Americans spent more than $1.6 trillion on food last year. That translates into millions of opportunities for the people who grow, produce, prepare, and sell all that food.
According to the National Restaurant Association, industry sales are expected to reach a record $604 billion this year with the average chef/owner expecting to make $80,000 to $85,000. Executive chefs make slightly less on average, but those who are vaulted into the rarefied air of celebrity chefs can pull in seven or eight figures from television series, cookbook advances, appearances, and endorsements.
In food, even the trends are big business. Cupcakes are a $6 billion industry estimates Paula Spencer, author of Start a Cupcake Business Today. And a good food truck grosses $1,000 a day, according to Wafels and Dinges founder Thomas DeGeest.
The bottom line is this: There are as many ways for professionals and entrepreneurs with a passion for food to make a living doing what they love as there are variations of red velvet cake. With all that money—and good food—to be made, we wanted to highlight African Americans who are finding success in the industry—some as chefs and restaurateurs, but many in roles you may never have considered. So pull up a chair and dig in.
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