Certification Levels

May 17, 2009

I have been going through the process of certification and have found it to be a interesting  experiment of contradicting standards of execution.  I have had the opportunity to both observe the process and participate in it. It has left me dissapointed and feeling that the ACF can certainly do a better job of it.

I know the organization has made great strides in standardizng the process and making it fair to all who pursue the noble certification level status.  But, “one size doesn’t fit all”!

It is an expensive process. The cost of planning and practicing, time off from work,  in addition to travel costs can add up to a major expense.

I feel there needs to be considerations made for years of experience.  There is a differnce with a chef with three years of experience and one with over 20 years. There is a difference between a chef who manages mutimillion dollar sales compared to the chef who does not. There should be a recognition process given to the level of responsibilty and execution of the job.

I feel consideration should be made to the chef with many mutliple years of experience by waving the practical exam. I certainly have much respect for all chefs who have endured the rigors and rewards of our profession.

I feel that no chef should evaluate out of their certification status.  Culinary for culinary.  Pastry for pastry.

I am hoping Chef Ty that you will take my recommendations under consideration if you are elected president of the ACF.

CremePuff 17


One comment

  1. I agree with you that there are some inconsistencies with our certification program. We currently have a commission going over our entire certification process which should standardize some of the concerns you have for certification. Although the efforts from the commission are admirable, it will never be perfect for the entire group.

    From what I’ve been told, I am comfortable with the direction the Certification Commission is heading and upon completion, it will make our certification process credible. It is my hope that it will become the standard in all foodservice operations across the United States. Of course, we will need our Federal Government to sanction our program.

    As for the expense, I realize the cost for preparing yourself for certification is expensive, but there has to be a cost associated with improving your status as a certified culinarian. The goal is to enhance our program and recommend that our industry demand a certified culinarian which will bring us higher wage scales in the future. As for the internal cost for certification, I am not able to comment why the cost is as high as it is currently, but if elected … I will research this and hopefully make it more cost manageable for ACF Members. I personally believe that membership has its privileges and want to make that my top priority during my administration.

    Regarding your comment about a chef that has been a chef for over 20 years or manages/operates a multi-million foodservice business … We are in need of standardizing the criteria for each level of certification. Being in charge of a multi-million foodservice operation, does not necessarily mean that you have the knife skills, cooking or baking techniques, sanitation skills, and proper management skills for your business. What I have heard through the grapevine is that the commission is exploring the possibility of a chef/culinarian to receive life time certification in the certification level they are currently in, IF they are certified in that specific level for three consecutive initial and renewal processes.

    In regards to evaluating outside their certification status, that could be very challenging … especially if you are in the pastry field. There are less pastry evaluators than cooks.

    I certainly would look into your comments when elected and hope that you will continue to be part of our certification process … NOW and in the FUTURE!

    Warm regards,

    Michael Ty, CEC, AAC

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