ACF Certification

ACF Certification Matters

Differentiate Yourself

With thousands of chefs competing in the job market, it is essential to prove your culinary competency. Certification through the American Culinary Federation demonstrates skill, knowledge and professionalism to the food service industry.
What ACF certification means to an employer
  • You take charge of your professional development and career
  • Your skills and culinary expertise have reached a set benchmark
  • You understand the responsibilities of culinary supervisory management
  • You are well versed in culinary nutrition and food safety and sanitation
  • You understand the responsibilities of culinary supervisory management

Getting Started

  • Certification Designations

    Information on the 14 certification designations offered by the ACF.

  • Initial Certification

    For candidates interested in beginning her or his ACF certification process or continuing the
    certification process to a new certification level.

  • Recertification

    For candidates needing to recertify to maintain current certification level.

  • Southwest Florida Area Testing Information

    Find information on ACF written and practical testing locations.

  • Lifetime Certification

    Certification information for culinary professionals nearing retirement.

  • American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) eCulinary Professional Development Institute

    eCulinary website offering online educational opportunities such as monthly quizzes to earn educational credit. Practice certification tests, certification prep courses, and apprenticeship courses

  • Chefcertification.com

    Online source for initial 30-hour courses and 8-hour refresher courses in Food safety and
    Sanitation, Nutrition, and Supervisory Management. Also, offers culinary educator courses and other continuing education courses.

  • 123CE.com

    Online source for initial 30-hour courses and 8-hour refresher courses in Food safety and Sanitation, Nutrition, and Supervisory Management.

  • Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)

    Information on how to earn ACF continuing education hours for
    recertification.

  • Certification Resources

    To obtain ACF certification resources, applications, and handbooks.

Cooking Professionals

Certified Culinarian® (CC®)

An entry level culinarian within a commercial foodservice operation responsible for
preparing and cooking sauces, cold food, fish, soups and stocks, meats, vegetables, eggs and other food items.

Certified Sous Chef® (CSC®)

A chef who supervises a shift or station(s) in a foodservice operation. Equivalent job titles are sous chef, banquet chef, garde manger, first cook, a.m. sous chef and p.m. sous chef.

Certified Chef de Cuisine® (CCC®)

A chef who is the supervisor in charge of food production in a foodservice operation. This could be a single unit of a multi-unit operation or a free-standing operation. He or she is in essence the chef of the operation with the final decision-making power as it relates to culinary operations.

Certified Executive Chef® (CEC®)

A chef who is the department head usually responsible for all culinary units in a restaurant, hotel, club, hospital or foodservice establishment. In addition to culinary responsibilities, other duties include budget preparation, payroll, maintenance, controlling food costs and maintaining financial and inventory records.

Certified Master Chef® (CMC®)

The consummate chef. A CMC® possesses the highest degree of professional culinary knowledge, skill and mastery of cooking techniques. A separate application is required, in addition to successfully completing an eight-day testing process judged by peers. Certification as a CEC® or CEPC® is a prerequisite.

Personal Cooking Professionals

Personal Certified Chef™ (PCC™)

A chef who is engaged in the preparation, cooking and serving of foods on a “cook-for-hire” basis. Must also have knowledge of menu planning, marketing, financial management and operational decision making. Has at least three years of cooking experience and one full year of Personal Chef experience.

Personal Certified Executive Chef™ (PCEC™)

An advanced chef who is engaged in the preparation, cooking and serving of foods on a “cook-for-hire” basis. Must also have knowledge of menu planning, marketing, financial management and operational decision making. Has at least three years of Personal Chef experience.

Culinary Administrators

Certified Culinary Administrator® (CCA®)

This is an executive-level chef who is responsible for the administrative functions of running a professional foodservice operation. This culinary professional must demonstrate proficiency in culinary knowledge, human resources, operational management and business planning skills.

Culinary Educators

Certified Secondary Culinary Educator® (CSCE®)

An advanced-degree culinary professional who is working as an educator at an accredited secondary or vocational institution. A CSCE® is responsible for the development, implementation, administration, evaluation and maintenance of a culinary arts or foodservice management curriculum. In addition, a CSCE® demonstrates the culinary competencies of a CCC® or CWPC® during a Practical Exam.

Certified Culinary Educator® (CCE®)

An advanced-degree culinary professional, with industry experience, who is working as an educator in an accredited postsecondary institution or military training facility. A CCE® is responsible for the development, implementation, administration, evaluation and maintenance of a culinary arts or foodservice management curriculum. In addition, a CCE® demonstrates the culinary competencies of a CCC® or CWPC® during a Practical Exam.

Baking and Pastry Professionals

Certified Pastry Culinarian® (CPC®)

An entry level culinarian within a pastry foodservice operation responsible for the preparation and production of pies, cookies, cakes, breads, rolls, desserts or other baked goods.

Certified Working Pastry Chef® (CWPC®)

A pastry chef who supervises a pastry section or a shift within a foodservice operation and has considerable responsibility for preparation and production of all pastry items.

Certified Executive Pastry Chef® (CEPC®)

A pastry chef who is a department head, usually responsible to the executive chef of a food operation or to the management of a pastry specialty firm. A CEPC® has supervisory responsibility as well as administrative duties.

Certified Master Pastry Chef® (CMPC®)

A CMPC® possesses the highest degree of professional knowledge, skill and mastery of cooking techniques as they apply to baking and pastry. A separate application is required, in addition to successfully completing an 8-day testing process judged by peers. Certification as a CEC® or CEPC® is a prerequisite.

ACF Certification Process Simplified ....

Eligibility is based on a chef’s work experience and educational background. Review the certification levels available and the specific requirements.
Documentation of Education
A candidate can take a variety of educational paths to meet the education requirement. Hours earned for mandatory courses and/or refreshers can be counted towards hours required for continuing education (CEHs).
Completion of Mandatory Education Courses
Candidates should provide documentation of three 30-hour courses–one in Nutrition, one in Food Safety and Sanitation, and one in Supervisory Management. (ServSafe must be a documented 30-hour course to fulfill the mandatory requirement.)
1. If these courses were taken more than five years ago, an 8-hour refresher course is required in each topic.
These courses are available online at Chefcertification.com, 123CE.com, or may be taken at a school or another authorized source. (ServSafe 8- or 16-hour courses are only counted as a refresher.)
Documentation of Work History
A candidate’s eligible work history is limited to the past 10 years

Complete the initial application and include all the necessary documentation.
Educational documents may be copies of diplomas, transcripts, certificates of completion (including date and hours), etc.
Experience documentation may be employment documentation forms or letters from past or present employers on company letterhead. If not available, copies of tax records or W-2 stating time frame of work are acceptable in conjunction with validated letters from former culinary peers attesting to your employment, job title, duties and number of employees managed.
Mandatory education course certificates and/or transcripts should be included in application. These should include course title, completion date and number of hours earned.
Certificates of completion for 30-hour courses and refreshers if applicable:

  • Food Safety and Sanitation
  •  Nutrition
  • Culinary Supervisory Management
Submit application and documentation of completed requirements to ACF for pre-approval. Make sure everything is attached, copies only (no originals), and your payment information is included. Applications can be faxed, scanned or mailed.

Initial Pre-Approval Fee and Final Application Fee
Candidates interested in obtaining certification will pay a $50.00 non refundable pre-approval application fee, submitted with the initial application. This fee is credited to the certification fee depending on member and nonmember
rate. The remaining funds are due at time of final application. Estimated Cost of Certification.
ACF Will Notify Candidates of Eligibility
The ACF Certification Department will review applications and documentation (i.e., dates of completion, work history and mandatory course work). You will be notified initial application is in review and again upon approval. Once the
candidate’s initial application has been approved he or she will be eligible to take the written and practical exams. Testing documentation will be needed for final certification approval. Only after pre-approval may a candidate register for the written or practical exam

There are two exams required for certification. You must register, take, and successfully pass both the written and the practical exam.
1. The written exam tests culinary knowledge.
2. The practical exam evaluates skill and culinary proficiency.

Upon successful completion of the written and practical exams, the candidate should submit final application along with appropriate documentation:

written and practical exam passing forms and remaining certification fee.

Make sure copies of all back-up documentation, (no originals) are included.

Local Testing Information

To register to take the practical exam for your ACF certification, complete the Practical Exam Candidate Registration Form and return it to the ACF national office. You may be exempt from taking the practical exam if awarded a Gold or Silver Medal in either an ACF F-4 or FMH Mystery Basket for savory and PF1 for pastry with a 2015 to present date. Documentation required.

To register, contact Comira to schedule your written exam. Comira is a full-service, customer-focused testing provider with over 500 testing centers nationwide. You can register with Comira by phone by calling (800) 947-4228, option 4, Mon.–Fri. 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and Sat. 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or via the ACF/Comira Online Registration Site.
1. The written exam fee is $75 and should be paid directly to Comira.
2. Comira has a 24 hour cancellation policy.
3. Please note that you must have a credit card to register online.
4. An ACF number is required at time of registration. To request an ACF identification number, contact certify@acfchefs.net prior to registration.
5. Written exam scores are valid for two years.

Comira Testing Site Location:
Fort Myers: Paragon Flight Center
511 Danley Dr, Fort Myers, FL 33907 | (239) 274-3170

The test fee due to ACF is $50 for ACF members and $100 for non-members. Payment must be made prior to the exam date. You will receive a receipt after your payment is processed.

In addition, you must contact the test administration to confirm test time, host site fee and specific details about the testing facility. Test sites may charge an additional host site fee that is payable to the organization hosting the exam.

Payment for any host site fees are separate from the amount due to ACF and are coordinated by the test site administrator.

Area Testing Site Locations:

  • Shadow Wood Country Club

    22801 Oakwilde Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL 34135-2051
    Richard Crisanti, CEC, CCA - rcrisanti@shadowwoodcc.com
    (239) 777-3648

  • Bonita Bay Club

    26660 Country Club Dr, Bonita Springs, FL 34134-4398
    Richard Brumm, CEC - richardb@bonitabayclub.net
    (239) 949-5018

  • Sanctuary Golf Club

    2801 Wulfert Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957-2215
    Derek Bryner, CSC - dbryner@sanctuarygc.net
    (239) 472-6492

  • Keiser University Center for Culinary Arts

    6151 Lake Osprey Dr, Sarasota, FL 34240-8419
    Brian Knecht, CEC, CCA, AAC - brian_knecht@sarasota.k12.fl.us
    (941) 812-5490

ACF Recertification Information

ACF recertification is required every five years. We recommend you maintain a folder with copies of your official certificates and letters, conference registrations, transcripts, etc. in order to keep track of your progress. And you can
scan the CEH and email them to certify@acfchefs.net. CEH’s from non-automated ACF sources (conferences and conventions) can be mailed:

American Culinary Federation
180 Center Place Way
St. Augustine, FL 32095
Or Fax: (904) 940-0742

Upon approval, these CEHs will be added to your official record. If you scan and email, please include only one CEH activity per PDF document. Documentation for CEHs must be official communication from an authorizing representative and include 1) type of activity, 2) description of activity if not self-explanatory, 3) date of activity and 4) number of hours earned. Please allow six weeks for activities to be added to your record.

Step 1: Fill out a Recertification Application.
Step 2: Provide the necessary documentation for your Continuing Education Hours (CEHs).
1. They must include the number of hours taken and the date it was completed. Do not send original certificates and properly secure all paperwork together.
2. On your first recertification, you are required to take 8-hour refresher courses for Food Safety and Sanitation, Nutrition, and Culinary Supervisory Management as part of your 80 CEHs in five years for all levels above the CC®/CPC® levels and 48 CEHs in 3 years for CC®/CPC® levels. They are available at Chefcertification.com and 123CE.com.
3. On your second or subsequent recertification’s, you are only required to complete an 8-hour refresher in Food Safety and Sanitation as part of your 80 CEHs in five years for all levels above the CC®/CPC® levels and 48 CEHs in 3 years for CC®/CPC® levels.
Step 3: Include payment either by credit card information on the application or a check or money order made payable to the American Culinary Federation.

The CEH requirement for chefs with multiple designations has changed from 80 hours per designation to 80 hours for the first designation, 40 hours for the second designation and 20 hours for each subsequent designation thereafter.

For CC®/CPC® certifications, the first designation is 48 CEHs and the second is 24 CEHs.

Lifetime Certification

ACF offers Lifetime Certifications to recognize chefs who have demonstrated a lifetime of commitment and dedication to the culinary profession. Lifetime certificants are great leaders in our industry and encourage and motivate others to achieve excellence in the profession.

Lifetime certifications are available for certified chefs who reach the age of 62 or who by the age of 55 are fully retired from the industry. Certified chefs who retire before reaching the age of 55 for disability reasons can also apply.

Please complete a Lifetime Certification Application.

All applications are available on the Resources page.

Forms & Applications

Contact ACF

For more information, call us at (800) 624-9458, ext. 505 or email certify@acfchefs.net

Certification Chair
David J. Durante, CEC, CCA
ddurante@acfnapleschefs.org

Certification Chair
Daniel M. Kniola
dkniola@acfnapleschefs.org

Certification Chair
Richard Brumm, CEC,CCA
rbrumm@acfnapleschefs.org

Certified Culinarian
4.3%
Certified Chef de Cuisine
4.3%
Certified Executive Chef
67.4%
Certified Culinary Administrator
19.6%
Certified Culinary Educator
4.3%