If you’re looking for a career in a food-related industry that’s beyond the norm, take a look at these strange-but-true job titles that may seem bizarre, but are all for real. From “Chief Taco Officer” to “Fortune Cookie Writer,” see if any of these unusual titles might be the dream job you’ve always been looking for.
Ice Cream Flavour Guru
If you’ve ever wondered how Ben & Jerry’s comes up with signature flavours such as Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, wonder no more. The Vermont-based ice cream manufacturer hires Flavour Gurus who “spend their days and nights tasting the best food in the world, then they mix, blend, chop, whip and taste, taste, taste until they come up with an unmatched batch of pure ice cream euphoria,” explains the company’s website. “They boldly go where no ice cream makers have gone before.”
A Cheese Sprayer can be found in either a factory or a movie theatre. In a theatre, Cheese Sprayer is the title of the person tasked with ensuring popcorn is properly anointed with salt and butter, in addition to ensuring the popcorn machine itself is in good working order. In a factory, according to the online Dictionary of Occupational Titles, a Cheese Sprayer will tend to machinery that sprays popcorn and similar products with melted cheese.
Chief Taco Officer
In April 2018, U.S.-based Mexican food chain Moe’s said it was looking to hire a “Chief Taco Officer”. On closer examination, however, it appears the job wasn’t actually full-time, but rather a two-week traveling PR stunt. After numerous applications for the position, Kate Munoz was hired to “lead the charge of spreading Southwest flavour across the country with Moe’s first-ever Taco Tour — a traveling, multi-city food truck tour where Moe’s will give lucky fans more than 10,000 free Three Amigos tacos.”
Chocolate Taste Assistant
Just as expert palates are required for chewing gum, the same holds true for chocolate. In fact, British chocolatier Green & Black’s has sought out an assistant to work under the company’s Head of Taste, with a goal of testing the chocolate’s taste. “Despite one in four Britons being born with the right physiology to be a ‘supertaster,’ the company’s Head of Taste told The Telegraph. “I’m looking for someone with a good nose too. A highly developed sense of smell is just as important in determining a person’s suitability to be my assistant and help me create the future flavours of Green & Black’s.”
Chief Biscuit Dunker
If you’ve ever dunked a biscuit or cookie into a cup of tea or glass of milk and wound up with disintegrated mush, then you’ll understand the need for a Chief Biscuit Dunker. This job is to test the strength and structural integrity of biscuits to see how well they withstand the stresses of being dunked, using scientific processes to determine which recipe comes out on top.
A necessary role in the harvesting of oysters from sea beds is that of Oyster Floater, a job in which one “spreads freshly harvested oysters in a shallow barge or float so constructed that water flows over oysters to afford temporary oyster storage.”
Working at a processed meat plant, a Wiener Peeler (sometimes known as a Wiener Skinner) presumably tends to machines that have been specially created to remove “cellophane or plastic covering from smoked meat products, such as link-sausages, frankfurters, and wieners, to produce skinless variety.”
Fortune Cookie Writer
You didn’t think those little messages typed on tiny strips of paper and hidden within fortune cookies wrote themselves, did you? A 2005 article in The New Yorker profiles Donald Lau, vice-president of a company that makes Chinese noodles and fortune cookies, who became the firm’s official cookie writer after the realization that the existing fortunes, dating back to the 1940s and earlier, were woefully out of date. “I was chosen because my English was the best of the group,” said Lau of his writing role, “not because I’m a poet.”
Yes, there actually is an occupation known as Gum Taster, as proven by a 2007 article in the New York Times about her job as Gum Tester at Cadbury’s Gum Center of Excellence within the Cadbury Schweppes Science and Technology Center. “Chewing gum might be seen as child’s play, but just 10 per cent of Americans have palates discriminating enough to distinguish between strawberry flavours that are, say, green, gritty or jammy and nearly 70 other ingredients in a typical piece of Bubblicious, Dentyne or Trident,” noted the Times. “Tasters must also succinctly convey their findings and resist being swayed by their colleagues’ opinions.”
Beer Quality Technician
A 2014 article in The Telegraph profiles Steve Bruntlett, who has a job that is the envy of suds lovers: Beer Quality Technician with a British brewery. His job involved visiting pubs and bars in order to test his company’s beer right from the taps, measuring quality, temperature, clarity and taste in order to address any issues that would see customers drink inferior beer. As Bruntlett told The Telegraph, “One bad pint is all it takes to put someone off for life.”
Admittedly, Cheese Sculptor isn’t the most common food-related job out there — in fact, there may be only one person to hold the title: Sarah Kaufman, whose job is to create elaborate sculptures out of big hunks of cheese.
Pork Rind Expert
While there are many people out there who probably consider themselves to be experts on pork rinds, only one person can lay claim to holding that job title: Jim Rudolph, owner of Rudolph Foods, the world’s largest manufacturer of pork rinds.
Head of Potatoes
While watching an episode of one of Gordon Ramsay’s numerous cooking shows, a sharp-eyed viewer was watching the end credits and noticed a curious credit: Sarah Durdin Robertson, Head of Potatoes. In an interview about her job, Robertson explained that her title is essentially a tongue-in-cheek way of describing her role as a producer on food-centric television shows.