6 Different Streams of Income You Can Create If You Have Culinary Training

One essential financial lesson that money experts always emphasize for everyone to follow is to create multiple sources of income. This is more important now more than ever, considering the global economic situation. You can’t rely simply on being employed.

Extra Income Troughs for Chefs

Financial gurus say that if you have decent skills, adding new income-generators shouldn’t be too hard. For example, if you attended a culinary school and you work as a chef for a big restaurant, cooking customers’ orders isn’t all that you can do to ensure your finances are stable.

There’s a myriad of other ways for you to use your skills as a source of livelihood. Here are six of them.

1. Write a cookbook

If Nigella Lawson, who’s not a trained chef, can do it, there’s no doubt that you can do the same. Gather all of your specialities and create new recipes that are delicious but easy to make for even the biggest kitchen newbie.

A cookbook is a smart source of extra and residual income because of the author royalties you’ll get. According to Alan Jacobson’s breakdown of author royalties, for a hardback edition of a book, you can earn 10 percent of the retail price on the first 5,000 copies sold. For the next 5,000, you’ll get an additional 12.5 percent of the total sales, and 15 percent for all the remaining copies sold.

You may think writing is not your strong suit, but there are all kinds of apps that can help you with this. Plus, you can take online writing lessons from the experts like Ann Handley, Emily Gould, and Simon Van Booy. You can also hire an editor to set your work straight or provide guidance in the process of writing.

2. Hit Instagram

Instagram is a social media sharing platform that is very kind and generous to chefs. Take pictures of your creations and post these on Instagram. Generate a strong following, and the platform can monetize your account and provide you with an income.

Besides that, presenting your creations on Instagram is an excellent marketing strategy. You can quickly build your brand and professional reputation. On top of that, you can connect with other industry players who can make your name and what you create known to a much bigger audience.

3. Develop your own products

Tap into all the knowledge that you have derived from the various culinary classes that you have taken and develop your own products to sell. Chefs can create a recipe for a perfect barbecue rub or sauce. You can sell these products on Amazon first or debut these at food bazaars, where you might find businesses keen on using your creations as supplies for their operations.

There’s no shortage of products that you can develop as a chef. The lovely thing about doing this is, should you grow tired of spending most of your time in the kitchen, you can still enjoy a steady income stream through these products.

This is a huge investment at first. However, if you do things right by investing in professional services or partners such as a brand strategy company, you can ensure the success of this venture.

4. Be a product consultant

A lot of food manufacturing companies typically turn to chefs when developing their own products. You can lend your knowledge and experience to these enterprises as a consultant. 

This may just be a contractual thing most of the time, but it’s a lucrative side venture nevertheless. Plus, if things work out marvellously, a consultancy job can evolve into a long-term business partnership and give birth to other consulting opportunities.

5. Teach

As a chef, you will find out soon enough in your career that teaching is very much a part of what you do. Once you have your own kitchen, apprentices will come in to learn from you. As you do your job, you will find yourself providing the people around you with lessons on techniques and a bunch of other things.

But, such on-the-job teaching is not all that you can do. There are online learning platforms looking for teachers for a variety of lessons. Skillshare and Udemy, for example, offer classes that require professionals to teach everything — from how to take beautiful pictures for social media, to how to make French macarons. You can be one of the teachers here.

You also have the option to teach on YouTube. A lot of people turn to this platform for all kinds of lessons. You can start your channel and offer bite-sized tutorials to learning series. Like with Instagram, once you gain a solid following, YouTube can partner with you and pay your channel for all of the views to your videos.

6. Start a blog

Blogging is another thing that you can do as an additional source of income. This is a bit similar to posting videos on YouTube and posting on Instagram. However, you have more creative freedom with your blog. Aside from sharing your recipes, you can offer other types of content.

Some of the content types that you can create for your blog are product reviews — take a cue from Buzzfeed, which hires chefs to review everything from Girl Scout Cookies to the most popular sweet potato pies on the market. 

You can also become an affiliate marketer for the products that you believe in and would personally recommend. It’s important to mention that, as a trained chef, you can succeed faster than other bloggers because you’re already an established expert. 

Blogging platforms will recognize your authority easily and may present various monetization (such as ad placements and email subscriptions) programs for you.

It’s All About Chef Creativity

Clearly, culinary school-trained chefs have a huge advantage when it comes to creating new channels of income. There are so many income troughs that you can create as long as you have great culinary skills. 

There’s no denying that economically challenging times come and go. Therefore, everybody should be open to possibilities and be resourceful to be able to soldier through changes in life. 

If you’re a chef, these six side income streams might serve your financial goals well.


Shanaaz Raja is the Course Director at International Centre for Culinary Arts – ICCA Dubai.