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Need Serious Advice....

Hi all....

Some may say I'm fresh out of college, although it doesn't feel that way - three years and three career changes can be exhausting. I grew up thinking that I needed to be a doctor, however, failing physics and being truly grossed out by biology classes forced me to rethink that path. I moved on to law - equally as prestigious - but, god, was it boring - not for me. On to film - the classes were fun and the people were cool so I decided to stick with it. I graduated with a degree in a subject that interested me but I felt no true passion for. This parlayed into me quickly changing careers once out of school - going from film production to working at a TV studio to working at a record label. Sure, these jobs sound fun, and they are (most of the time), but it's time for me to give my true passion the weight in my life that it deserves. Knowing that I didn't want to work in a restaurant and not having the opportunity to explore the subject further in school (i.e. no classes offered), it never occurred to me to pursue a career in food. As I'm beginning to realize that it's happiness that matters and not money or an impressive title, I'm doing more research on the food industry and realizing the plethora of avenues that await me out there. This is where I need help, however - I don't have experience in the food industry (aside from cooking like a mad woman at home for friends/family), I don't have contacts and I, therefore, don't have a support system to give me solid advice. Most of what exists already online is flimsy at best. I'm having a hard time finding exactly what awaits me in this vast culinary world. Ideas of food r&d/test kitchens and making cheeses/meats interest me - I also could get behind a grass roots approach to food, working in sustainable farming/farmers market type environments - but what else is there? And possibly, more immediately important - do I need a culinary degree to achieve these positions? If I know that I don't want to eventually work in a commercial kitchen, is bypassing culinary school and acquiring knowledge through experience in a restaurant sufficient? HELP!


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  1. I don't know anything about this organization but this looks like a terrific resource - a bunch of profs you can e-mail about food science:

    1. thanks for asking that wuestion. I'm in the same boat.

      1. I would look into grassroots food organizations. There is a non-profit in my area that is designed to bring attention to locally produced foods. Kind of like an administrative office for the slow food movement. This enables the "producers" to focus on what they do best. Good Luck.

        1. Thanks Cinnamon! that looks really helpful - I'll check it out today.

          Stricken - what are you leaning towards? Culinary school or jumping head first into the food industry?

          Lenox - that's one of the things I'd be very interested in. Do you know what the organization is called so I can look it up? I guess my problem with that type of org is that I've been having a hard time knowing how to go about putting the vague idea in my mind into the correct words to research!

          1. You do NOT need a culinary degree to be successfully employed or create a food industry business. Cooking "like a mad woman at home" does not give you any "culinary chops", however when it comes to applying for jobs in test kitchens or anywhere else.

            If you hate the idea of working in restaurants, you might consider being a Personal Chef. I am a member of the United States Personal Chef Association, the oldest and largest professional body for PCs and in-home caterers. You don't have to spend the money to do the school as a home-study or aweek-long in-person class, but the benefits of doing so are huge - liability insurance as part of your membership fee to begin with; also a fantastic members only message board full of great information.

            If you want to start a food production company - making cheeses, sausages, sauces & salsa, spice belnds, etc. You do need to spend some serious time researching how to being those sorts of proudcts to market.

            One thing to remember in going into ANY food related business on your own is that 75% of the job is marketing, PR and related activities and only 25% actual cooking. If you're not comfortable standing up in front of large groups, or one-on-one with total strangers and talking about what you do, then you WILL fail.

            Spend a serious amount of time studying each of the areas you mentioned as potential home-based businesses. Research with your local state Agricultural department what it takes in terms of building your own or renting access to various levels of legal commercial kitchen. Got more questions, write me direct: thekiltedcoo(at)mindspring.com

            1. Yeah, you sound kind of like me.

              I've a BS in Math/Econ, and am trying to get into the food industry (in almost any capacity) without having to go to culinary school. Although, I actually did attend culinary school briefly, many ages ago. Now, when someone asks me if I'm a culinary school student, I say I used to be, and am thinking of going back.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jaykayen

                Why did you only attend briefly, if I may ask? What was your experience there? What's making you consider going back?

                Sorry for all the questions! - I'm so consumed with trying to decide whether to plunk down the money for school or not!

                1. re: yomamasan

                  I was too young, like 16? and definitely had other things on my my mind, possible career routes that would be much more lucrative. Of course, those options are still available to me. I had a good experience, I learned a lot about working in a professional kitchen. Learned less about food.

              2. If you are interested in making cheeses and meats, there are two things to do.
                The most direct method is to find local cheeses and meats you enjoy, contact the person producing them, and beg them for an internship. A lot of the time the person making them will be a farmer, but you don't need previous agricultural experience. You need to have a serious interest, not be squeamish about manure, udders, blood, and such, and be okay with being completely broke for a few years. Being good with animals helps.
                Another good avenue is to talk to local cheese or gourmet food shops. You might be able to get a job with one of them to learn more about the products. Many cheese shop owners have gone through internships with farms though, so that seems like the better route for establishing a career.

                4 Replies
                1. re: danieljdwyer

                  Even reading "manure, udders, blood, and such" makes me shiver - I don't even want to imagine what the "and such" refers to...hehe. However, my sister went to veterinary school and has lots of experience working with both domestic animals and livestock. This fits into my ultimate fantasy of buying land in napa, raising grapes and cows - she handles the meats/cheese and I handle the wine and then together we sell them in local markets.

                  1. re: yomamasan

                    Dreams are nice but it sounds like you need to spend more time considering what you actually want to DO for 40+ hours a week, without the rose-colored glasses.

                    1. re: babette feasts

                      Agreed - that's exactly what I'm trying to figure out....

                    2. re: yomamasan

                      If making wine is appealing to you, why not study viticulture? Many schools (both universities and dedicated wine institutions) offer relatively short viticulture programs for those who already have a bachelor's degree. Alternately, many wineries are willing to take on apprentices with no prior experience.
                      Personally, I find certain parts of wine making to involve far worse smells than that of manure. Nothing in my experience is worse than the smell of bovine afterbirth, however.

                  2. Food service or the "biz" as we call it can either be some of the most rewarding work or it can be a slap down you may not be ready for. I've been in just about every phase of it off and on since 1975. I'll give you my suggestion. Put together a brief resume, go to your local main office of Wendy's (yep the hamburger joint) apply for their assistant manager program. Do it for a year, if you can get through that you won't know alot about actual cooking but you will know what a grind food service can be. You will know how to multi task, you will learn how to deal with diffucult employees and customers, you will learn about budgets, food cost, labor issues, you will learn sanitation and food storage issues. This is a boot camp approach but it will prepare you for further endeavors. Good Luck.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                      Meantime, it would be educational to read or get the CDs of Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" - that's even better as he lends some of the color as he reads his own book aloud. It would be, I think, a good cautionary tale not only for someone thinking of working in a restaurant but also for anyone who would be providing specialty foods to restaurants as a purveyor.

                      1. re: Cinnamon

                        After reading it twice out of the library, I finally bought my own copy. Great book and a real eye-opener. To this day, I won't order swordfish out in a restaurant b/c of him!

                      2. re: mrbigshotno.1

                        I think that's one of the best pieces of advice I've ever read on CH. Get your hands REALLY dirty cause that's what it's going to be about.

                      3. I see that you are a new poster to Chowhound. Have you searched the boards for similar requests? They are legion.

                        As someone who has been in the field for many years, including teaching in a pprofessional culinary capacity and many other different aspects, my advice is to DO SOMETHING. You will get no experience sitting around wondering if sustainable farming or test kitchens are right for you.

                        Sustainable farming takes time, muscles and commitment but not a lot of experience if you are willing to start at the bottom.
                        Test kitchens requires training and experience; neither of which you have and I would not hire you based on your desire to try this out as a possible carreer path.

                        Barbara Sims Bell has written excellent books about career opportunities in the food-related world. Google these and see if anything appeals to you. Meanwhile, get some experience doing something. It may not be your end-all, be-all but it will be something.

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: Sherri

                          Good advice indeed. Here's my questions though - would you hire someone to work in a test kitchen that doesn't have a culinary degree and instead has equivalent training in a restaurant? I'm sure every employer is different and it's all a case by case basis (as in my current field and I'm sure most fields), but basing this off of the particular job I'm interested in, a culinary degree is required.

                          1. re: yomamasan

                            yomamasan, you ask a good question "would you hire someone to work in a test kitchen that doesn't have a culinary degree and instead has equivalent training in a restaurant?"

                            My answer is "it depends on the job". Test kitchens cover a vast area, from recipe testing through recipe development to new product development. Certainly you can begin with the most simple tasks, IF you can get your foot in the door. You would have to prove to me that you know what you are doing and capable of doing it exactly as directed, over and over and over.
                            Personally, I have never been so bored in a kitchen as when I was doing product testing for a major corporation. It entailed making potato salad and cole slaw more than twenty minutely different ways in a dozen cities for paid tasters. Following corporate directions to the gram was boring beyond words. The taste difference between 1/4 tsp of pepper and 1/3 tsp of pepper was stifling but mandatory to corporate who was risking untold millions of dollars on the outcome.

                            You say that you did not like your biology classes (".. being totally grossed out" were your words). However, having advanced education will be mandatory if you expect to progress up the ladder, which from your post, I think is correct. Biology and a lot of other hard science courses are in your future for jobs in a test kitchen.

                            Is a culinary education the correct choice for you? I have no idea but suspect the answer is a qualified "no, for the time being". You need to put your butt where your wishes are; instead of talking about what you would like to do in the "someday" vernacular, you need experience. Just DO IT. Wishing won't make it so.

                            Reading between the lines, I was struck by an analogy of someone who likes the pomp of a military parade, the dazzle of uniforms & bands playing stirring patriotic marches but has no desire or inclination to actually go through boot camp and
                            w-o-r-k as a soldier. Getting the shiny medals and keen uniform is more to your taste without the reality of dirt, blood, exhaustion and discomfort.

                            If you decide to go for the culinary education, go for it and get the most that you can from the experience, understanding that you will not be a chef when you graduate. Research your school options very well; some schools are better than others. Do not forget about scholarships if finances are of concern. On a side note, I administered scholarships for IACP for several years. I am not telling you this to toot my horn but rather to explain why I feel so passionately about gettin experience before education. I put the "wannabe" apps in a separate pile and wrote to each that after getting some experience, they should re-apply. Going to any professional training, which you have already learned, without being fully committed to the field, is a waste for everyone concerned, especially my scholarship dollars which could be better spent on a candidate who was in it for the long haul.

                            1. re: Sherri

                              I left the post for a bit and am unable to edit, so I'll add my last thought:
                              We'd all like to wander through fields of flowers in Napa Valley, growing grapes and wearing gauzy dresses while listening to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. It is a lovely romantic dream fostered by all the magazines. But ask anyone who can do this and you will find that this does not happen without a lot of hard work.

                              1. re: Sherri

                                LMAO. ya gotta get to that level first, assuming you're not independently wealthy. can you process a gallon of veg in 10 minutes? crawl inside a true doubledoor to scrub it out? carry a 50 lb case of potatoes on one shoulder with four full champagne flutes in your other hand up to the rooftop patio prep kitchen? butcher a side of beef? do nothing besides process onions for 8 hours straight? can you stand in a 104 degree sauna in head to toe clothing and steel toed boots until the salt crystals start to crunch on your back underneath your clothes and flake off of your cheekbones when you smile? why do you think so many chefs have shaved heads-- so they can stick their whole head under a faucet to cool down. . .

                                a lot of people think that since they can cook at home, they can also cook in a restaurant. omg not so, whatsoever. please don't even apply, you'd only waste everyone's time and get in the way. even a former mcdonald's employee is generally a better choice for a kitchen job than a good home cook-- the difference is that the mcdonald's employee knows how to hustle and can handle pressure, the home cook is like "i brought my cute apron and my pampered chef spatula, where do i start?" ugh. i *totally* blame FN.

                                if you live in an area with high end food retail, hit the books and learn about cheese, high end liquor/wines, cookware etc, and go work in retail/managerial, or be a sales rep for a high end food/bev distributor. you'll be surrounded by food professionals and by great food, but you won't actually have to execute anything besides sales transactions.

                                if you actually do feel a connection to sustainable/farm foods, pick your fave all-local farmer's market and *volunteer* there 1 day/week or so to see if you actually like getting up at 4:30 am and showing up to schlep heavy stuff around by hand. if you can hack it, you can begin forming those invaluable personal connections at the farmer's market and maybe start working yourself into a paid position. you will hear about jobs at your local extension agency and sales/clerical at the local farm co-ops as they expand. there is growth in the sustainable foods industry but a lot of it is nonprofit-level pay, etc. a lot of people figure out after 15 years w no health insurance that doing food is a lot more fun to do as a hobby than as a way to make a living, sorry if i sound like a total biznatch, but it sounds like the op needs a little straight talk.

                                1. re: soupkitten

                                  I really appreciate your honesty and straight forwardness. All of this is truly eye opening to me. I guess, the point of my original question was - where does a beginner begin? What's the first step that I take? I'm not trying to claim any sort of qualification because I don't have it. I realize, from the majority of these posts, that starting in a kitchen as opposed to starting in school is the way to go. This is backwards from convention (school and then career) but coming from the entertainment industry, I totally get it. I also get that it's a lot of shit work - I'm used to that as well. I would say the same thing to someone just starting out in film - "Do you think lugging a 50 lb camera up a hill covered in dew at 5 in the morning, only to spend 8 grueling hours trying to get one good take of an actress that can't stop laughing during her lines sounds fun? because that's the reality of it" So I get that....It sounds like food and the entertainment industry are very similar.

                                  1. re: yomamasan

                                    cheers. you do have a good attitude, which is 1/2 the battle. yes the entertainment& food scenes are very similar (as far as grunt work is concerned), and there is a lot of overlap. i work with a lot of people who are in theater/indie film, they're only waiting tables/making salads until they get famous. :)

                                    i don't know where you live, but i'd maybe tell you to start *anywhere.* offer to assist at a local cooking school-- you may get paid nothing/crap and have to stay late hours doing dishes and mopping floors after the folks leave, but you'll also get (high end) free food and some one-on-one with chefs local to you. don't scoff at the little community college food courses--sometimes you can make some valuable connections and get good training-- have a little bit of self-determination and see if you can distinguish yourself, and you'll find yourself being introduced to movers & shakers in your local food scene. look for a niche that interests you, you can spend a year. . . helping rural female over-55yrs old folks cooperatively market cheese. or jelly. or pancake mix, whatever-- even in your spare time, you sound like a smart person. networking is the better part of sales. . . but unfortunately, anti-social obsessiveness is the better part of making great food (& sometimes the best food artisans are not very good at marketing their own products). people who can bridge the gap and deal with obsessive food craftspeople as well as fickle over-funded housewives who could actually *support* artisan foods are in great demand, or they were before the economy collapsed, anyway.

                                    do you mind telling us where you live,or what types of artisan foods (small scale, big scale) are coming out of your area? is your area big on local/farm foods enough that you think it could generate new jobs?

                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                      I live in LA so there's an endless list of great (and not so great) restaurants/specialty food stores and producers/local farms/etc...it seems daunting because, as i've said, i don't exactly have connections in this industry. Well, that's not true - I have one, which I will most definitely pursue, but I don't think it would be smart to put all my eggs in his basket (that sounds so wrong...). I'm going to spend the majority of this weekend figuring out where exactly is the best place for me start and then start cold calling and offering free work. It seems all I can do at this point - I can sum up everyone's wonderful advice into 3 words - JUST DO SOMETHING!! :)

                                      1. re: yomamasan

                                        Good for you, yomamasan! Please let us know how your search goes. We're pulling for your success.

                                        Unsolicited advice: do NOT go to the restaurants just before or during meal service. The chef will not be receptive, he/she will be busy. Good luck.

                                        1. re: yomamasan

                                          Have you considered the culinary arts & hospitality management program at a local community college? It's a blue-collar approach to learning to work in a restaurant, and the emphasis is on job placement.

                                          At least up here in Sacramento, you have to learn basic cooking techniques as well as FOH skills, cost control, management, and everything else it takes to make a place run. The students are actually required to run every aspect a restaurant where they serve lunch three days a week when school's in session.

                                          If you can't get your foot in the door another way, a community college certificate may be a viable option for you. It sure isn't a culinary academy, but it (a) teaches some of the basics and (b) is intended to get you an entry-level job in the business.

                                      2. re: yomamasan

                                        I have a few friends in the industry and every one started out bussing tables, washing dishes, or flipping burgers. Salad stations were a step up. I started out scooping ice cream, then moved onto doing catering gigs for private caterers on weekends every couple of months, then waited tables part-time... And then, got out for good. I hope you will be prepared to make very little money for awhile...

                                  2. re: Sherri

                                    That's very interesting and very eye opening about the scholarships. If it's not obvious already, i want to apply to the CIA at Greystone. They require 6 months of kitchen experience before attending. Perhaps I am doing things a bit backwards by jumping straight into schooling before understanding if my passion is enough to carry me through the stressors of the industry.

                                    What do you think is the best way to get your foot in the door of restaurant kitchen? Offer to work part time for free? I think I just answered my question....

                                    1. re: yomamasan

                                      Greystone is post-graduate education for those already experienced. Do you have you **any** restaurant/kitchen experience?

                                      I repeat my earlier advice: DO SOMETHING. The more experience you have, the more you bring to the table and the more valuable your (eventual) education can be. You cannot build a house without a foundation, nor can you build a career without something solid to build on.

                                      You are still uncertain about whether or not this is for you. DO SOMETHING in the field and begin making all the connections that you say you are lacking.

                                      PS - no, it was not obvious to me that you were thinking of Greystone. That is like aspiring to a Harvard MS program without attending community college. You need to get your hands dirty before being taken seriously.

                                      1. re: Sherri

                                        Actually, Greystone has had a pastry certificate program for some time, and it looks like they now also have a regular culinary arts certificate program.

                                        1. re: babette feasts

                                          Agreed that the six month pastry program does not require prior experience. However, this is a very serious commitment on the part of the student, both of time and money. The student needs to be housed for the program in an area with a high cost-of-living for the 30 weeks of school. It is not what I would recommend as a trial for someone looking to find their way in a new industry.

                                          From the Greystone website:
                                          "Accelerated Culinary Arts Certificate Program (ACAP)
                                          Designed exclusively for graduates of hospitality management, food science, nutrition, and related bachelor’s degree programs, the ACAP program provides foodservice professionals with extensive culinary knowledge and professional kitchen experience. It's the perfect tool to enhance careers and increase marketability."

                                          1. re: Sherri

                                            Ooops, I really didn't read the description of the culinary certificate program. My bad!

                                            You are right that the Napa Valley is $$$, but it is also an amazing place to explore wine and food. I love Napa : )

                                      2. re: yomamasan

                                        Hi Yomamasan-- Thanks so much for posting the question that I've been pondering in the last few months! I am exploring a couple local cooking programs in West LA to see if the food industry is something I'd like to pursue-- there are p/t professional courses (20 wks during nights or wknds) which seems to be a decent affordable ($2500) crash course option (though my culinary school friends are still suggesting the culinary school route). Let me know if you have time to chat some more-- maybe we can brainstorm ideas since I'm in LA, as well. :)

                                    2. re: yomamasan

                                      I thought you were a home cook only. So there's even that step of working in some/any restaurant.

                                  3. If you were "truly grossed out by biology classes" it is hard for me to imagine you in a hands-on part of the food industry. Ever cut up a chicken or gut a fish? Clean out a stopped up sink drain? Scrub pot after pot?
                                    I'm not saying you couldn't do something related. Though I've only been a busboy, I know work in a kitchen is hard work and a repetitious grind. You have to be honest with yourself about whether you are willing to do this kind of work that, on the surface, often seems glamorous.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Scargod

                                      And YOU know how slightly icky I found it to look down at all those clam eyeballs and then start chopping them up for the chowder.

                                    2. I'm not in the food industry, so take this advice with a grain of salt, but for a behind the scenes look at what it's like in culinary school, read Michael Ruhlman's The Making of Chef. He enrolled at the Culinary Insitute of America as a student and wrote about his experience. Someone else recommended Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential and I would recommend that too.

                                        1. I'm not a pro, but if you can find "Becoming a Chef" http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Chef-A... that might help. It talks about the different paths famous chefs took to get where they are. It also helps an individual decide if culinary is right for them.

                                          1. Lots of CSAs have intern or apprentice opportunities as far as the sustainability goes. They often don't include meat or cheese since those aren't generally sustainable. Arrangements vary from CSA to CSA, sometimes it's work in exchange for lodging and food.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: lgss

                                              They often don't include meat or cheese since those aren't generally sustainable.


                                              there are many grass-fed meat and dairy csas that are successful and have kept sustainable farms viable around urban areas. boston even has a sustainable seafood csa that sounds awesome. please explain how rotational grazing on marginal land with small herds (in other words, SOP for family farms up until 50 years ago) is "unsustainable."

                                            2. Reading your background and what you've done already, it sounds as if you have some "artistic" talent. That is, a good sense of design, a feel for lighting,, things like that. And that brings to mind careers like "food stylist," or food photography. You know, somebody has to stage all that "food porn" we all drool over. It might be something for you to investigage. Then there are all of those food shows... Wanna film Mario Batali or Wolfgang Puck? Lots of interesting possibilties.

                                              However, when it comes to cooking schools, I would strongly urge you to persue that FIRST! You can never know too much about anything, and knowing too little can lead to really serious problems.

                                              A few thoughts.... *IF* you're still reading this thread. '-)

                                              1. Get your ass in gear and (please) report back in a year.

                                                1. From all that schooling, have you paid off all your debt and then can you support yourself (rent, car, etc) while you do grunt work for a few years to get your foot in the door?

                                                  1. While I'm not right out of school, after working as an attorney for 10 years, I decided it was not for me, and am actively pursuing a degree in agricultural economics, so I can transition into a career in food policy. I, too, always loved cooking, but really was not interested in working in/having a restaurant (unless it was a shack on the beach in Mexico or the like ;-), but am very interested in food production, sustainability, and environmental issues surrounding food. The degree I am obtaining, is more economics than food-related, per se, but my focus is on econonmics related to sustainable and organic food production. While I was trying to figure out what was right for me, I looked into a variety of other avenues to change careers. Here were some of the ideas/groups/etc. that helped me decide what was right for me.

                                                    First, join your local Slow Food chapter. Los Angeles has a very active chapter, with many activities, from higher end restaurant-setting events, to tours of sustainable farms, working with school kids to set up vegetable gardens, to movie screenings. You will come in contact with people working in a variety of areas of food production, not just chefs, so it will be good for ideas and contacts, and will also expose you to the diverse range of jobs you can do relating to food. http://www.slowfoodla.com/

                                                    For a list of organizations which focus on sustainable food production, the Community Food Security Coalition has a good list on their website: http://www.foodsecurity.org/currmembe...

                                                    Affiliated with Slow Food is a program in Italy at the University of Gastronomic Sciences. This program was awfully tempting for me; however, it seems more like a second college degree and I am mid-career, so went for the graduate degree here instead, but since you are only a few years out of college, it might be just the thing for you:

                                                    If you are seriously intersted in learning about sustainable agriculture, consider doing an internship on a farm or at least volunteering for a shorter term. There is an organization called WWOOF -- World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms -- where farmers all over the US, Canada and elsewhere, post ads about the opportunities on their farms, from organic coffee farms in Hawaii to cheesemakers in Vermont. http://www.wwoof.org/americas.asp

                                                    If you are more academically interested in sustainable agriculture, there are lots of formal programs at the university level, such as the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State http://www.sust.ag.iastate.edu/gpsa/ and the program in Agriculture, Food and the Environment at Tufts (http://nutrition.tufts.edu/1177953849... to name a few. Many land-grant universities have programs in agricultural and applied economics, including Davis, Berkeley, Maryland, Cornell, and UW Madison.

                                                    As others have noted, it's really important to start somewhere and see where it leads you. Good luck on whatever you decide, and please, do report back!

                                                      1. You probably want to clarify your thinking. First, observe the difference between "food service" and "food service industry." "Food service" is kitchen, which you say you don't want to do. "Sustainable farming" is farming. You don't need to be a trained chef to be a farmer. See what I mean? If you're thinking of owning something, then learn how to produce something and practice it until you can sell it. If you're planning on being an employee, then go get a job. You'll find out right away if you don't like that area. Entry level jobs like these don't require a lot of preparation. Most of these employers are happy to get someone who can show up sober five days a week. You'll quickly learn what you like and what schooling it will take to get where you decide you want to go.

                                                        1. If you did well in chemistry and stats, you could consider a track leading to flavor scientist. One of my best friends was a flavor scientist at a large CPG corporation for many years. He's living in a million dollar home and is now an in-demand consultant with the luxury of cherry-picking clients. He always loved his job.