The world of culinary arts has some odd jobs when you think about it. If you find yourself looking outside the normal kitchen and hours, take a peek at these weird jobs that really exist.
A Gumologist is a person who tastes, blows bubbles and chews gum to see how long the flavor remains. While it may sound frivolous, gum tasting is serious work. Gumologists play an important role in the development of new flavors. They are the intermediaries between the marketing department and the scientists in development. In a business where everything relies on flavor, Gumologists are the connoisseurs. You don’t necessarily need a specialized degree, but you do need a highly refined palate, and be able to communicate your findings. Only ten percent of people in the United States qualify as potential Gumologists.
2. Onion Grader
Grading onions may seem like easy work, but its long hours on your feet, in dusty and sometimes hot conditions. Graders sort through various kinds of onion, and sort them based on predetermined guidelines. These can be based on type, size, color, quality or even usage. Spoiled product is removed from the rest and the remaining are typically hand sorted according to market value.
3. Submarine Cook
In most cases, submarine chefs are in the military. For crew members who are out to see for long periods of time, cuisine can be a pleasant distraction from the monotony of life under the ocean. If you think it’s typical in process, you’re wrong. The entire premise of submarines is stealth – being quiet. Therefore many typical kitchen operations and prep work are done by hand. Even an automated can opener can be picked up by sonar miles away. In addition, sub crews are typically out on tour for weeks or months, so many products are dried, canned or frozen. Learning to work without the typical fresh ingredients can be tricky.
4. Certified Fugu Chef
A fugu is a puffer fish, an incredibly poisonous fish whose toxins are 1000 times more deadly than cyanide. The restaurant preparation of puffer fish is an incredibly controlled by many countries because of the toxicity. In Japan, to become a certified Fugu Chef requires three years or more of training, and even then you are limited to practicing in your own town. It’s an incredibly dangerous – and expensive – dish.
5. Pet Food Taster
It may be hard to believe, but Pet Food Taster is an actual job. Employees pull samples off the production line and smell, touch and taste the products to make sure they adhere to the company’s standards. Even though dog palates are different from humans, tasters are trained to recognize flavors that pets typically enjoy.
6. Chicken Sexer
Chicken Sexers are employed by large poultry operations. Hundred and sometimes thousands of baby chicks are born every day, and each gender has a specific purpose. Males are primarily for meat production and females are egg producers. While some types of chickens have been selectively bred to produce different colored feathers for the male and female, more often than not vent sexing is required. This process is done by hand, by squeezing the chick to view its sex organs. Once gender is determined, the chick can be separated appropriately.
7. Fortune Cookie Writer
Fortune cookie writers are typically freelance writers who are hired for a short-term project. Many companies hire a handful of writers every couple of years, to produce a few thousand fortune cookie messages. If you are a creative philosopher with strong writing skills and a sense of humor, this may be the perfect job for you.
8. Presidential Food Taster
A food taster sounds like a great job, doesn’t it? It may be decadent, but it’s definitely not safe. A presidential food taster’s job is to taste all the food the President and his family eat, to make sure it’s not poisoned. If it’s poisoned, the taster could get sick – and potentially die – from the ingested toxins. Tasters are generally hired by people under threat of assassination – presidents, monarchs or other heads of state. Food tasters have been around since slaves were forced in ancient Roman times. Since then, it’s become a for-hire, paid position – although it’s no less deadly.
9. Placenta Cook
One of the newest trends among new parents is eating the placenta after birth (called placentophagy). The placenta is said to have properties that reduce post-partum depression, level off hormones and even aid in milk production. A new line chefs has arisen catering to this very specific type of processing. In many cases, the cook is a doula or midwife who has experience with the birthing process. It can be eaten raw, cooked or even processed into capsules.
10. Egg Breakers
Egg Breakers are a division of Egg Graders, and typically employed in larger poultry operations or food service venues. Egg Breakers jobs are to crack open the eggs, smell them for quality (discarding any ‘bad’ smelling eggs) and then separate them into yolk and white.