August 2, 2016

Alternative Culinary Careers: Recipe Developer

Recipe developer is a great alternate career path for those who don't want to be a restaurant chef.

For many people, culinary academy is a way to learn how to become a chef and later work in a restaurant. But once you’ve completed your degree program, your options aren’t limited to simply working in a kitchen. There are several different paths you can follow with your education and experience. One such career is recipe development, where you’ll be responsible for coming up with the dishes restaurants everywhere serve to hungry patrons. Does this sound like a food-centric career you might be interested in? Then read on for more insight into life as a recipe developer:

“Recipe developers create dishes used in restaurants and in cookbooks.”

What does a recipe developer do?
As mentioned above, your average developer creates rich and delicious recipes for a wide array of uses. Some of these developers will work alongside chefs or plan recipes for special events, while others are focused on crafting dishes for a cookbook. Depending upon the end goal, a recipe developer may work in a restaurant’s kitchen or in their own setup elsewhere.

What kind of experience would I need?
As a rule, most recipe developers have spent at least some time in a professional kitchen. Most also have basic training, which includes a stint in culinary academy. Others may not have been full-time chefs, but they had some kind of experience in the food service or restaurant industry. Having some experience as a chef can help the developer understand not only what makes a delicious recipe, but how chefs streamline the process.

How do developers write the recipes?
First and foremost, the average developer spends loads of time researching. That means reading other cookbooks, talking to other chefs and culinary experts, trying out dishes and understanding all of the latest food-centric trends. This forms the foundation of any good recipe.

But research is only part of the equation. Really well received recipes sometimes have to fit a niche, like being vegan friendly or containing a specific ingredient. It’s up to the developer to understand this culture and make use of foods effectively.

How do developers approach their work?
Being able to service different clients goes beyond researching and understanding the nuances of food. It takes a certain kind of perspective and way of thinking to be a recipe developer. Some of these professionals will look at a meal and think about what can be replaced to achieve any number of goals, from improving the taste to adding in new cultural influences. Good developers continually think about food, even the most beloved dishes, and why certain chefs make the decisions they do. By analyzing food in this way, these developers can open people up to new and interesting ideas.

How can I become a recipe developer?
As with any career path, it’s important to keep your eyes peeled to job boards for new opportunities. America’s Test Kitchens, for instance, relays frequent opportunities. You might also rely on chefs you know personally, and watch out for restaurants or other outfits looking for developmental assistance. Many recipe developers start out working as line cooks, which gives them ample opportunity to understand what goes into a beloved recipe. Many developers also gain specific licenses, like with the Commission on Dietetic Registration, to improve their resume and learn new skills.

If nothing else, it’s essential to keep cooking and developing your abilities as a culinary expert.