Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to Become an ACF Certified Master Chef


Learn how professional chefs become American Culinary Federation Certified Master Chefs.

“To earn the Certified Master Chef designation is one of the most notable accomplishments of a chef’s career. It bears witness to the commitment, hard work and consummate skill that candidates bring to this most challenging of tasks—the CMC exam. These chefs have chosen to undergo an intensive eight-day test of culinary skills and knowledge, and they have our good wishes. If successful, they will join other CMCs throughout the U.S. who proudly hold this prestigious certification.”
—ACF Certification Commission Chair Ronald DeSantis, CMC, AAC®, MBA, director of culinary excellence and quality assurance, Yale Dining at Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Certified Master Chef® Exam

The title of Certified Master Chef® (CMC®), presented solely by the American Culinary Federation, is the highest level of certification a chef can receive. It represents the pinnacle of professionalism and skill. The eight-day practical exam sponsored by McCormick For Chefs will take place at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.

In order for a chef to apply for the CMC exam, the candidate must show documentation that he/she is a Certified Executive Chef® or Certified Culinary Educator®, provide two letters or recommendation from current CMCs and meet rigorous education and experience requirements. The cost for the examination process is $3,800. In addition, all other expenses associated with taking the exam (food for practice, travel, room, board, etc.) are the responsibility of the candidate.

Three days before the exam, candidates will receive the protein for their healthy cooking segment. Within 24 hours, they must return a nutritional analysis, menu and ingredient list that is approved by a registered dietician. The practical exam is administered in eight segments: healthy cooking, buffet catering, classical cuisine, freestyle cooking, global cuisine, baking and pastry, continental and northern Europe cuisines and market basket, demonstrating that the chef is well-rounded. Each category is graded in two parts: kitchen skills and presentation, and tasting. The minimum passing score for the entire exam is 75 points out of 100. If a candidate fails along the way, he/she is ineligible to continue.

Applicant Qualification Guidelines

1. Possess the practiced skills to perform culinary art to the very highest standards.

2. Have a foundation of quality experience and education in advanced level courses, externships and/or competitions.

3. Be physically and mentally prepared to perform eight days under extreme pressure.

4. Secure funding to cover expenses: application fee, tuition, travel, housing, meals, etc. based at approximately $4,000–$6,000.

Specific Experience Requirements

1. Hold a current ACF Certified Executive Chef (CEC) or Certified Culinary Educator (CCE)

2. Letters from two CMCs recommending the candidate for the exam

Additional guidelines and educational requirements can be found in the Manual.

Application Process

To apply for the CMC certification carefully review the guidelines and qualifications, submit a letter of intent, application, $300 nonrefundable application fee and two letters of recommendation from current ACF CMPCs or CMCs to the ACF National office.

Applications will be reviewed by the CMC/CMPC subcommittee and qualified candidates will become active CMC candidates and receive information regarding the next scheduled exam. From this point forward, the candidate will be subject to all policies and procedures regarding the exam.

Tuition Payments, Refunds and Other Expenses

Once a candidate has committed to an exam date, the payment schedule is listed below. The total fee for the examination process is $3,800.

1. The application fee of $300 is non-refundable and entitles the candidate to be listed as a preparatory candidate for the next three exams.

2. Three months prior to the start of the exam, the candidate is required to make a deposit of $1,500.

3. Two months prior to the exam, the candidate is required to pay the remaining balance of $2,000.

All other expenses associated with taking the exam (travel, room, board, etc.) are the responsibility of the candidate. This includes any charges required by the host institution for make-up exams.


Master chef recertification is required every five years. Chefs should use the Application and document 80 hours of continuing education. Master chefs are exempt from taking the three mandatory refreshers.

Watch Food Documentary- The Rise of the Superchef promised a behind-the-scenes look at these world famous chefs and how they turned their cooking skills into vast multi-million-pound businesses and international brands.  Delia, Jamie, Gordon, Nigella, Rick, Gary and Antony - their names and faces are everywhere, they are all over the TV schedules, their own brand products dominate the department stores and their cookery books fill up the bestseller lists. We think we know them well, but for the first time this is the story of how they took British cuisine out of the joke book and into the record books.

how to become a chef

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