For the first time since 2014, some of most seasoned and skilled chefs from around the U.S. will gather at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan, to take the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Master Chef (CMC) exam. The ultimate test of culinary skill, knowledge and creativity, the exam will take place September 30 through October 7 and will showcase the talents of 12 culinarians seeking the title of CMC, the highest level of certification in the U.S. that a chef can receive.
The ACF Certified Master Chef designation currently belongs to just 65 CMCs and 10 Certified Master Pastry Chefs (CMPCs). To apply for the exam, candidates must already be a Certified Executive Chef or Certified Culinary Educator, provide two letters of recommendation from current CMCs or CMPCs, and have completed education courses on sanitation and food safety, management, cost management and wine.
“Simply to reach the point of sitting for the Certified Master Chef exam requires enormous commitment,” says ACF National President Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC. “The test provides chefs the opportunity to prove they are the best of the best by demonstrating their technical skills and passion for the culinary arts. The title is as highly coveted as it is difficult to achieve and I wish each candidate the best in accomplishing this extraordinary goal.”
During the progressive eight-day exam, candidates are tested on healthy cooking, buffet catering, classical cuisine, freestyle cooking, global cuisine, baking and pastry, continental and Northern European cuisines and “market basket,” a mystery basket of ingredients from which to prepare a five-course meal. Each candidate must maintain an average of 75 out of 100 points each day, as scored by a panel of evaluators composed of current CMCs, to be eligible to advance to the next day of the exam. Scores are tallied based on kitchen skills, plate presentation and taste.
"The chefs who choose to pursue the Certified Master Chef designation are some of the most accomplished in the country, and their commitment to the craft serves as an inspiration for others,” says Brian Beland, CMC, instructor at Schoolcraft College, host site administrator for the 2017 exam, and Executive Chef at Country Club of Detroit.
“The CMC journey begins with dedication to the craft of cooking. The reward is the educational experience and growth one gains along the way. The CMC pathway is only the beginning of a lifelong commitment to professional mentorship. It is an honor to be a member of the host site team at Schoolcraft College and for us to have the opportunity to give back to the industry by hosting the 2017 CMC exam.”
Schoolcraft College boasts a culinary arts program with a national reputation for quality, creativity and culinary excellence, as well as a strong faculty that includes two CMCs (Jeffrey Gabriel, CMC, and Brian Beland, CMC) and one CMPC (Joseph Decker, CMPC). The Livonia campus is home to one of the most advanced teaching kitchens in the country, which will be put to the test by this year’s CMC candidates.
CMC and CMPC are the culmination of the progressive ACF credentials that enable foodservice professionals to certify their skill, knowledge and professionalism at each stage of their careers. ACF is committed to supporting the advancement of cooks, chefs and the industry at large through continuing education opportunities that include certification, apprenticeships and programmatic accreditation.
The 2017 CMC candidates will be announced in June.
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