April 7, 2021

In this day and age, side hustles are the name of the game for many entrepreneurs. They can not only help you make extra money, but also help you advance your career.

If you’re a culinarian, you have a lot of options when it comes to creating side gigs. Whether you start a small business or pursue passive income sources, there are countless things you can do with cooking skills and a culinary degree.

You don’t have to quit your day job to get started on any of the following culinary side hustles.

Sell a Product

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to earn extra income as a chef is to sell your food. If you love making salsa, or you think your bread is the best around, why not sell it?

Farmer’s markets are good places to start. You can lease a stall for weekly gigs or even just monthly, depending on how much time you have to commit to a business, and what your local farmer’s markets have available.

Woman selling organic bread at outdoors farmers market
E-commerce marketplaces like Etsy are also great for chefs looking to sell their creations. Selling your products online will make your food available to more potential customers. If you start getting a lot of sales, you could even start your own website.

Establish a Pop-up Restaurant, Food Truck, or Ghost Kitchen

Have you always dreamed of running your own restaurant, but you’re not quite ready to start one? Establishing a pop-up restaurant or food truck may be the perfect answer.

This type of food business is often seasonal and temporary, so it doesn’t require a huge full-time commitment. They are also less risky for you from a financial standpoint. If you’re not seeing the sales you would like to see in a particular area, simply pack up and move somewhere else. Lease an existing restaurant space for your pop-up restaurant to save money. This could be a stall, tent, or trailer.

Ghost restaurants and kitchens are a similar concept that has gained a lot of traction during the COVID-19 pandemic. An alternative to launching your own brick-and-mortar restaurant, these allow you to prepare food from a commercial kitchen for online sales. Customers can either pick up their meals or have them delivered. This gives you more freedom to play with different menus and concepts than a restaurant, and costs much less to start.

To start your own food truck, you may either be lucky enough to find a used vehicle for sale that meets all your needs, or you may need to purchase and furnish one yourself. Be sure to get plenty of practice cooking and serving people from a tight kitchen before establishing a food truck, and don’t forget to secure the proper vehicle and vendor licenses before you set up shop.

Food trucks on street by National Mall with cars driving by on Independence Avenue
If you find yourself loving every minute of this kind of side hustle, you can harness your entrepreneurial spirit to establish a permanent space of your own.

Offer Prepared Meals Locally

Meal-prepping has never been more popular, but not everyone has the time to prepare meals for themselves. Utilize your cooking know-how to sell pre-prepped meals in your area.

This side hustle can fit into any type of schedule. You can sell as many ready-made meals as you have the capacity to make, marketing as much or as little as you like. Offering both delivery and pick-up/curbside options will ensure that more people can safely enjoy your food.

Male home cook with beard tasting soup from pot in kitchen
Meal prepping is not much different from catering, which is another great way to earn extra cash as a chef. Instead of preparing meals in your own home, bring the supplies and ingredients you need to prepare meals to an event. Offer to cook out of your customers’ homes to feed their guests at small parties and gatherings.

Once you manage to plan a menu the people in your area respond well to, you’ll be in good shape to keep this business going long-term. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts has programs that offer courses on menu planning, design, and pricing.

Another option is to teach people how to meal prep for themselves. You may find teaching a class to be fulfilling and flexible.

Teach an Enthusiast Class

Maybe instead of just giving people recipes you also want to guide them to become better home cooks. If this sounds appealing, teaching may be the side hustle for you.

Start by reaching out to local restaurants to see if they need chef instructors on a guest or rotating basis, and then you may consider renting a kitchen yourself for regular classes. This type of business thrives on referrals, so be sure to put the work into cultivating a good reputation as a cooking or baking instructor.

But you don’t need a restaurant to teach people how to cook. You can teach virtually from the convenience of your own kitchen or even offer in-home classes where you travel to teach small groups of family and friends.

After teaching a class on cooking or baking, you may feel inspired to expand your own education. Escoffier offers fast and affordable 100% online degrees and diplomas with industry externships that even the busiest entrepreneurs can complete.

Kristen Douglas, Online Culinary Arts Graduate“For me, having access to the school online means it is now possible to receive the culinary education I have desired, while still being able to grow my business and take care of my busy family, without even having to leave our valley.”
Kristen Douglas, Escoffier Online Culinary Arts Graduate

Write a Cookbook

Are you overflowing with recipes to share with the world? If so, you should write a cookbook.

Cookbook authors are often successful when partnering with foodie influencers to generate sales. This is just one way to get the word out about your product. Starting with an e-book is wise as this requires a lot less money to self-publish than hard copy publishing.

You can also or instead choose to sell your recipes to blogs, magazines, and other platforms for extra cash. Freelance recipe developers may not get a lot of recognition, but they can make good money doing what they love.

Accomplished culinarians often go on to become published authors. In fact, several Escoffier Chef Instructors have written cookbooks. Online Pastry Chef Instructor and Master Baker Collette Christian is just one instructor who has published a cookbook, Mastering Macarons: Classic to Contemporary Techniques. As an Escoffier student, you will have the opportunity to be mentored and taught by some of the best chefs in the industry.

If writing cookbooks is something you want to do, you can definitely go to your instructors for guidance.

Cookbook, book with pages open next to metal pots and kitchen utensils

Start a Food Blog, Podcast, or YouTube Channel

Food blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels can be highly lucrative for chefs who like creating content.

These all offer many opportunities for affiliate marketing, which means more cash in your pocket. The greater your following gets, the more brands and companies could pay you to promote their products.

You may decide to make your platform free or charge for subscriptions. Many successful podcasts utilize this tactic after growing a substantial audience.

If your blog or channel takes off, you may want to use some of your revenue to rent a commercial kitchen, so that you have a professional space for your content production.

Young woman recording on a smart phone her vlog and sitting at the table with lots of green vegan food ingredients at home

Turning Your Side Hustle Into Your Job

A culinary or pastry degree or diploma may give you the skills and knowledge you need to turn your side hustle into a profitable culinary career. Mentorship from professional Chef Instructors at distinguished institutes like Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts can connect you with culinary professionals who want to see you succeed, maybe on a path similar to their own.

Escoffier Chef Instructors exemplify entrepreneurship. Many have started their own businesses, some of which began as side hustles. With the guidance of industry leaders like these and the business-focused curriculum and entrepreneurship courses Escoffier provides, you can walk away from this school with enough experience and knowledge to eventually achieve career goals you set for yourself.

You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you try. Request information about Escoffier to learn more about becoming a culinary entrepreneur, and how a mentor can help you make your business dreams a reality.

For more tips on starting a successful cooking business, read these articles: