August 15, 2019

Chefs may be the rock stars of the culinary arts, but not everyone who wants to seek a career in the business of food feels at home in the kitchen.

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of career paths that students with an online culinary certificate can pursue. From recipe developer to food truck promoter to personal chef, the professional possibilities are endless for students studying at the Auguste Escoffier Online School of Culinary Arts, which specializes in fast, affordable online culinary arts programs.

1. Specialty food buyer

Specialty food buyers might work on behalf of restaurants, catering companies, grocery stores and wholesale distributors. Their job is more or less exactly what it sounds like: They help clients purchase any number of specific ingredients and food goods. In practice, this means they’ll need an extensive knowledge of food quality, as well as the ability to work within a budget. They may need to negotiate the pricing of goods and will likely need some analytical skills to help make strategic purchasing decisions based on inventory capacity and other business circumstances. One of the best parts about being a specialty food buyer is all the sampling. How else will you know if what you’re buying is the real deal?

2. Restaurant owner

Culinary school can help you write and implement a restaurant business plan. Not just anyone can be a culinary entrepreneur.  Starting a food-service business is a hands-on endeavor that requires a strong grasp on market demands (e.g., is there a want or need for the type of business in a specific location?), restaurant concepts, the costs of sourcing ingredients, health codes, business financing and much more. The National Restaurant Association anticipates $863 billion in sales for 2019, which means there’s plenty of opportunity for restaurant owners to get wealthy in an industry they feel passionately about. But you have to wear a lot of hats to be a culinary entrepreneur. The beauty of an online culinary arts program is that you get the best of both worlds – the creativity and craft of cooking, but also the business acumen needed to succeed in food business ventures.

Food critic is also on the table for culinary students.Food critic is also on the table for culinary students.

3. Restaurant publicist

A good restaurant publicist must be great at outreach and communications, and they need to be branding geniuses. However, they also need to understand the industry they’re in, and who’s who of the culinary world. But more importantly, they should know how a kitchen operates, and be culinary connoisseurs themselves. Simply put, it’s easier to generate excitement about a restaurant brand when you’re actually passionate about what they do. It’s also much easier to differentiate that brand if you have a strong idea of what’s already been done, and where that brand really parts ways with the pack.

4. Director of food and beverage operations

As restaurants expand and begin franchising, quality assurance and consistency across locations become a company imperative. A director of food and beverage operations – or equivalent position – may handle everything from participating in ingredient tastings from sellers to menu development, kitchen equipment purchasing, marketing efforts, branding and much more to create quality standards and uphold them across locations. The precise responsibilities will vary from company to company, but this much is certain: Anyone in this position will need a strong understanding of the culinary industry in order to succeed. While some of that comes from work experience, a culinary degree can greatly expedite that knowledge.

5. Ghost restaurant owner

Opening a traditional restaurant can be extremely risky, normally costing between $100,000 and $1 million just to get going. Enter ghost restaurants and ghost kitchens: A startup model for entrepreneurs that allows for faster iteration with less risk. With a ghost or “cloud” kitchen, you rent someone else’s commercial kitchen and serve diners in a shared space. A ghost restaurant exists only online: Patrons order from your online menu and receive deliveries from Doordash, Uber Eats, and other delivery services.

And much, much more

This article barely skims the surface of what’s possible with an online culinary arts certificate. For instance, we haven’t covered:

  • Food writer.
  • Publisher of cookbooks.
  • Nutritionist.
  • Culinary school instructor.
  • A judge on Top Chef.
  • Cruise ship cook.
  • Resort cook.
  • Food-truck event planner (this is a real thing, according to Thrillist).

Go Deeper Into Careers in the Culinary Arts

All and these, and more, are just some of the career opportunities afforded to online culinary students. Take advantage of the speed, flexibility, and affordability of our online programs, dig deeper into culinary careers, and learn more about the vast number of scholarships and financial aid packages available to those who qualify.

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