8 Careers in Food
From cheese to chocolate—and everything in between—the food and beverage industry offers a smorgasbord of career opportunities.
Careers in food are on the menu, and you're at the head of the table.
After all, you’re the one everyone turns to when it’s time to pick the wine at dinner, and you know which cheese to pair it with. You know how to carve the holiday turkey and how to trim a brisket—and where to find it on a cow. You know the difference between an ale and a lager, and you can tell quality chocolate from the cheap stuff by smell alone.
Hey, you’ve got skills. Why not turn your gourmet ways into a paying gig? There are so many jobs for foodies, it’s a veritable job buffet.
Using data from Monster, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and PayScale, we rounded up several interesting careers in food and beverages, along with some facts about each that may surprise you.
What you’d do: Brewers have one foot in art and one foot in science, as they turn combinations of grain, yeast, hops, water, and other ingredients into delicious beer. Smaller craft breweries offer the opportunity to be involved in the whole process, while larger operations work on such a scale that roles tend to be much more specialized.
What you’d need: There are no formal education requirements; experience is the primary issue, and that can be gained through self-education, practice, and various training programs and schools.
What you’d make: $38,000 per year
Fun fact: Beer is the world’s third most popular beverage, after water and tea.
Find brewer jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Butchers work to provide the best possible cuts of meat and poultry—and the most efficient food use of all parts of an animal. Their role is most visible in supermarkets and independent shops, but this work also happens in meat processing plants.
What you’d need: On-the-job training and work experience are usually the prime requirements.
What you’d make: The median pay for a butcher is $13.21 an hour.
Fun fact: Americans ate about 27.3 billion pounds of meat in 2019.
Find butcher jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Like a fine artist, cake decorators make their cakes look so good that folks are (almost) hesitant to dig in. Cake decorators can prepare custom designs thought up by customers or make generic arrangements that are ready to grab and go.
What you’d need: Typically, no formal education is required, although some positions may come with the expectation of certification from a culinary school. Experience, including on-the-job training, is typically the baseline.
What you’d make: $12.97 per hour
Fun fact: Sweetness was hard to come by in the Middle Ages, when “cake” meant a flat, round piece of bread baked hard.
Find cake decorator jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Cheese is an elite player when it comes to careers in food. Cheesemongers help customers find the right flavors of fromage to match their palates and menus—no easy task, considering cheese.com has a database of 1,833 varieties. They can work at a supermarket or in a dedicated and highly specialized cheese shop.
What you’d need: There are no specific, formal education requirements; in some cases, self-education may be enough. However, given the breadth and depth of knowledge that’s required in this complex area, culinary training, and professional certification is expected by many employers.
What you’d make: $40,210 per year
Fun fact: Archaeological evidence suggests cheese was being made by humans as early as 6,000 B.C.
Find cheesemonger jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Chocolatiers essentially are chefs who specialize in chocolate, varying its intensity, sweetness, colors, shapes, and textures either for candies or as a component in other foods.
What you’d need: An associate degree in bakery/pastry arts, certification in a specialized training program and previous culinary experience are likely the minimum.
What you’d make: $13.56 per hour
Fun fact: A New England Journal of Medicine article in 2012 found a correlation between a country’s average consumption of chocolate and its output of Nobel Prize winners.
Find chocolatier jobs on Monster.
Ice cream shop manager
What you’d do: Ice cream shop managers by definition are in an oversight role, but as more and more artisanal shops open up, trained employees are being relied on to churn out the goods—literally.
What you’d need: College experience is likely to be preferred but may not be required. Retail experience, including management work, is helpful. People skills, and particularly customer service, will be a major expectation.
What you’d make: $13 per hour
Fun fact: New Zealand leads the world in per capita consumption of ice cream.
Find ice cream maker jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: To help diners select the perfect vintage to pair with their meal and their budget, a sommelier needs an encyclopedic knowledge of the restaurant’s wine list, plus expertise on how a meal’s many flavors work with or against a wine.
What you’d need: A degree is sometimes required, but this is a job that’s more about experience and having an excellent palate with an appreciation for wine.
What you’d make: $50,632 per year
Fun fact: The color of a wine has little to do with the type of grape it’s made from. The biggest factor is the presence of the skin during fermentation; white wines are fermented from skinless grapes.
Find sommelier jobs on Monster
What you’d do: Part artist, part culinary wizard, a sushi chef precision-carves the most coveted parts of a fish and painstakingly prepares each piece to perfection.
What you’d need: At higher-end restaurants, you’ll likely need experience to, ahem, make the cut. Many culinary schools offer specialized training in the art of sushi preparation.
What you’d make: $13.64 per hour
Fun fact: There are approximately 4,000 sushi shops throughout America.
Find sushi chef jobs on Monster.
Wine shop clerk
What you’d do: Not exactly up to sommelier levels but still have a thing for wine? Look to retail where you'll keep track of the reds and whites, with bubbles and without. You'll perform typical retail duties (stocking shelves, working the register, keeping the store clean) in addition to helping overwhelmed customers decide what bottle to serve to guests.
What you’d need: A knowledge of wine is definitely a big plus, but so is previous retail experience.
What you’d make: Retail shop clerks make a median of $23,360 per year, according to Monster data.
Fun fact: On average, every American adult consumes nearly three gallons of wine per year.
Find wine jobs on Monster.
Find grade A careers in food
Job postings are like food—you want the fresh ones. Lucky for you, Monster gets deliveries every single day. Want some help picking the best of the best? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of food jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Take some of the indigestion out of your job search with a little help from the experts at Monster.