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I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Food Jobs

Nearly all of us dream about what it would be like to change careers. This can be both exhilarating to imagine ourselves following our passions or dreams and also more than a little daunting.  What exactly will it take to reinvent myself?  Is there a market for it?  How do I start? Sound familiar?

The reality is that now more than ever, we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves in ways never before possible.  It does require research to do this, which leads me to Irena Chalmers‘ book, Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers (2008, Steadfast Books).

The culinary industry in the United States and Europe has fairly exploded with new opportunities in the last twenty years.  And who could better guide on an exploration of what’s out there for us than Irena Chalmers.

Irena knows the ins-and-outs of the food world better than just about anyone alive.  She ran a cooking school.  She is a restaurant consultant and lecturer.  She has written articles and essays for many name magazines and papers including, The New York Times, Gourmet, Gastronomica, Food Arts and Nation’s Restaurant News, to name just a few. She is known as a pioneer of single-subject cookbooks.  She was a cookbook publisher and produced the Great American Cooking School series.  She brought to life and made famous a number of budding cookbook authors. She is a founding member and past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and a founding member of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, International (LDEI). She now teaches Professional Food Writing and Gastronomy at the Culinary Institute of America.  And, Food Jobs won the 2008 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for the Best Book for Food Professionals in the U.S. and later, the 2008 Gourmand World Cookbook Award-Best Book for Food Professionals in the World.

Not bad for a nurse from England who reinvented herself in the United States!

Food Jobs covers the gamut of the culinary world from restaurants and food service to publishing, television, the internet, radio and media, history and culture, science and technology, farming, teaching and retail.

But Food Jobs is much more than a compendium of types of jobs and where to find them.  It contains interviews, first person essays by people who work in the various culinary fields, recommended books for each potential area of endeavor and much more.  It’s a veritable encyclopedia of almost all possible jobs in the food industry.  A must have for any of you dreaming about a career change into the world of culinary arts. While I thought I would do a fast-scan through Food Jobs, in fact, I was captivated by the collection of essays and interviews in this more-than-300-page book and read it from cover-to-cover.

If you have been thinking about leaving the corporate world or a desk job for a new career in food, it’s important to have the facts before you leap.  Some jobs require more schooling; other jobs would benefit from your pre-existing expertise.

How do I know?  I wrote my first single-subject cookbook in 1984 while on disability from a job as an office manager, and took my background in anthropology and reinvented myself as one of the world’s top authorities on vanilla.  To date, I’m the one and only Vanilla Queen.

Whether you are looking for a gift for a budding culinarian or are curious if this is the right path for you, Food Jobs is very affordable, and you can order it right here in our Recommended Reading.

Patricia Rain
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