I have been speaking with a lot of students and recent graduates since we launched FoodGrads earlier this year and one thing has become alarmingly apparent. When a young person thinks about pursuing a career in food their first thought is ‘chef’.
I can’t say I can blame them, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t. It’s an honest and exciting career choice. Everyone loves food and you are the masters, we love what you do and you inspire us.
Mr. Ramsay, we love how you support restaurant owners to bring their businesses back to life, yelling (all for show I’m sure) at hopeful chefs to motivate them to win the ultimate prize of running their own restaurant; and starting production companies’ amongst many other exciting ventures.
Cheeky Jamie, as down to earth as you can get, rocking it with TV shows, cookery books and your brilliant Food Revolution campaign to educate people on the benefits of cooking and eating healthy food. You’ve got more thumbs in pies than we’ve got thumbs!
Giada, you make us green with envy, whipping up an Italian delicacy—with a view of the Mediterranean in the background—from your beautiful house on the Amalfi Coast. Anthony, you meet inspiring people who feed you eye balls or something with 8 legs in delicious and exotic sauces, drinking shots while travelling the world.
Nigella, Emeril, Padma, Julia, Rachel, Wolfgang I could go on and on, the list is long–each of you as successful, unique and accomplished as the next.
But let’s be honest, nearly all who graduate from culinary school do not become world famous chefs, they don’t go on to write best-selling books and when they travel its normally once a year with their family on a summer holiday. You are not the norm—talented, ambitious, gorgeous, lucky, blessed—but not the norm.
So my request is this—Top Chefs— you have young people who are passionate about food watching your shows, reading your books and following you on social media. Please could you bring awareness to the options in Food? Have them bring their passion for food to careers that are meaningful and support the wider food system. Please celebrate and illuminate the other important jobs in food as the voice of the food industry.
Agriculture, Technology, Engineering, Processing, Food Safety, Research, Food Science, Retail, Foodservice, Food Law—there are so many options within all these sectors—Butcher, Baker, Cheese Maker!
Pursuing education that leads to a career in food will give them skills for life, and we need these skills for the Future of Food. The population is projected to exceed 9.6 billion by the year 2050—now that’s a lot of mouths to feed and pressure on the Food Industry.
We need you!