Everyone needs to eat. Even in 2011 during one of the worst economic times in the country, people still find the time and money to go out to eat.
What does that mean for the top culinary careers? It means that they will still exist and thrive.
The culinary field is one of the most exciting out there. Who wouldn’t want to spend their day experimenting with food concoctions or designing delicious pastries?
Although there are dozens of culinary jobs available, we’ve put together the list of the top five careers in the field in terms of highest salaries.
5.) Pastry Chef
National Average Salary: $32,058
Basics: This field requires more than just buying a boxed cake mix from the store. Pastry chefs utilize their culinary skills and recipes to create delicious concoctions, from pies to sweetened breads. This career is so important to the culinary field that there are international competitions simply for pastry chefs. So if you have a dream of creating a tiramisu that can take down Europe, this is the field for you.
Degrees Needed: Although there isn’t a degree specifically required for this career, if you want to actually secure a job, you need a 2- or 4-year degree in culinary arts. Many pastry chefs also start off in internships or apprenticeships.
Everything Else: For stats on the job growth, typical salary, and an interview with a professional pastry chef, visit our pastry chef career profile.
4.) Nutritional Consultant
National Average Salary: $39,859
Basics: The culinary arts aren’t just about physically making the food. Nutritional consultants, such as dietitians/nutritionists, provide important dietary information for institutions that prepare food on a larger level, including hospitals and schools. After all, someone has to be there to tell people they can’t just hire pastry chefs to make all of their meals!
Degrees Needed: Dietitians and nutritionists require a four-year bachelor’s degree in dietetics/nutrition or food science, and many professionals go on to earn master’s degrees as well. Many states also require dietitians to be certified.
Everything Else: For stats on the job growth, typical salary, and an interview with a professional dietitian, visit our dietitian/nutritionist career profile.
3.) Private Chef
National Average Salary: $47,392
Basics: Interested in preparing meals for people, but don’t want the hassle of making them for an entire restaurant? Then consider becoming a private/personal chef. These chefs are employed by individuals to prepare meals in private residences. They can be hired for a variety of reasons, from wealthy clients to those that require special dietary concerns in their meals.
Degrees Needed: A culinary arts degree is required to work in this field, typically combined with many years of working in the field beforehand. Many private chefs also have education in nutrition, and most need to be certified as a personal certified chef (CPC).
Everything Else: For stats on the job growth, typical salary, and everything else you’ll need to know, visit our private chef career profile.
2.) Executive Chef
National Average Salary: $54,037
Basics: Have plans on being the head honcho in the kitchen? Then aim for the executive chef position. These culinary professionals bare the brunt of their environment, managing the responsibilities of making sure each meal is perfect and making sure each of the other chefs are doing their best. And don’t worry: you don’t have to be like that guy in Hell’s Kitchen in order to be successful.
Degrees Needed: A 2- or 4-year culinary arts degree from a culinary institute in addition to many years of experience in the field.
Everything Else: For stats on the job growth, typical salary, and an interview with a professional chef, visit our chef career profile.
1.) Research Chef
National Average Salary: $67,000
Basics: Ever wonder how those cheeseburger-flavored Doritos actually taste like cheeseburgers? No, it’s not magic: it’s usually the work of research chefs. Research chefs combine scientific knowledge with culinary experience to prepare food that no one else can, typically creating recipes and experimenting with food for large corporations.
Degrees Needed: A bachelor’s degree in science, specifically with education in chemistry, nutrition and/or food science, is needed for the scientific side of this career. For the culinary side, many research chefs also have culinary arts degrees, or at least sufficient experience in the field.
Everything Else: For stats on the job growth, typical salary, and an interview with a professional research chef, visit our research chef career profile.