As a Chef and a cook, I can understand just where hookedcook is coming from.
The ACF certification process is for bettering one's self. You don't compete against others. You compete against yourself.
What this does in the long run is develops your attitude and disposition about what you do.
The ACF is not just for learning about food. You learn how to communicate with others, how to plan, direct, organize, market, yourself.
That being said, in my career, I too...