If you consider yourself a foodie (and we guess you probably are, since you're reading this), you can thank a chef. Chefs prepare food, but the job is much more than that. They work with different kinds of food, flavors, seasoning and herbs — finding combinations that work together to elevate a meal from good to great. Of course, you can't become an excellent chef without an excellent palate or sense of taste. This means tasting your food as you cook, fine-tuning recipes as you go along, and using your palate to figure out which flavors work best together. Successful chefs also need to be able to lead a staff, manage inventory, deal with suppliers and understand the finances of their workplace (be it a restaurant, hotel, dive bar or personal pop-up dinner).
Chefs need to be innovative, creative and tireless. The hours can be grueling. But if you turn into a well-respected chef, you can find yourself attending food festivals and events, or maybe even judging food competitions. If you want a job that revolves around food, this is a top one.
And don't stress out if you don't go directly to culinary school. Celebrity chef Mario Batali got his start as a line cook in a pizza/stromboli joint called Stuff Yer Face as an undergrad in New Jersey. He credits that experience with teaching him the importance of having a recognizable brand, and it wasn't until later that he went on to study at London's Le Cordon Bleu Institute [source: Meoli].