5 of the coolest jobs in food (that don't even involve cooking)

If your track record of burnt toast and messed-up eggs belies your deep-seated dream of becoming a chef, fear not: The food industry has you covered. Though we typically think of restaurants as the be-all, end-all of the culinary arts, there are plenty of career paths for the gastronomically inclined, even if you can't cook a wink.

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5 Incredible Food Careers You Didn't Even Know Existed
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5 Incredible Food Careers You Didn't Even Know Existed

 

 Truffle Scientist

For centuries, farmers used pigs or dogs to dig up this expensive fungus; that is, until Dr. Paul Thomas came along. Thomas made headlines when he farmed Great Britain's first man-cultivated truffle, and he has since become the leading expert in the field. It was his background in biology and natural environmental science—not food prep—that catapulted him to rarified air within the food world. 

② Master of Wood

If you know your way around crosscut and coping saws, your future may lie in whiskey. Just look at Stuart MacPherson, an expert wood maker and cooper (someone who specializes in making casks): He was hired by Macallan to construct and repair the barrels used to age spirits. MacPherson not only heads a team of 16, he runs an apprentice program where budding woodshop lovers learn the tricks of the trade.  

③ Beverage Architect

Sure, there are building and landscape architects. But beverage architects? That’s exactly how Mary Sherry parlayed her degree in chemistry into a job with Flavorman, a Louisville, Kentucky-based consultancy that advises wholesalers on how drinks will taste. Sherry tweaks these formulas to achieve certain criteria like flavor, caffeine and alcohol until clients—usually established and up-and-coming beverage brands—are satisfied.  

④ Airline Caterer  

As more airlines look to improve their in-flight dining menus, some are turning to expert caterers like Peter DeVito to take the helm. DeVito, who started 121 Group, helps create meals that will taste good at 30,000 feet. He often travels via both private jets and commercial airlines to meet clients at their home bases in destinations like Sardinia, Amsterdam and the Middle East.


 

 Master Gardener

With the farm-to-table movement booming, more and more restaurants and hotels are in need of green thumbs to manage their gardens. For Ben Pauly, who landed a gig as master gardener at the Woodstock Inn & Resortin Vermont, the “office” is the great outdoors, where he tends to the more than 200 varieties of produce that factor into seasonal menus.

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Here are five of the coolest food careers out there—no fancy knife skills required.

Related: More career advice

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15 highest-paying but most competitive jobs
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15 highest-paying but most competitive jobs

Creative manager

Creative managers direct teams of creative designers.

Median base salary: $112,00

Number of open jobs: 1,243 

Photo credit: Getty

Information technology (IT) manager

IT managers runs a company's IT department.

Median base salary: $118,000

Number of open jobs: 2,718

Photo credit: Getty

Data scientist

Data scientists analyze and interpret complex digital data, such as the usage statistics of a website, especially in order to assist a business in its decision-making.

Median base salary: $110,000

Number of open jobs: 6,875 

Photo credit: Getty

Supply chain manager

Supply chain managers direct or coordinate production, purchasing, warehousing, distribution, or financial forecasting services or activities to limit costs and improve accuracy, customer service, or safety.

Median base salary: $102,000

Number of open jobs: 1,668 

Photo credit: Getty

Pharmacist

Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use.

Median base salary: $120,000

Number of open jobs: 4,213

Photo credit: Getty

Procurement Manager

Procurement managers direct, plan, and coordinate the activities of workers involved in the compiling of information and records to draw up purchase orders for procurement of materials and services.

Median base salary: $104,000

Number of open jobs: 1,205 

Photo credit: Getty

Finance manager

Finance managers direct and coordinate the development of a company or department's budgets.

Median base salary: $118,000

Number of open jobs: 6,445 

Photo credit: Getty

Medical science liaison

Medical science liaisons communicate to the public the scientific benefits of medical products.

Median base salary: $140,000

Number of open jobs: 1,373 

Photo credit: Getty

Product manager

Product managers supervise the production of products.

Median base salary: $110,00

Number of open jobs: 17,731

Photo credit: Getty

Engineering manager

Engineering managers head teams of engineers.

Median base salary: $145,000

Number of open jobs: 5,263

Photo credit: Getty

Management consultant

Management consultants analyze existing organizational problems and develop plans for improvement to help organizations improve their performance.

Median base salary: $110,000

Number of open jobs: 3,567 

Photo credit: Getty

Patent attorney

Patent attorneys advise inventors, investors, and manufacturers about the laws related to patents.

Median base salary: $150,000

Number of open jobs: 1,125 

Photo credit: Getty

Technology manager

Technology managers architect, design, and manage technical IT projects and implementations.

Median base salary: $140,000

Number of open jobs: 2,294

Photo credit: Getty

Product marketing manager

Product marketing managers strategize the best ways to sell products.

Median base salary: $116,000

Number of open jobs: 2,537

Photo credit: Getty

Financial planning and analysis manager

Financial planning and analysis managers perform business and financial analysis to help the company measure its success and predict its needs.

Median base salary: $115,000

Number of open jobs: 1,380 

Photo credit: Getty

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