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are acf credentials neccesary?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
ive just started my career and am trying to figure out whether or not registering with the acf as an apprentice is really neccesary. so far ive managed to work under several great chefs at several prominent restaurants in the baltimore area without any acf credentials. how many of you require such things? what are the bonuses of registering?
"Human that has eaten human must taste that much sweeter..."
"Human that has eaten human must taste that much sweeter..."
post #2 of 9
Most restaurants really could care less about ACF credientials. They really only become really important if you want to go into teaching, do country club work, do higher corporate work, or hold a high position in a major hotel, and even then not all places look for ACF creds.
post #3 of 9
Petes right. To most owners of restaurants or restaurant companies
the paper is worthless. It is a result driven industry. To pass the
exec chef test is a relatively easy written test and 4 hrs to complete
a multi course meal. I will say, teaching is the exception. Whether it
is for the government or private industry, having the paper makes a
difference. it could mean the difference between 40 and 80 thousand
dollars. Sadly it rarely makes a difference other than money. Sometimes
the paper gives chefs a false sense of security and pride. I do know that
when training chefs in the military or large oil companies that the paper
can get you almost twice the money. At the end of the day it boils down
to the road you have traveled, how you traveled it, and how long you have
been on it. Apart from skill, reference from other established chefs are
the most important thing you can take with you. Principle, loyalty, and
ethics. There is a fine line between accepting responsibility and throwing
someone you work for under the bus. Get the paper if you like. It doesn't
take long. For what its worth.

post #4 of 9
It's not necessary. For some chefs it's a personal goal. CEC credentials tell me a few things.

1) That you have at least book knowledge
2) That you have stayed awhile at a job
3) That you have basic nutrition and management skills
4) That you have some practical cooking skills

That said, a resume which shows that you've participated in a wide variety of events along with different associations shows that you have been at least exposed to things outside of school.

Sorry to bust your bubble Stephen, but the CEC is a lot more than just the tests, it includes three classes and requires experience points for work. You don't just get work points, you have to stay at a job. You get six points per year but in order for them to count you have to have been at the job for a year. You get a half point for every month after, and you need 35 points. You also must have supervised a minimum of five full time employees for the lenght of time that you want those specific experience points to count toward your CEC. Then there are other points like education and experience other than those you're using for your CEC, which means you have to have had at least a few more years in the industry. It takes I think maybe 10 years+ to get your CEC. After getting your CEC you don't just sit on your laurels. You have to refresh it every so often by taking continuing education classes.

About 15 years ago the CEC was based on ACF participation. The more you participated the more points you got and once you collected enough you became a CEC. In 1995 I think the system got revised and you had to do the tests and get experience points, but now you didn't have to be an ACF member. About two years ago they introduced the practical exam. Now it's getting to be a real certification.

So yeah, it may be an easy test for some, but for many it will be a difficult road from putting in the time. Ten years, six of them at chef level. Think about where you will be in ten years.
post #5 of 9
didn't know that. Explains things well for a couple of guys in my area. Thanks.
post #6 of 9

I took the time to post a reply to you but it may have been lost
in an update of some sort. I bow with respect to your knowledge
in this area. I looked up the info and you are absolutely right. I
respect anyone who will take things one step further. I have not
participated in that part of my trade, and, it would not be fair of me
to pass judgement on someone who did. Thank for busting my bubble.
Hope my second post finds its way to the board. I have some questions
for an more seasoned chef. Perhaps you would allow me a little more
information about yourself. I am in need of some solid advice that
perhaps only a few can offer. Thanks again.

With Respect

Even Stephen
post #7 of 9
As a Certified Executive Chef, when hiring someone who has a certification, it tells me that they are serious about the culinary arts as a career. However, it does not necessarily mean I will not hire a non certified culinarian. I have belonged to the ACF for more than 5 years and I cannot say it has helped me get a job. For me, working with ACF Chef's a few times a year doing benefits and sharing similar experiences with them makes the yearly dues more feasible. I can tell you that in the last few years, the standards and testing for certification at any level have been raised.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
i thank you all very much for your input. im not in school and i am more or less learning from the chefs that i work with, my own practice, and studying everything that i can get my hands on (mostly through my own practice.) so it makes an official apprenticeship a little difficult. as it is now i have access to some of the best chefs in town and im learning more this way than i would in culinary school. i mean im not excluding the possibility of going eventually but i would rather wait until i exhaust the practical training. do acf credentials have any relevence internationally?
"Human that has eaten human must taste that much sweeter..."
"Human that has eaten human must taste that much sweeter..."
post #9 of 9
I have been an ACF member for 11 years and certified for almost five, which means I get to go throough the renewal process. Culinary school is not necessary to become certified, nor is an apprenticeship. I had neither, and am doing fine form learning from the best of the best in the areas where I worked. What I did do, however, was join the local ACF chapter. It may seem like a chunk of $$ to join, but the networking, the learning formt he chefs and the educational seminars at the meetings, and just being around chefs is more than worth the $$. I can say that being certtified and especially being an ACF member has gotten me jobs and into interviews. I got into interviews before the job was posted because of the ACF chapter networking.
To answer your question about ACF certification being recognized internationally, it is. ACF is a member of WACS, the Worls Association of Cooking Societies, (I think that;s what it stands for). The current WACS president is from the US and is an ACF member. Any country that recognizes WACS, which includes most industrialized nations, will also recognize ACF. You can check out the ACF website:
for the location of the closest chapter to you.
We have done so much with so little for so long, we can now do almost anything with almost nothing. Dave Marcis

Eat Well
We have done so much with so little for so long, we can now do almost anything with almost nothing. Dave Marcis

Eat Well
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