How To Become A Certified Chef

A chef competing for a better job can give himself the competitive edge by learning how to become a certified chef. Being certified assures prospective employers that you are trained in nutrition, food safety and sanitation. They know you can supervise a team and that you recognize the importance of high standards of food preparation. And by choosing to become a certified chef you take charge of you professional career in a way that is respected in the industry.

To become a certified chef you must follow the guidelines of the American Culinary Federation. The AFC offers fourteen different certification programs in the food service industries. The highest level of certification is the Certified Master Chef. To become certified you must follow these crucial steps:

  1. Decide what certificate you want to pursue. There are various certificates you can apply for. They range from Certified Culinarian, an entry level culinarian, to Certified Master Chef.  For a list of certifications, and their descriptions, visit the American Culinary Federation’s website at acfchefs.org. Then download the application of your choice.
  2. Review the cost. Visit the Initial ACF Certification Cost Estimate page on ACF’s website. The cost is broken down for each type of certificate, the fee and testing costs, along with the total. ACF offers fee discounts to members.
  3. Fill out the application. You will need the necessary documentation for the educational and employment history. Acceptable documentation include, copies of transcripts, diplomas and certificated of completions. Employment history can be documented with letters of past employment on company letter head and W-2 forms. Thirty hours of courses in food safety, sanitation, nutrition and culinary supervisory management are required. You can take the required courses at chefcertification.com  or any accredited school.
  4. Take the written and practical exam. The written exam tests your culinary knowledge. You can take the written exam at any Comira location. The practical exam tests your culinary skills and can be taken at an approved ACF test site.
  5. Once the written and practical exam is complete, submit the application with the necessary documentation and fees. ACF certification department will review the application and documentation. Upon approval, a Certification Letter and a wallet card will be mailed to you. The certification is valid for five years. You can apply for recertification through ACF.
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