me to help him develop food products like goats milk yogurt, for marketing, etc. I worked part-time with a ton of farms and food businesses doing all kinds of things, while having a small private counseling practice.
Then in fall 2006 I applied for and got a food and beverage writing position online. I still do this but also write for magazines & newspapers and I also do wine/spirits reviews. I closed down my counseling practice and became a part-time writer and part-time food business consultant, which added up to 1-1/2 jobs and lots of fun.
I entered cocktail contests starting in 2006 and did very well, so I started mixology consulting. Then this year I was asked to be a spirits judge as well, with a focus on rum and gin.
Now I do all of the above, and as of last December I became a partner in a small winery that was six years old and doing very well. We just opening a small craft brewery, and I will have an artisanal distillery opening in the next few months.
So I have my fantasy food job right now. Basically the bulk of it came about in less than two years, and I had started out with a two year, three year, five year, and ten year plan. I've surpassed my ten year plan and can't wait to see what new and fun things happen!