7 Best Side Hustles For Chefs | Tasty Side Gigs To Bring Extra Money

best side hustles for chiefs

The restaurant industry landscape is changing rapidly due to several factors.  Some of these include a worldwide economic downturn, the ability to order food online and have it delivered, and a focus on healthy eating.

Statistics from Bloomberg revealed that the per-person visits to restaurants dropped to an all-time 28 year low in 2018.

And according to Miller Pulse data, the restaurant industry was down 1.1% in July 2018.  This marked the 29th consecutive month of declines in this industry.

Keeping these statistics and trends in mind you can easily see that it’s time to break with the conventional offerings of the restaurant industry.  Instead, it’s time to think out of the box so you can earn a great income and not just get by.

A very sobering example of someone hard hit by the changing landscape of the restaurant industry is Jamie Oliver.  Well-known, loved and respected around the globe he is the last person you would think would be hard-hit with his restaurants and forced to close.

Yet, this is exactly what happened.  With over 1000 employees retrenched and 25 restaurants closed down, they were hard hit because people were either unable or unwilling to shell out for expensive meals.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for those in the restaurant industry.  While working as a chef there is plenty of opportunities to generate an extra income.

If you are willing to think out of the box and explore creative options, there is definitely a place for you. So read on for some awesome side hustles you can do to build a terrific extra income!

1. Become An Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest, yet fruitful means of generating an income.  And the bonus is that it is a passive income!

But first things first! What exactly is affiliate marketing for those who may be new to the concept.

Affiliate Marketing is when you refer a customer to another business.  If they purchase the product you receive a commission.  The commission you receive is a fixed amount.

Consider this statistic: “The Affiliate Marketing sector is worth $12 billion currently (2019) and is still growing rapidly.”

Clearly, this is a very viable option to consider when looking at a side hustle.  It’s a lucrative way to monetize your blog.

You will need to set up a blog but there are many affiliate program options to choose from. These will help you to monetize your food blog.  For example, you can promote programs geared at weight loss, or if you prefer you can promote Amazon products or even online groceries.

An example of a great affiliate program for a food blog is Bluprint. Bluprint is an online platform with 13 million-plus subscribers.

They offer online classes (presented by experts) with a vast array of choices.  It includes everything from photography to crocheting and everything else in between.

And the best part? They offer generous commissions!

Many people viewing your blog may be inspired by your posts to learn how to cook.  When they click on your link to Bluprint and subscribe to a cooking course, you receive your commission.

But what are the advantages of affiliate marketing? Take a look at these:


  1. Easy to Start
  2. Cost-effective
  3. Passive Income
  4. No specialized skills required
  5. Offers flexibility


  1. Limited by the conditions of your affiliate program
  2. Only paid for sales made
  3. Competition
  4. Income level not guaranteed

Key Things To Consider

  • Research your niche carefully – There is a huge amount of scope within the online arena of food. Your aim is to find a popular niche but one that has low competition keywords.  A fantastic tool, that offers exactly this, is google trends.  Google trends will show you the top google search queries.  By using this you will be able to target a top niche, but one that has less competition.
  • Sell what you love and are passionate about – People will respond when they feel you are genuine and enthusiastic about your niche.
  • Learn as much as you can about affiliate marketing – choosing a high quality affiliate marketing course like Authority Hacker’s Authority Site System or Income School’s Project 24 can really cut down the amount of time you need to learn about affiliate marketing.

2. Amazon FBA

Amazon FBA is another fantastic option to consider as a side hustle.  According to statista in 2018, 3rd party seller services on Amazon (which includes FBA) generated 42.75 billion U.S. dollars.  This was a big increase from the revenue of the previous year which was 31.88 billion.

These figures show that Amazon FBA definitely provides a very lucrative and viable option through which you can generate an income.

So what exactly is Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)?

With Amazon FBA you send your inventory to be stored in an Amazon warehouse.  Amazon stores your products and when a customer buys your product, they pack and ship it to them and provide customer service for these products

Amazon provides info on their Best Selling items in various categories.  If you look at the list for cooking utensils and gadgets, for example, you will see that a digital food scale is at the top of that list.

This example shows that there is an exciting opportunity to sell a range of kitchen utensils via Amazon FBA.  The opportunity is there for the taking, and the process is not too complicated.

What then are the advantages of selling cooking utensils and related items through Amazon FBA?


  1. Less time-consuming for the seller
  2. Free shipping
  3. Storage provided by Amazon
  4. 24hr support provided by Amazon
  5. Speedy delivery of goods


  1. You pay FBA fees
  2. Easy for customers to return goods for a refund
  3. Challenging keeping track of your inventory
  4. The seller has less control of the process

Key Things To Consider

  • Look at Amazon’s Best Seller page for cooking utensils and related items to research and see what types of products are selling well.
  • Learn as much as you can about with a reputable Amazon FBA course – I recommend checking out a reputable Amazon FBA course such as Marketplace Superheroes or Amazing Selling Machine
  • Consider promoting items from well-known, famous chefs who have already established their brand.

3. Organic Food Assembly Kits

When it comes to food and cooking, the term organic has become the buzzword of the day.

According to Forbes “The Soil Association has reported this week (2019) on how current consumer trends in health and sustainability are rapidly driving the organic sector in the UK – almost 45 million pounds a week is spent on organic products.”

This statistic alone should make you sit up straight and take note.  Here, lies a very lucrative niche that chefs can explore as a side hustle.

Take Sun Basket, for example. They provide a healthy cooking option service.  Organic ingredients with easy-to-make recipes are delivered to customers’ doors. Healthy, organic ingredients with the convenience of delivery – you just can’t go wrong!

What then are the advantages of this type of side hustle?


  1. Providing quality organic and fresh produce
  2. Easy-to-make recipes
  3. Versatile recipes catering to various needs like paleo, vegetarian, etc


  1. Delivery costs
  2. Can become expensive

Key Things To Consider

  • Consider using a survey like Survey Monkey to pinpoint the specific needs and desires of your target market. An online survey can help you gain the info you are needing fairly quickly and easily.  Be sure to design your survey with the types of questions that will give you accurate responses.  Multiple choice, drop-downs, and star ratings are helpful in this regard and will help you interpret your results easily.
  • Consider input from a nutritionist or dietician to help shape recipes targeted to a wide range of needs like paleo, diabetic etc.
  • Be sure to rotate your recipes regularly and include new ones to keep your customers coming back for more.

4. Kindle Publishing

Kindle publishing is another excellent avenue to consider when looking for a side hustle as a chef.  Consider this quote from an Amazon spokesperson: “Amazon’s US and worldwide Kindle book sales grew in 2017 and continue to grow in 2018.”

Kindle publishing involves self-publishing your own book on Amazon.  This opportunity to self-publish and sell on Amazon is open to anyone and everyone and it’s free.  Maybe it’s time to consider writing that recipe book!

The current Bestseller recipe book on Amazon Kindle (at the time of writing this article) is Instant Pot Cook – 500 recipes Quick and Easy by Jennifer Smith.  This shows that there’s an opportunity here for those in the cooking industry to make their own mark and publish their own book.

It’s time to get your own slice of the pie!

What then are the advantages of Kindle Publishing?


  1. You can access the market faster
  2. Earn more money, quicker
  3. Retain control of the process of publishing your book
  4. The little cost involved in producing the book
  5. The Kindle app can be used on just about all devices


  1. It’s not a book! Some people prefer to hold a book in their hands
  2. It takes time to build up sales
  3. You are bound by a 90 day exclusivity period to Amazon during which you may not market on other platforms
  4. Lots of competition

Key Things To Consider

  • Peruse the Amazon Kindle Books bestseller list – this is such a helpful tool – you will find all the bestselling books on Amazon Kindle here. Be sure to select the “Top 100 Paid” not “Top 100 free” list because you are wanting to make some money with your book!  You now have some specific keywords and popular and profitable niches that you can target.
  • Have the cover of your book designed by a professional graphic designer – don’t try to do it yourself unless you’re graphically inclined. You can get great covers made for cheap on sites like Fiverr.
  • Give your book away for free – sounds like bad advice when you’re trying to sell books but in fact, it can lead to more sales. By giving your books away and getting people to review it, it shows interest in your product and increases people’s confidence in your book.

5. Start A Cooking Channel On YouTube

Here’s a fun avenue to pursue as a side hustle! Youtube currently has over 1 billion users, which works out to roughly one-third of the internet.  With such a huge and far-reaching influence, this is one platform you certainly should not overlook!

While you will find famous chefs on YouTube like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, you will also find everyday people like Binging with Babish with their own cooking channels.

It’s definitely an opportunity to make a name for yourself and a good side income on this influential platform.

Consider these advantages:


  1. Able to build a closer personal connection with your audience
  2. You can earn money via Google Adsense for uploading videos
  3. You can promote kitchen utensils or gadgets via your channel


  1. You need to follow YouTube’s terms and conditions or your account will be disabled.
  2. It can be time-consuming to make videos

Key Things To Consider

  • To help select a focus for your youtube channel you can use Google AdWords Keyword Planner. By typing in your keywords here, you will get an indication of how many searches per month were made with those keywords.  This will help you see which niches are popular and can potentially make you some profit.
  • Keep a consistent schedule. Youtube favors those who publish regularly and follow a schedule.
  • Make your recipes as appetizing as possible. Even when focusing on healthy eating, focus on providing appealing recipes.
  • Stay current and trendy! Always make sure your recipes are following what’s currently trending with regards to food.

6. Cater to Special Functions

If you prefer interacting with people in a social setting then catering special functions for people may be the right choice for you!  In the U.S. alone in 2019 the Caterers Industry has reached 13.8 billion dollars.

That makes it an excellent avenue to consider for a side hustle.

With a wide array of possibilities, you can cater to events ranging from weddings, corporate events, to birthday celebrations and everything in-between you have many options to pursue.

What are the advantages then of providing a catering service?


  1. You can earn good money
  2. You can do this part-time and work around your full-time schedule
  3. Meet new people and network for more business connections


  1. Can be costly to start the business
  2. Time constraints and meeting deadlines can cause stress
  3. Can involve working long hours

Key Things To Consider

  • Make sure that you offer a varied menu that takes into account your client’s food allergies/preferences.
  • Be prepared to work hard and long hours and be determined – challenges will be part of the parcel but you will learn to work around them and succeed.
  • Consider providing menus specifically focused on certain dietary requirements like paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. It will give you an edge on the competition catering to niches like these.

7. Get A Food Truck

A great way to get a feel for the market and what people want is to operate a food truck.  IBISWorld reports that the food truck industry has a total revenue in 2019 of 1 billion and it’s only set to increase!

Statistics like this show that this industry is only going to get bigger.  And there’s a place for you to get your share too.

So what then are the advantages of having a food truck? 


  1. It’s cheaper and faster to start than opening a restaurant
  2. Good profits
  3. Great way to learn about the food industry and refine your niche
  4. Interesting, yet uncomplicated menu


  1. Can be difficult to raise the money needed to buy the truck and cover start-up costs.
  2. You need to work within and adhere to food regulations.
  3. It’s a competitive industry so you need a really well-thought-out niche

Key Things To Consider

  • Do a little market research – take note of the types of food being sold by food trucks in your area. Look at their prices,  service and what they offer.  Think about what you improve on and if there are any customer needs you can meet that are not being met currently.
  • Think out of the box – Consider what is currently on offer and how you can put a twist on it.
  • Follow food trends! Think healthy options and organic. Very trendy currently and something people are willing to pay for.

So there you have it!  7 terrific side hustles you can pick and choose from as a chef to generate a steady income!

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