Posts Tagged ‘Trends’

ID-100202053Many people possess a passion for food but don’t necessarily want to spend their nights, weekends, and holidays tucked away in the kitchen for their career choice.  There are a variety of options available for a foodie, not including positions at a traditional restaurant:

  • Catering/Food Truck – In some cases the hours can be better, you are more in control of the volume of work, and can plan ahead as opposed to a flurry of tickets and orders coming at you in a hot, sweaty kitchen.
  • Personal Chef – Famous people, rich people, and some large corporations like to have their own person on staff to cook what they want, when they want.
  • Corporate Chef – Large restaurant chains, food manufacturers, and retail outlets like to have someone at the helm to develop recipes, products, and presentations for the general public or to potential customers.
  • Research and Development Chef – Part chef, part product development specialist, an R&D chef is testing and creating foods and products for retail, foodservice, schools, hospitals, and further manufacturers.
  • Food Scientist/QC/QA – Understanding functionality of food and beverage, quality control, quality assurance, use of flavors, colors, preservatives, gum and starch systems, and analytical analysis of foodstuff.  Basically a ‘mathlete’ for food.
  • Market and Consumer Research/Analysis – Understanding consumer science, food trends, buying practices, and psychology of the food and beverage industry.
  • Consultant – Do you know everything but tired of ‘settling down?’ Many companies look to specialists for temporary or short term projects.
  • Nutritionist – Focussing on health and wellness, speciality diets, nutrient needs in hospitals for patients, or helping athletes achieve fitness goals.
  • Farmer/Forager – Truffles don’t grow on trees…well they do, but you have to find and gather them!  Also, all those fruits, vegetables, and grains don’t just magically appear.
  • Butcher/Fishmonger/Cheesemonger/Sommelier – Be a meat, fish, cheese, or wine expert and have lots of fun interesting factoids to talk about at parties!
  • Chef Instructor – If you have a passion for teaching and a love for food, this is the job for you.
  • Sales – Every industry around the world needs a sales guy to move their products.
  • Buyer – Every industry around the world needs a buyer to find products. Kind of repetitive.
  • Customer Service – Someone is on the other end of the phone when you call the customer service number printed on the package or on the website.
  • Restaurant Designer/Equipment Supply – Build the restaurant, furnish the restaurant, develop and supply the equipment, and know how to use it.
  • Manufacturing – The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is $2 trillion strong in the US, plus manufactured products for foodservice and B2B.  LOTS of opportunities.
  • Packaging/CPG Professional – Someone needs to design and engineer the box, bag, package, film and seal.
  • Food Critic – Fancy trying foods or restaurants, then providing honest (hopefully) opinions? This is a fun position but hard to become ‘THE’ food critic without a following or backing of a publication.
  • Food Writer/Marketing – Descriptive writing, tag lines, romance copy, and content development is fun and something I obviously do not possess.
  • PR/Publicist  – This is someone who manages the public image of a brand or product. Finding ad sponsors, creating hype, pitching news releases, and working with writers to create content.
  • Food Stylist – Making food tasty is one thing, but making food ascetically pleasing for pictures, packaging, and promotions is another.
  • Food Photographer – KInd of like Instagram but for real…and better
  • Cook Book Author/Blogger – For those who have the knack for writing interesting and creative recipes in book form! Unfortunately the internet has cut down on book sales, so many have turned to blogging instead.
  • Entertainment/TV/Celebrity Chef – If you are a character and know how to perform in front of a camera, this could be for you.  In fact, many of the current TV chef personalities can’t even cook that well! (BBUURRRNNNN)

There are dozens of job choices I have missed, so feel free to comment with more ideas!

 

ID-100101588Here is a list of some interesting and no-so-popular ingredients you may want incorporate into your menu:

  • Scorpion Chile – Sorry Ghost chile, there is a new, (not really that new) king of fire in town. This is a variety in the capsicum chinense family that on average, has a SHU measurement of 1.2 million.  That is face melting heat, and the current world record is held by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion burning at over 2 million SHU’s.  New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute regulates the testing and authentication of these chiles.  These chiles also have a a sweet, fruity flavor profile which you may forget after your tongue falls off.
  • Wiri Wiri Chile – Averaging at around 70,000 SHU’s, this chile still packs a punch but add a delightful fresh, bright flavor when used.  Works great when blended into a hot sauce sweetened with fruit.
  • Yellow Eye Steuben Bean – This bean has a mild flavor and a beautiful mustard colored spot on a off white background.  The hold up exceptionally well when cooked and make an excellent carrier for strong flavors.  They are actually related to the kidney bean.
  • Chinese Black Rice – This is a medium grain glutinous rice perfect for all kinds of interesting recipes.  It is relatively sweet and slightly sticky, but will impart its deep indigo color to anything you cook with it.  Stop using a boring all purpose white rice already!
  • Grano – This is an ancient whole kernel pearled wheat berry from Italy. It has a texture between al dente pasta and brown rice, but with a vibrant golden hue.  Grano is made from durum wheat, the same used to make most upscale pasta. This grain holds up great after cooking, so use in soups, salads, and pilaf dishes, and can be ground then used like a hot cereal.  (I used it to make this salad.)
  • Kaniwa – A close relative to quinoa and also a member of the goosefoot family.  It is used just like quinoa in many applications and has all of the same nutritional benefits, Kaniwa has the added bonus of not containing saponins, which sometimes causes quinoa to be bitter.
  • Fregola Sarda – This is a toasted form of couscous and comes in a variety of sizes.  It has a rough texture which help sauce cling to it, and the toasted gives it a beautiful browned color and and firm bite.
  • Sumac – The North America variety is poisonous, however varieties grown in the Middle East impart a sour flavor the same way you might use lemon or lime juice.  It also has a dark red color which makes for a fantastic presentation.
  • Black Garlic – Originally made by letting garlic cloves ferment over vats of soy sauce, black garlic imparts a deep molasses-like profile with tangy garlic undertones.  The texture becomes soft and gooey similar to dried fruit.  It does not leave you with the pungent fresh garlic flavor or odor you may be used to.
  • Long Pepper – This was the first pepper variety brought to the West.  It has a more intense flavor compared to traditional peppercorns, as well as sweet undertones.  It can also be ground just like it’s black or white peppercorn brethren.
  • Fleur De Sel – Most chefs and foodies will know this is the purest, most pricy sea salt available.  Produced in France, it has a bright white color, a wet, grainy texture, and is best used to finish a dish, as well as up-charge your guests.
  • Hemp Hearts – Considered a ‘super-food’ due to their nutritional value, they are the soft, creamy nut inside the hemp shell.  Very high in plant protein, vitamin E, and omega-6 fatty acid, they make a great alternative to those with nut allergies.

What are some of your not-so-familiar food ingredients???

ID-100170122I feel that the most important thing people should learn in the modern world is fact finding.  Due to technological advances, most humans (especially in the US) are trampled with information.  This could be advertisements, interviews, reviews, news articles, magazines, social networking, blogs plus everything else you can think of.  The problem is that with this increased stimulation of information, there is also an even greater amount of bad information.  Word of mouth accounts, false reports, endorsements, negative feedback, consumer reviews, viral trends, and outright opinionated information that is spun to sound ‘factual.’

As this relates to food and consumer packaged goods, most people do not have a real grasp of what they are eating. Words like low-fat, low-sodium, cholesterol free, trans fats, GMO’s, preservatives, gums, strange long words on the ingredient statement…your opinion of these things may be negative, but how much of your opinionated conclusion is based on fact? How much is based on what some non-expert told you, or what you read in the news, or from an advertisement paid for by the company trying to sell it to you, or a pro/anti group with their own opinion bias?

I am not here to show support, or to give my negative opinion on these topics, but I will say my opinions of things in the food industry are based on facts.  In some cases, I do not have factual information, but I will NOT supply a stream of negative information because I assume something is bad.  I will stir up the pot with one example, and would love to hear your thoughts on fact finding in the food industry:

There is not enough 3rd party, extended testing done on GMO foods to conclude if it is harmful to the masses.  Everyone has their opinion, and yes, some companies that handle to production of GMO products may not be using appropriate methods to make money, but both sides of the good/bad for you argument do not contain enough information for a valid conclusion.

Thoughts???