Cool Jobs for "Foodies" That Don't Involve Cooking
Do you consider yourself the ultimate "foodie?" Do culinary trends titillate you and is gourmet the only way? Why not consider cooking up a career in the food biz?
As much as you may love it, if you're thinking that cooking isn't your strong suit, don't give up on your future in food so fast. There are ways you can take your "foodie" flair and put it to more use than just dining out. Think about what a joy it would be to take your love of all things food-related and embark on a career journey that you'll savor just as much.
Here are some cool jobs centered around the food industry for the foodie in you to relish. Let your culinary-based talents take over in one of these exciting careers.
It's all about the presentation, and when looks matter, a food stylist is called upon. All those perfect pics in magazines, on websites, in menus, and in advertisements don't happen by chance. And think about cooking shows, films, and commercials. The food always looks almost too good to eat. A talented food stylist is the force behind food looking phenomenal for those close-up shots.
As perThe Art Career Project, "Professional food stylists are artists with a culinary flair. The food stylist must use color, shape, texture and food compatibility to create an artistic plate; one which is as appetizing as it is beautiful. Food stylists work in various industries; for photographers, magazines, restaurants and catering companies. If you are an artistic foodie—this job's for you!"
According to Dantastic Food, "The job of a food stylist has changed as advancing technology has made food photography a digital art. In the old days of film, food would often sit for hours under hot lights while directors of photography fiddled with f-stops and depths of field. These days, digital cameras make the process easier and faster – but quality food stylists still face challenges most other artists don't even need to consider. It's also important for food stylists to understand the ins and outs of photography and videography."
Does this job sound like it's just your style? Working with food can be just as satisfying as eating it, but you'll need some ammo. As per Urban Roots, "Although it's not necessary, many food stylists have a culinary arts degree from a culinary institute or trade school. An associate's or bachelor's degree in culinary arts can also be helpful. Studying art, photography and/or business may also assist in becoming a food stylist. Working or interning under an accomplished food stylist is a good way to learn some tricks of the trade."
Styling has never been so scrumptious!
In today's blog-obsessed world, nearly any foodie may consider themselves to be a "food critic" by snapping amateur pics of their meals, posting them to social media, and offering their reviews of what they've just chowed down. While fun for the foodie and interesting for those friends who may follow them, it generally doesn't result in a full-blown career in the critic's corner.
A professional food critic must, "Attempt to capture the dining experience and relate (it) to readers, viewers or listeners. Their commentary includes descriptions of the food, including whether the food was cooked thoroughly and attractively presented, and, of course, whether it tastes good. They also frequently comment about service staff and the ambiance of a restaurant -- whether the atmosphere contributed to diners enjoying their meals. Serving size and price are also frequently included," as per Chron.
If you are truly interested in being heard by the masses and believe your food critiques are in-depth, relevant, and beneficial to the culinary world, becoming a food critic may just be your calling. But before you quit your day job and set out on a career that seems like a (literal) piece of cake, know that it is no easy task to make your mark on the industry.
As per Sokanu, "This is a popular and competitive career, and can be difficult to get a foot in the door." There is much more to it than going out to eat and scribbling your musings of the meal.
Sokanu lists the responsibilities of a food critic as:
- Evaluating restaurant standards and food quality
- Supplying original written copy to newspapers, magazines, travel guides and websites
- Maintaining time management skills
- Meeting publishing deadlines
- Occasionally supplying original photography, or securing usage of restaurant's photos
- Competently interviewing industry leaders and venue representatives
- Delivering a written summary in a clear, unbiased way
If you have the work ethic as well as the foodie fire to pursue a career as a food critic, Study.com suggests taking the following steps to increase your chance for success in this sought-after, food-lover's dream job.
"Candidates for the position must have excellent communication skills. Students can gain the necessary writing ability through a degree program in English, journalism, or communication. Aspiring food critics also might choose to enroll in a culinary program or take courses in the culinary arts to learn about food composition, chemistry, and cooking techniques. Some schools offer courses in food media or food reviewing," notes Study.com.
After learning as much as possible in school, putting knowledge into play will come from getting work experience. Study.com recommends writing for a magazine, newspaper, or online publication, or work as a freelance food writer. And like many other jobs, networking is key to becoming relevant and respected.
Critical thinking for a food fanatic!
Do you have the type of personality that makes you a "people person?" Can you take charge, make decisions, and juggle many balls in the air at once? Are you interested in the restaurant biz and want to make sure things run smoothly and efficiently under your watch? If this sounds like you, a career as a restaurant manager may be your calling.
As per Target Jobs, the main responsibilities of a restaurant manager are as follows:
- Recruiting, training and supervising staff
- Agreeing and managing budgets
- Planning menus
- Ensuring compliance with licensing, hygiene and health and safety legislation/guidelines
- Promoting and marketing the business
- Overseeing stock
- Ordering supplies
- Handling customer inquiries and complaints
- Taking reservations
- Greeting customers
- Problem solving
- Preparing staffing/sales reports
- Keeping financial records
- Assessing and improving profitability
- Setting targets
- Handling administration and paperwork
- Liaising with customers, employees, suppliers, licensing authorities and sales reps
- Making improvements to the running of the restaurant
This is no walk in the park, but for a go-getter with lots of energy, quick-thinking ability, composure under pressure, and a no-quit attitude, becoming a restaurant manager can be exciting and rewarding.
You will need to study business and hospitality in school, but hands-on experience is just as valuable. Some cashiers and bussers start from the most low-level restaurant jobs and work their way up the ladder. Success is what you make of it!
If you love the vibe of working in a restaurant, enjoy meeting new people and making them happy, become a food server. You will be in a food-based ambiance while putting your friendly personality to good use. Your knowledge and love for food can translate into making sure customers have an enjoyable experience at the restaurant, and along with the quality of food, the greater the service, the better the time patrons will have. And you'll see their delight in your (hopefully) hefty tip!
There are so many opportunities to become a food server, as every town has dining establishments. Bigger cities will naturally have more options, but even small towns have restaurants, bars, fast food joints, and diners.
As per Snagajob, "Food servers perform a variety of tasks, from preparing the food, stocking supplies, serving, charging people for their food, handling cash, credit cards, and a cash register, cleaning tables and counters, resetting tables, greeting customers and answering questions. Food servers work on their feet for long periods, and are experts at customer service."
People may think being a food server is a piece of cake (no pun intended), but as you can see, there are many important responsibilities involved. You'll need lots of stamina and patience, as well as a friendly demeanor to be good at this non-stop job. Check please!
Stay out of the kitchen if you "can't take the heat," but be part of the food industry in a creative way that's just as rewarding!
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
The world of travel is not the same as it was two years ago. From the surge in "revenge travel" to the TikTok-inspired itineraries that make the most random destinations suddenly the most popular, there's so much about traveling that's out of your control.
What you can control — to some extent — is how much you pay for it.
According to CNBC, “Between dining out and taking trips, Americans are now spending an average of $765 more a month compared with last year when much of the country was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the MassMutual Consumer Spending & Saving Index … Young adults, in particular, are determined to make up for lost time. Millennials and Gen Z, who reported feeling the financial impact from the rise in reopenings and social gatherings, said they are shelling out $1,016 more a month, on average, than they did during the summer of 2020. MassMutual polled 1,000 U.S. adults from July 21 to 28.”
While some are okay with making up for lost time by gleefully spending all their money, not everyone has the desire to blow up their budgets on trips. Yet, the allure of travel still calls. Thus, the appeal of travel hacking.
Travel hacking has been around as long as credit card rewards have. But during the pandemic, travel hacking gurus found unprecedented fame on TikTok and Instagram. With time to learn about the points and miles community, suddenly people were planning for future travel using tips and tricks gleaned from experts sharing their knowledge on social media.
Though it might sound complex, anyone with a fair credit score can enter the travel hacking game. Here’s how:
What Is Travel Hacking?
Travel hacking is using reward points and miles from airlines, hotels, and credit cards towards free or heavily discounted travel. This ranges from opening a number of credit cards for the reward bonuses, optimizing your normal spending in order to max out your points per shopping category, and leveraging loyalty and status for awesome perks.
To a lot of people, the term “travel hacking” can sound shady. The “hacking” scares people off. Is it illegal? Is it a scam? Can you get punished for opening too many cards? Will you ruin your credit score? The answer to all of these concerns is no.
There’s no hidden trick to travel hacking. It’s not a game of risk or cheating, it’s a game of research and planning.
Travel Hacking 101
Most commonly, travel hacking hinges on the points you can get from certain travel credit cards. Credit cards aren’t merely a way to manage cash flow. Many offer rewards programs that give you points for each purpose. These points can then be repurposed to pay for part or all of a trip.
Different networks have different systems, but most can be transferred to a range of partners. Top credit cards are with Chase, Amex, Citi, and Capital One. Simply accumulate points on your credit card, then you have the option to transfer those points to airlines, hotels, and more — for free.
When learning travel hacking, The best tip is to go backward. Don’t just open popular cards with high bonuses. Identify where you want to go, then find out what actions to take. Which airlines travel there? Which cards’ points can be transferred to that airline? Where do you want to stay? Which hotels can you book with points? Once you’ve planned out your dream vacation, see how many points you need. Then strategize for the best way to nab them.
Choose which cards are right for you, then start stockpiling those points towards free travel.
One way to quickly amass points is to take advantage of sign-up bonuses. Many credit cards use sign-up bonuses to entice users. And if you play smart, just one or two sign-up bonuses can account for one entire flight cost. However, there’s one catch: you must meet a minimum spend requirement to qualify for the bonus.
The best way to approach this is to funnel all of your regular expenses through those credit cards to chip away at the minimum spending. Pro tip: open your card right before you need to make a lot of purchases. The holidays are a good time to open a card so the cost of festivities ends up working for you.
And remember: it’s key to always pay off your monthly credit card balance before the due date! The benefits of those points are useless if you go into debt to accrue them.
And here’s a hack for you newbie travel hackers out there — be sure to manage your money and keep track of how much you’re spending for that bonus with the MeetCleo app.
MeetCleo is the personal finance tool that’s actually fun to use. Taking control of your money while “earning” free travel using your credit cards? Finances have never been more fun.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!