Originally Posted by RGM2
It seems that the ACF already has a certification program. It is weird that I spent 6 months looking for an entry level job here is Seattle on Craigslist and never once did I see anyone say anything about it. It seems they have very poor marketing or have very little credibility in our industry as a whole.
The Certs. seem pretty solid though in the requirements.
RGM2 i don't know about the US, but here in Canada the certifications for cook are voluntary. We are slowly beginning - myself as a recruiter for the company I work for included - to insist on minimum standards. I will post want ads requiring PC1 (Professional Cook level 1 - basic prep and line cooks) qualifications, or PC2, or in the case of a sous chef or even a chef de partie I will require an Interprovincial Red Seal, our national standard of accreditation for all trades. In most trades, the IPRS is required, not voluntary. Not so in cooking - yet. The reason so many employers do not insist on this is that yes, they don't know much about it, and in many cases they believe they would automatically have to pay more for a "certified" cook over an uncertified cook. Some of you have stated and correlated skill, experience, and certification. They have little to do with each other, as one is a minimum recognized standard (certification) the other comes from practice and personal discipline (skill) and the last is merely a matter of time, whether you apply yourself or not (experience). Having one does not mean you have any of the others. I believe you should have all three to be good at what you are doing...
Durangojo, I know where you are at, and I envy you for being able to do what you do. i used to own a small hotel in the countryside, by the ocean. I raised my own chickens and had not only free run chickens' eggs, but happy chickens' eggs. I had an orchard with apple, pear, cherry, peaches and plums. I bought my seafood from my neighbour on one side, who was a prawn fisher, and the other who fished salmon, halibut and tuna. I grew lettuce, herbs, rhubarb, red currants and strawberries, and my wife and I would pick tons of wild blackberries. I would go to town every two weeks to pick up dry staples such as sugar and flour. i baked my own bread and made all the pastries and desserts. Only occasionally, if i had a big catering job to do, did I have a broadliner bring up a delivery from town. That's how it was, not beause i wanted to be some granola crunching environmentalist, but it just made sense! (And, it was the most fun I ever had as a chef!) Yes, that's how it is supposed to be, ideally. I realize we can't all do it this way, economics and logistics don't allow it, but we as chefs can at least have this sort of ATTITUDE. If it can be had locally, fresh, in season, done right, without hurting the planet or the people who produce it, then we should choose it over whatever may be more convenient - or cheaper. When our kids go to kindergarten they soon learn that the toys there are not theirs to keep. They get to play with them for as long as they are at kindergarten, and they are taught to share, and to treat the toys in such a way that the next group of kids can play with the same toys, too. If our kids were to insist on taking these toys home, or they wrecked them, we parents would give them heck, wouldn't we?? Well, we adults are also kids in the same kindergarten called our planet. We, too are only allowed to play with the toys while we are around, and we too, need to leave them for the next group of kids - our kids - to play with. Maybe too philosophical...
On the sustainability of our profession, I'm glad I struck a chord with this group. From 35 years of cooking, then going on to teaching, and now testing young cooks, I am convinced that we need to change how we manage (or rather do not manage) our profession. I am convinced a strong guild - not a union - would help us build much needed integrity and respect for cooks everywhere - in North America, anyway. In Europe, cooks enjoy a much greater level of respect than here. Granted, there are lousy cooks there, too, and many a "European trained" chef I have run into couldn't cook his way out of a paper hat! The exceptions do not make the rule, they confirm it.
For those of you interested in the reasons for the US economy's current challenges, I encourage you to read the final couple of chapters in Bill Fawcett's book "100 Mistakes That Changed History". A good read, beginning to end, but particularly at the end.
Keep up the arguments!