to key people during the development
and testing phases.
The way people want their food
to taste is subjective and based on
personal preferences, but a recipe
tester needs to test a recipe from an
objective standpoint. This is where
communication skills play an important
role. For example, testers will convey to
R&D that too much salt is being used,
or not enough.
“R&D may feel the recipe is perfect
the way it is, but it’s the tester’s job
to make an informed and objective
decision as to what is best for the end-user,” Viola says.
HOW TO FIND WORK
Don’t expect to graduate from culinary
school and become a recipe tester. You
need to gain real-world experience and
cultivate a well-developed palate that
has been exposed to different cooking
styles, ingredients, flavors and ideas.
Recipe tester jobs also are not generally
front and center, so be prepared to do
research to find this unique job.
Chalmers recommends contacting
food processors, such as Land O’
Lakes, Kraft Foods and Nestlé, who
hire full-time and part-time employees.
Explore companies that develop
new recipes for their stores, such as
Starbucks and Panera. Commodity
boards for apple, onion and strawberry
growers, for example, and pork, beef
and chicken producers, use recipe
developers and testers.
Television stations that post
guest chef recipes online must make
sure recipes are written accurately, and
often hire freelance testers. Some food
magazines and cookbook publishers
employ full-time and freelance testers
to check authors’ work. Explore local
food companies and food markets
that may need recipes tested. Local
orchards and farm stands may need
opposite: Dawn Viola.
Courtesy of Le Cordon Bleu
College of Culinary Arts in
above: Irena Chalmers.
Courtesy of Irena Chalmers.
Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for
Culinary Students, Career Changers
and FOOD Lovers (Beaufort Books,
2008), by Irena Chalmers. This book
is a guide to food occupations,
ranging from chef, butcher and
nutritionist to beekeeper, kitchen
designer and wild-game farmer. It
includes job duties and qualifications.
Great Food Jobs 2: Ideas and
Inspiration for Your Job Hunt (Beaufort
Books, 2013), by Irena Chalmers.
This second volume describes an
abundance of careers in the food
industry, in and out of the kitchen.