You don’t have to be a top chef to make money as a foodie. There are a plethora of side hustles for food lovers, from food photography and reviews, to offering cooking classes and finding work at restaurants, bars, and events.
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For instance, a recent job posting at Creatively seeks skilled cooks and food photographers to prepare and photograph recipes for Serious Eats. Serious Eats is a website for cooks and foodies of all stripes. This side hustle is a remote freelance position, but there are similar side hustles that you can do in person, too.
Google “jobs in food photography” in Los Angeles, for instance, and you’ll come up with multiple hits, including one from Your Super. This Venice Beach-based start-up wants to hire someone who would like to “get in the kitchen and play.” The idea is to dream up, prepare and photograph new food dishes to inspire a Vegan lifestyle.
Serious Eat’s parent company, DotDash, is also looking for people to review commercial kitchen equipment, paying $30 an hour to editors who can work up to 20 hours a week. It’s advertising for an editor who can update recipes, promising $25 an hour, too. And the rapidly growing online publisher has dozens of other freelance openings supporting its food and healthy lifestyle brands.
Of course, the most popular side hustles for food lovers involve cooking meals to eat, not just to photograph. And a number of online platforms will help you cook for others for pay.
For instance, EatWith allows cooks to prepare meals to serve in their own homes. You create the menu, decide on the dates, the price of each meal, and the number of guests you can accommodate. The site will book, charge guests, and add a 13% service fee when they sell the meal online.
Meals sold here are designed to be an experience, meaning that you should make the setting elegant and charge accordingly. Chefs who have worked with this site say they can easily clear $350 to $500 per night, after expenses, for hosting what equates to a small dinner party. (You can sign up with EatWith here.)
Not all side hustles for food lovers require having people in your home, of course. A site called DishDivvy will help you offer homemade meals for pickup. DishDivvy also allows cooks to price their own offerings and determine how many servings are available. The site simply handles the reservations and collects payment from your customers.
If you’re accustomed to cooking for a crowd, you may also want to sign up with EzCater, which allows caterers to post a catering menu and get bookings for corporate and individual client events.
Cooking classes are also hot, thanks in part to the pandemic. A number of sites, including Tastemade and CozyMeal, allow chefs to market their online — or in-person — cooking classes to the masses. Once again, you set the agenda and prices. Want to simply teach about sauces? Or how to bake bread? Prefer a taped class to live-streamed? In-person to online? It’s all up to you.
You can also teach cooking classes with more generic teaching platforms, such as Teachable and Thinkific, too. But the advantage of the niche cooking sites is that all of their visitors are looking for what you have to sell.
Food service personnel, from waiters to bartenders, got slammed when the pandemic shuttered eateries around the country. However, as cities open up, bars and restaurants are looking to fill slots. Indeed, a recent ManpowerGroup survey says the hiring outlook in hospitality and leisure is the brightest among all industry groups.
Several sites specialize in finding food service workers to fill slots. These include Wonolo, Jitjatjo and Qwick. Each site has slightly different advantages and disadvantages.
Jitjatjo, for instance, hires workers as W-2 employees, which means the site covers the employer-portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, which saves you 7.65% of your earnings. The disadvantage? Jitjatjo is only available in a handful of major cities, mostly on the East Coast.
Qwick, meanwhile, pays workers within hours of completing a shift, making it a great choice for those in need of quick cash. The site also encourages employers to develop relationships with the servers they like and doesn’t penalize them if they want to hire the server directly. However, Qwick also only operates in a handful of cities, including San Diego, Phoenix and Dallas.
Wonolo and Shiftgig, meanwhile, operate all over the U.S. However, workers say that it’s tough to find gigs that pay much more than minimum wage. That said, bars, restaurants and all sorts of hospitality companies are starting to hire again. That’s likely to increase the number of available opportunities and eventually drive up wages.