Research Chef

Experiment in the kitchen to create tasty new recipes.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$34,000 – $106,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Research Chefs do?

Mixing culinary creativity and food science, Research Chefs create new foods for restaurants and food manufacturing companies. Basically, you’re paid to experiment in the kitchen.

As a Research Chef, your main focus is on producing innovative new recipes that meet specific standards for taste, size, and price. You start by understanding the particular goals of your recipe (should it be smoky or sweet flavored? Easy to store or made of the freshest ingredients?). You then pull inspiration from customer surveys, food trends, and personal experience. Some Research Chefs even travel the world, tasting far-away foods for new ideas.

The next step involves trial and error: you might cook up dozens (even hundreds) of trial recipes before you find one that’s good enough to leave the laboratory. You’ve also got to be able to consistently produce the same flavor, so you’re careful to track the exact measurements of each ingredient.

Eventually, test groups of actual people will sample your new inventions. Using their feedback, you tweak the recipe to get it just right. This can be a long process involving Food Scientists and Marketers, but the end product is guaranteed to be tasty.

Should I be a Research Chef?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.

  • Also known as: R&D Chef

    How to become a Research Chef

    Most Research Chefs have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaa9qg&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2873%25%29|master%27s+%2819%25%29|doctorate+%288%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,73
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