Eddie Ledesma works as a restaurant manager after majoring in Culinary Arts.
Median starting pay: $35,900
Median mid-career pay: $50,600
By choosing to enter the food industry, a fat paycheck may end up on the chopping block.
But whether it's working behind the scenes in a kitchen or starting a restaurant, real foodies are in it for more than the money.
"You can't not have passion for food and be in this industry, or it will eat you up and spit you out," said Eddie Ledesma, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who was recently hired as a restaurant manager at Ocean Prime restaurant in Dallas, Texas. "A real love for the art of cooking is what's going to sustain you, not necessarily a paycheck."
That doesn't mean it's impossible to live comfortably while working in the world of food.
"I absolutely love what I'm doing now and couldn't imagine myself in another career for any amount of money," said Ledesma.
Last updated January 14 2011: 2:40 PM ET