Getting a degree or certificate from a good culinary institute does not mean you have to follow the norm and work at five-star hotels or on luxury cruises. The world is your oyster. You can turn to entrepreneurship or work in unusual positions. Here are a few offbeat professions that need the skills you learn in a culinary college.
This isn’t your ordinary chef’s job. Submarine chefs plan provisions and prepare meals like most others in the business but there’s more to it. Food plays a huge role as a morale booster among troops who live away from home for months at a time. The key to being a good submarine chef is to cook as quietly as possible – sonar from enemy ships can detect sounds like an automated can opener from miles away. And since submarines are usually deployed for weeks or months in a single sailing, you’ll have to make dried, canned and frozen ingredients pretty interesting.
Fugu, or puffer fish, can kill humans when eaten but they’ve been consumed as part of Japanese cuisine for more than 2000 years. Fugu is usually eaten raw, as sashimi, or as chirinabe, a hot pot with fish and vegetables. But to work with fugu, chefs need to be certified, and this can take three or more years of harcore training. Fugu sushi or sashimi costs about USD 20-60 depending on where it is being served – it is often prepared in Japan and flown out.
Around the world, increasing importance is being placed on local ingredients and produce. Innovative chefs are constantly on the lookout for new items that they can use to add a different dimension to their dishes. As a forager, you will be expected to visit farmers’ markets, farms and other home production units to find better qualities of local produce and new items that chefs can sample. Administrative work can include keeping track of inventory, purchases and researching new suppliers.
Over the centuries, chocolate has made its way from South America to every corner of the globe. Today, cacao beans are grown and farmed in numerous countries, each lending a distinct flavour based on local environmental conditions, timing of harvest, fermentation, processing and even storage and transportation. As a cacao hunter, you will be expected to source the best varieties for your chocolatier’s products. Travel is a big part of the job profile, as is understanding and tasting the produce.
PET FOOD TESTER
Today, pets are more than resident beings without a voice. They are part of the family and pet parents are keen on feeding their loyal companions nutritionally sound and tasty food. This doesn’t mean pet food testers spend their days sampling dog or cat food. They research ways of making food more nutritious, less smelly (for pet owners) and also write reports on how to enhance foods currently in development. The food is definitely tasted too, but thankfully spat out, and the job typically comes with an excellent salary!