The World’s Most Extreme and Exciting Food Jobs

Everyone can work a desk job, but not just anyone dives for sea urchins in Korea.

Photo: Japan Times, Amusing Planet

Photo: Japan Times, Amusing Planet

It’s the middle of the afternoon, you’re getting carpal tunnel, and there is no end of the workday in sight. Moments like this make us appreciate the draw of exotic occupations where gorgeous locales, wild fauna, and excitement are all part of the job description. Danger comes hand and hand with the coolest careers in the food business.

In Nepal, honey keepers hang cliffside to gather sweet bee nectar. In California and South Korea, divers venture deep into the blue to pluck spiny sea urchin from the ocean floor. These unique jobs involve extreme adventures that only a few get to experience.

After looking at our list, you may just leave your desk behind and take up hunting for cacao in the jungles of Colombia.

Scroll down to see a few of the most exciting food jobs in the world.


Alpine Farmer

Where? The mountain slopes of Switzerland and France
Job Description? While alpine farming is often labor intensive, cattle roam freely across the slopes of the Alps. Benefits include peaceful days, crisp mountain air, and living off the land. Farmers herd their cattle up the mountain early in the summer, then bring them down again in the autumn with garlands around their necks.
Why take it? You can’t beat the view.

Honey Hunter

Where? Nepal
Job Description? In the time honored tradition of Gurung tribe ancestors, honey hunters climb 200 to 300 feet up cliffs in order to reach bees. Once the hunters find a hive of Apis laboriosa, they use billowing smoke to confuse and calm the bees. Hunters scrape the honeycomb from the rock surface with long bamboo sticks, using a basket to catch. They then carry the heavy honey home to celebrate.
Why take it? Your biceps will never look better.

Urban Beekeeper

Where? New York City, San Francisco, or any metropolis
Job Description? Urban beekeepers often fight city regulations in order to raise their hives. Tasks include wearing a giant white suit, making sure the hive survives, and harvesting the honeycomb.
Why take it? Think of the things you can make with honey readily available at all times.


Sea Urchin Diver

Where? California, South Korea, Greece
Job Description? The spiky, spiny sea delicacies must be detached from rocks at the bottom of the ocean. Divers may find any of 700 varieties of urchin. Some recommend putting each urchin into a buoyed bucket, dragging it as you swim. Those spines aren’t without danger, however. Sea urchin punctures can do a lot of damage to a diver, so be careful.
Why take it? Uni all day erryday.

Bush Tucker Experts

Where? The Australian Outback
Job Description? Bush Tucker Experts understand the food available in the desert-like wilderness of the outback. Grubs and berries form the backbone of this ascetic diet. Those with an in-depth knowledge of bush tucker bridge the gab between the Aboriginal people of Australia and its modern adventurers. You may even have to teach tourists how to eat worms.
Why take it? You like to live simply. Really simply.


Cormorant Fisher

Where? China, Japan
Job Description? This style of fishing is a traditional way of upping the amount of fish brought in during a single trip out onto the water. The fisherman ties loose nooses around each cormorant’s neck, preventing it from swallowing fish, and sets the flock free to hunt. When each bird catches its prey, the fisherman gently pushes the fish back up from the cormorant’s gullet. In Japan, cormorant fishermen belong to a special Imperial Agency.
Why take it? You have endless patience for slow progress.

Truffle Hunter

Where? Italy
Job Description? Italian truffle hunters find their expensive but stinky prey with the help of dogs that sniff out the fungus-like scent. The job primarily includes a relaxing life in the Tuscan countryside and plenty of truffle-scented pasta. The season lasts from June to April, cycling through the spectrum of truffle varieties. There is even a time-honored tradition of truffle hunters pretending they didn’t find anything in order to evade taxes and stifle competitors.
Why take it? You will spend a lot of time hanging around with dogs, crochety men, and gourmet food.


Sea Bed Hunter

Where? Hawaii, Indonesia, Cuba
Job Description? Sea bottom spearfishers hit the water armed with little more than a pointy stick and their own lungs. The job requires endurance over the course of hours, whether swimming with a wetsuit and fins or just your own skin. Spearfishers should be agile, trained divers who are willing to endure the cold water just to catch that mighty fish.
Why take it? No one will ever be able to drown you after this.

Coconut Climber

Where? Sri Lanka, India
Job Description? It is no small feat of athleticism that allows climbers to reach the top of spindly-looking coconut trees. The proper technique is widely contested, and many even resort to mechanical coconut climbers these days. However, in parts of India and the Eastern world, the traditional method of coconut climbing remains preserved. Climbers harvest the fruit as well as the sap, often used to make fermented toddy.
Why take it? Applicants should be speedy and unafraid of heights.


Cacao Hunter

Where? Colombia, Hawaii
Job Description? Large parts of Colombia remain unexplored, covered by thick jungle and difficult to travel. Cacao hunters make their way through the bush, examining wild cacao trees for new varieties. While the job originates in South America, cacao hunters for chocolate companies work worldwide to ensure they discover the latest and greatest in chocolate.
Why take it? You have no need for a set schedule and get to work outside all day. And potentially discover a new kind of chocolate.

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