Daily Exam Updates
Wish you were at the 2010 Certified Master Chef® (CMC®)
exam to see the action live? You don’t have to be. ACF takes you
into the kitchens of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park,
N.Y., each day with updates below and photos. Follow the 12
candidates’ journey from start to finish.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Congratulations to Richard Rosendale, the newest Certified Master
Chef. Rosendale, who after retaking the Classical Cuisine portion of the
exam today, Nov. 1, from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., has successfully passed
the Certified Master Chef® exam. He joins Brian Beland, CMC; Daniel
Dumont, CMC; Robert Mancuso, CMC; and Brian Sode, CMC; who were awarded
their CMC designations on Oct. 30. Obtaining the CMC designation is an
enormous accomplishment and each of these five chefs has earned it. They
are consummate chefs.
ACF’s Newest CMCs - Brian Beland, CMC;
Robert Mancuso, CMC; Brian Sode, CMC; and Dan Dumont, CMC
New CMCs & CMC Exam Evaluators
Saturday, October 30, 2010: Day Eight
Day eight, the final day of the CMC exam, was a marathon. The seven
candidates started at 6 a.m. and had four hours to prepare and serve the
three assigned Continental Cuisine entrées.
Each candidate had to earn a minimum of 70 points to advance to the
second portion of the day’s exam, the mystery basket. Hall had a
tremendous week of cooking, however he did not receive the minimum
points needed and would not continue to the afternoon session.
The remaining six candidates advancing to the second half of the
day’s exam had 30 minutes to develop a five-course menu for 10
using the items in their mystery basket. They had a five hour window to
prepare and serve the five-course menu consisting of an appetizer, soup,
fish course, salad and main course. A sampling of the items in the
mystery basket was spot prawns, pork tenderloin, frog legs, cardoons,
white asparagus, papaya and Israeli couscous, which provided for
challenging and interesting menu possibilities.
Floor evaluators, Giunta, Gielisse, Murphy, Russell Scott, CMC, WGMC,
and Rudolph Speckamp, CMC, ensured that the mastery of cooking
methodology, butchery and craftsmanship was demonstrated during the
cooking period. Plating, platter construction, taste and finishing
skills were evaluated by tasting evaluators Barnes, Holzer, Friedrich
Gitschner, CMC, AAC, and Edward Leonard, CMC, AAC, WGMC.
Anticipation, excitement and nervousness grew throughout the day as
family and friends watched and waited. The final plate was presented to
the tasting evaluators at 7:45 p.m. The waiting continued, as final
scores were tabulated.
After a grueling and non-stop eight-day cooking exam, emotions
surfaced as test administrators and lead evaluators for the day,
DeSantis and Barnes, announced that four chefs went from being
candidates to CMCs.
Congratulations to the following 2010 CMCs:
- Brian Beland, CMC
- Daniel Dumont, CMC
- Robert Mancuso, CMC
- Brian Sode, CMC
The new CMCs received congratulations from the other CMCs and then
donned their CMC chef coats while receiving their certificate, pin and
patch. It was a proud and memorable moment for ACF and everyone
The CMC exam scoring system, weightings and rational are complicated.
While Thompson passed the morning’s Continental Cuisine section,
he did not earn enough points in the mystery basket to pass for the day.
The final day is critical to pass with a score of 75. If a candidate is
not successful on the final day, they do not pass the exam and a retake
is not given.
If a chef passes the final day of the exam, but had a score below
passing on one section of the exam earlier in the week, they are then
offered a make-up exam on that section. Rosendale was in this situation.
He will retake the Classical Cuisine portion of the exam on Monday, Nov.
2, and if successful, he will earn the title of CMC. An update will be
posted on Monday with his results. We wish him much success.
We are proud to announce that the number of CMCs has grown from 61 the
past several years to 65 today, and potentially 66 depending on the
outcome of Rosendale’s retake on Monday. Please join us in
congratulating the new CMCs who did an exceptional job the past eight
demanding days. They put on quite a show for the culinary world and have
earned the right to wear and use the prestigious CMC title.
We sincerely thank our exam sponsor, McCormick For Chefs, the apprentices, and the
CMC administrators and evaluators, without them this exam would not have
been possible. We also thank all the CMC candidates, as each of them
displayed tremendous courage and the qualities of a chef that make us
Friday, October 29, 2010: Day Seven
The international aromas from yesterday’s global cuisines were
replaced with the smells of fresh baked bread and desserts. The eight
CMC candidates started the baking and pastry exam in one flight in
15-minute intervals at 8 a.m. Loving drew the first start time followed
by Sode, Thompson, Hall, Dumont, Rosendale, Mancuso and Beland.
The chefs had five hours to bake with a 15-minute
service window to prepare the following items:
- 10-plated servings of a hot or cold kitchen dessert.
- One, two-pound recipe of a yeast-leavened product of the
- Two-dozen portions of a chemically-leavened quick bread product of
the candidate’s choosing.
- Two-dozen portions of a puff pastry Vol-au-vent or
Chefs were able to present their bread items at any point during
their baking time, but the visual highlight for most was the 10-plated
desserts presented during their 15-minute window. Many of them
considered seasonality when developing their desserts.
Testing criteria included product size and shape consistency,
presentation, finishing and baking techniques, marketability, taste and
texture. The lead evaluator for the day was Vaccaro, who was supported
by Gunther Heiland, CMPC, AAC, and Noble L. Masi, CEPC, CMB, AAC. The
evaluators felt the plated desserts were both professional and
representative of a high-quality level. The evaluators commented that
the organization, pace of preparation and presentation showed that the
candidates had practiced diligently for this portion of the exam, as
they were thoroughly prepared.
While Loving did well on this portion of the exam, he unfortunately
did not earn enough points to accumulate the minimum average of 75 for
the week. Therefore, he will not be continuing to the final day of the
The final day of the exam, day eight on Oct. 30,
will be an extremely intense day with each of the remaining seven chefs
preparing two different menus in two separate cooking exams. Continental
Cuisine begins at 6 a.m. with the candidates preparing the following
three entrées from different countries:
- Wiener Schnitzel and Gemischter Salatteller
- Goulash and Fresh Egg Noodles
- Coq au vin
At the completion of that section, the candidates will have 30
minutes to develop a menu from a mystery basket, and then prepare it.
The start time for the second exam of the day is 11 a.m. with final
plating at 7 p.m.
The CMC exam is approaching its end. Stay tuned for the results of an
excellent and dynamic eight days of cooking. All the CMC candidates are
excellent chefs and day eight will be an exciting culmination of years
of practice and preparation. Much success to all!
In conjunction with the CMC exam, the Culinary Institute of America
under the guidance of Associate Vice President Gielisse, hosted the
inaugural CMC Summit. This was the largest group of master chefs ever
assembled together. Twenty five CMCs and CMPCs (certified master pastry
chefs) gathered for a day of discussions and goal setting to help shape
the future direction of the CMC program. Their objectives included how
CMCs can add value to ACF and the culinary industry, and how the ACF-CMC
brand can be strengthened.
Thursday, October 28, 2010: Day Six
Fabulous and interesting aromas filled the spectator hallways outside
The Culinary Institute of America’s kitchens where the CMC exam
was taking place on day 6, global cuisine. The ten candidates had 4.5
hours to prepare, plate and serve the assigned ethnic menus.
Each candidate’s objective was to demonstrate their knowledge
of global cuisine by preparing three main dishes from different regions
of the world. They were evaluated on how they represented the
traditions, philosophies and methodology that is indicative of each of
the regional cuisines.
The candidates prepared the same three following
- Americas: Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Cuban Style Black Beans,
Pineapple Salsa and Fried Plantians
- Mediterranean: Paella Valenciana
- Asia: Potato Samosas with Tamarind Sauce, Wilted Cabbage Salad,
Curried Cauliflower (Phul Gobi), Warm Tomato Relish (Gujrati
Mancuso was the first of the ten candidates and started at 7:30 a.m.
The final candidate was Rosendale with a 30-minute service at 8 p.m.
Kitchen floor evaluators Giunta, Megenis, and Holzer were impressed
with each candidate’s organization, preparation and cooking
techniques, as well as their attention to cleanliness and sanitation.
Along with the lead evaluator for the day, Gielisse, the tasting
evaluators, Griffiths, McFadden, and Scott, assessed each
candidate’s three entrées and scored them based on taste and
the traditional integrity of the dish.
At this point in the exam, the evaluators discussed with the
candidates their performance to date and where they stand in relation to
the cumulative minimum score of 75 required to advance to the final day
on Saturday, Oct. 30, day eight. Unfortunately, two of the chef
candidates, Hanlin and Moosmiller, did not achieve the score necessary
to proceed and will not continue with days seven and eight of the exam.
It is difficult when a chef does not progress to the next day, and it
becomes more heart wrenching for all, candidates and evaluators, when it
happens further along into the exam.
While the focus is, and should be, on the candidates, special
recognition must be given to the CMC evaluators. They are a committed
group of chefs that have dedicated their time and expertise to further
develop high-level chefs. You will often find them standing shoulder to
shoulder with the candidates for more than 12 hours a day for the eight
days of the exam. Their compassion, guidance and pride in the CMC
designation is inspiring. ACF sincerely thanks each of them for their
devotion and tremendous contributions.
To complete day six, the eight remaining candidates attended a
briefing by Thomas Vaccaro, CMB, outlining day seven of the exam, baking
and pastry. Start times for the candidates were also drawn.
Joining the candidates and evaluators for the day were Stacy Knight
and Ed Gardner of McCormick For Chefs, the exam sponsor. They
were able to see firsthand how the exam was conducted and spend time
with the exam administrators. A special thank you to McCormick For Chefs
for their generous support.
John Kinsella, CMC, CCE, WGMC, AAC, ACF immediate past president, was
also present to support and encourage the candidates. Kinsella will
serve as an emeritus judge on day eight.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010: Day Five
The CMC candidates did extremely well on the
freestyle portion of the exam on Oct. 27. They were able to showcase
their personal cooking techniques and talents in any food style they
desired. Each chef had to prepare a four-course meal for ten consisting
of four-plated portions and six portions appropriate for Russian
service. Remember, this is the fifth day of exceptionally intense
cooking. The four courses were:
- Appetizer or soup
- Fish course
- Main course
Chefs were provided a market basket with six proteins, four
vegetables, three starches, lettuce and three supplementary items. They
were required to use each ingredient in the basket.
On previous days, the chefs had a 30-minute window to set their
stations, but that ended today. Now the total time was four hours of
preparation with a 30-minute service window. The chefs had also been
rotating student apprentices daily and coaching them on how they can
best help execute their menus. These are just two examples of non-food
related items that the chefs are evaluated on during the exam, in
addition to their culinary skills.
There was a morning flight of five candidates with the first
candidate starting at 7:30 a.m. and an afternoon flight with the
remaining five candidates that started at 2 p.m. By 8:30 p.m., all the
freestyle menus had been presented to the evaluators for tasting.
The candidates successfully demonstrated their craft, and at the end
of the day all ten had earned enough cumulative points to proceed to day
six, Oct. 28. The candidate’s spirits and confidence were lifted
today when the evaluators shared with them that they truly enjoyed the
food, found it well presented and that it was reflective of the elements
needed to be cooking at this advanced level.
The lead judge for the freestyle session was Megenis, supported by
tasting evaluators Barnes, Holzer and Johnstone. Busby, Giunta,
Griffiths, McFadden, Moore and Timmins were the floor evaluators.
After the morning and afternoon exam sessions had ended, the
candidates attended a briefing by Gielisse on tomorrow’s theme,
global cuisines. They were also informed of the order in which they
would test. It was another late night for the candidates, as they
prepared for their next challenging day of testing—day six of
Are you curious how a candidate’s score is
determined? The following criteria and weights are used for scoring most
sections of the exam.
- Serving method and portion size - 15%
- Cooking fundamentals - 15%
- Menu composition - 15%
- Presentation - 15%
- Taste - 40%
Tuesday, October 26, 2010: Day Four
Filets de Sole à l’Andalouse, Poulet Sauté Marengo
and Subrics d’Epinards were just a few of the catch phrases heard
around the kitchens on day four, classical cuisine, of the Certified
Master Chef exam.
Classical cooking is the foundation of good cooking and provides the
techniques for developing flavors. This style of cooking is not one
which chefs necessarily use daily; therefore it was a challenging day
for the CMC candidates. They had to understand, interpret and execute
the philosophy of Auguste Escoffier in a soup, fish and entrée
course. The chefs focused on preparing dishes, such as Consommé
Lucullus, Poulet Sauté d’Artois, and Pommes de Terre
Château, all under a tight timeline in order to make their service
The floor evaluators were Gielisse, Holzer, John Johnstone, CMC, and
Moore, while the tasting evaluators were Buchner; Giunta; Griffiths;
McFadden; David J. Megenis, CMC, CCE, AAC; and Peter Timmins, CMC. The
evaluators throughout the day referenced Le Guide Culinaire
to ensure that the classical techniques standards were properly
Following the end of the morning session, the candidates attended a
briefing by Barnes about the freestyle portion of the exam. Megenis,
with the support of Giunta, facilitated a briefing what to expect on day
five, Oct. 27, of the exam after the afternoon session.
With the first exam session starting at 7 a.m. and the second session
concluding at approximately 10 p.m., it was a long day and one that the
chefs most likely are glad to have it over. Ten of the eleven candidates
had cumulative scores at the conclusion of day four allowing them to
proceed with the exam. However, Emert did not and will not be
The candidates, for the first time since their arrival, do not have
to prepare a menu and food requisition that night to submit the next
morning. Nevertheless, there is still much for them to review and study
as they return to their hotel rooms, but there is a chance they may get
a little more sleep if they can get haricots verts and Poulet Sauté
à la Bourguignonne off their minds.
ACF National President Michael Ty attended the exam today and offered
his encouragement and support to the candidates. McCormick For Chefs,
the CMC exam sponsor, will witness the chefs and evaluators in action,
as they join the memorized crowds watching the exam in the following
Monday, October 25, 2010: Day Three
Day three of the exam, the presentation of buffet platters, was
overall a strong day for the CMC candidates. After 12 hours of
preparation, the candidates each had three hours to finalize and
assemble their platters. It was another day of nonstop culinary activity
with the first candidate starting at 7 a.m. and the last, Beland,
wrapping it up at 3:30 p.m. with his platter presentation.
The CMC evaluators felt the candidates were well prepared and
motivated. It was agreed that the platters were well thought out and
displayed quality in preparation. Each platter was professionally
executed, attractive, contemporary, and demonstrated each
candidate’s charcuterie skills.
CMC evaluators for the day were Giunta, McFadden, Moore, Scannell and
Walker. Tasting evaluators were Barnes; Joachim Buchner, CMC; Busby; and
Helmut F. Holzer, CMC, WGMC. Griffiths was the lead evaluator.
The mood of the candidates was upbeat and positive. Excitement was in
the air and you could tell that all involved in the exam were truly
honored be a part of it. In particular, the student apprentices and
assistants found it difficult to put into words the enthusiasm and sheer
admiration they had for the candidates and evaluators, as this was an
experience of a lifetime for them.
Unbridled passion and a fan following commonly associated with rock
stars was starting to spread throughout the hallways of the CIA. It did
not matter if people were there to cheer on a specific chef or just
happened upon the exam by chance; once they were there, they found it
hard to pull themselves away. The CMC candidates are genuine and
likeable, and their dedication is so obvious in their faces and actions
that casual observers are now glued to the viewing window watching the
clock and getting anxious if a chef is close to missing his service
window. The consensus is that the CMC exam is real, unscripted and much
better than reality TV.
Depending on their finish time, candidates then
participated in one of two briefings for the classical cuisine section
of the exam presented by Ronald DeSantis, CMC, AAC. At the briefing,
they received their global menu draw and were sent on their way to
develop their menus and compile food requisitions due in the morning.
They are required to prepare three main dishes from three different
regions of the world for this portion of the exam:
- Cuisines of the Americas
- Cuisines of Asia
- Cuisines of the Mediterranean
Neace withdrew from the exam. Therefore, on day four, Oct. 26, 11
chefs will continue their quest for the Certified Master Chef title by
preparing and presenting their three-course menus for the classical
cuisine portion of the exam.
Sunday, October 24, 2010: Day Two
Day two was a 12-hour day spent preparing for the
garde manger/buffet catering presentation on Monday, Oct. 25. All 12
chefs were on the same schedule, starting at 7 a.m. and finishing at 7
p.m. They worked diligently, with the support of a student-apprentice,
to prepare platters that demonstrated the following competencies:
- Emulsified forcemeat
- Product utilization as related to the garde manger kitchen
- Cured protein
- Cold salad
- Two standing garnishes
- Platter poured with chemise and aspic, may be reinforced with
gelatin, but must be of appropriate flavor and color
- Cold mousse
- Appropriate sauce
Griffiths, lead CMC evaluator for the day, along with floor
evaluators Giunta, Moore, McFadden, Scannell, Busby and Arnone,
commented they were encouraged by the candidates’ performance,
mise en place and teamwork from their observations during the
In addition to the overview for the day, the candidates received
their freestyle basket and had until 7 a.m. Monday morning to submit
their menus and food requisition forms.
What would you do with the following basket?
- Lamb Rack, 8 Bones, 1 Side, Untrimmed, Chine Off, 1 Each
- Lamb Loin, I Side, Untrimmed, 1 Each
- Halibut, Whole, 0.25 Each
- Blue Crab, Live, Large, 5 Each
- Sea Scallop, 0.5 Lb.
- Squab, 4 Each
- Brussels Sprouts, 2 Lb.
- Parsnips, 1 Lb.
- Artichokes, Globe Large, 4 Each
- Fava Beans, Whole, 3 Lb.
- Sweet Rice, 0.5 Lb.
- Sunchokes, 1 Lb.
- Gobo Root, 0.25 Lb.
- Treviso, 2 Hd.
- Chianti, 1 .75 Lt.
- Dried Figs, 6 Each
- Humboldt Goat Cheese, 6 Oz.
Saturday, October 23, 2010: Day One
Randall Emert, CEC, CCA, was the first chef to start the nutritional
cuisine segment of the exam at 6 a.m. with 30 minutes to set up and a
start time of 6:30 a.m. With a 4.5-hour exam, 30-minute service window
and 30-minute station cleaning, he was done in the kitchen at noon.
Jonathan Moosmiller, CEC®; Shawn Loving, CEC, CCA; Shawn Hanlin,
CEC; John Thompson, CEC; Robert Mancuso, CEC; and Daniel Dumont, CEC,
followed the same pattern in 30-minute intervals. By 10 a.m., there were
eight candidates with apprentices, numerous kitchen assistants, food
runners and servers, tasting room attendants, five CMC-floor evaluators
and four tasting evaluators. It was fast paced, as chefs secured items
from the common kitchen, directed their apprentices and worked their
plan to produce a nutritionally balanced menu.
The second group of CMC candidates—Jason Hall, CEC; Brian Sode,
CEC, AAC; Brian Beland, CEC; and Alan Neace Sr., CEC, AAC—started
at noon with final plates due to the tasting evaluators at 6:30 p.m. J.
Kevin Walker, CMC, AAC, lead evaluator for the day, guided the critiques
for the two groups and was supported by CMC evaluators Victor Gielisse,
CMC, AAC; Daniel Scannell, CMC; Kenneth Arnone, CMC, WGMC; Stephen
Giunta, CMC; Derin Moore, CMC; Fritz H. Sonnenschmidt, CMC, AAC, HOF;
Lawrence McFadden, CMC; and Adam Busby, CMC.
At 7:30 p.m., all the chefs attended the garde
manger briefing by Thomas Griffiths, CMC. Later that evening, they
received the classical cuisine assignment below:
- Ground Chicken, 3½ lbs.
- Ground Beef, 1 lb.
- Quail, Whole, 5 each
- Chicken Breast, 1½ lbs.
- Foie Gras, 1 lb.
- Dover Sole, Fresh, 5 each
- Bresse-style Chickens, 3 each
The consommé selected for all candidates was Consommé
Lucullus, recipe number 568 in Le Guide Culinaire. All the
accompaniments were required to be classical preparations from book.
At 9 p.m. after an intense and hectic day, the chefs were prepared
their classical menu and food requisition that was due the next day,
Sunday, at 7 a.m.
Consider what the candidates were juggling at the end of day one.
They had just finished a full day of preparing the nutritional cuisine
menu developed prior to their arrival. They were mentally preparing to
start their garde manger menu tomorrow morning, Sunday, and they
couldn’t call it a night until they completed their classical
cuisine menu and food requisition due at 7 a.m. First day nerves and
jitters were to be expected, but were now in the past. Welcome to the
challenge and intensity of the Certified Master Chef Exam.
Friday, October 22, 2010: Arrival Day
All 12 CMC candidates arrived safely in Hyde Park, ready and anxious
for the experience of a lifetime. Starting with a tour of the host site,
The Culinary Institute of America, at 3 p.m., the day continued with an
orientation by Barnes. The chefs then had a group dinner hosted by the
CIA, most likely the only full meal they will have in days. While they
enjoyed the great food and company, they were anxious to return to the
kitchen to meet the apprentice they would be working with on Saturday.
They also prepared their spice kits, reviewed their stations and
equipment and received their garde manger draw assignment for Sunday.
The candidates received one of the four following baskets:
Menu 1: Meat & Poultry
- 3 Each, Duckling, Whole
- 1 Each, Foie Gras Grade B
- 1 Each, Pork Loin, Bone In
- 1 Lb., Pork Fat Back
Menu 2: Seafood
- 6 Each, Trout, Drawn
- 2 Each, Lobsters, Live
- 2 Lbs., Mussels
- 1 Lb., Shrimp (16/20)
Menu 3: Seafood
- 1.5 Lb., Salmon Fillet
- 1 Lb., Squid
- 1 Lb., Scallops
- 2 Each, Snapper, Drawn
Menu 4: Lamb & Veal
- 1 Each, Lamb Leg, Bone In
- 2 Each, Beef Tongue
- 2 Each, Veal Shank
- 1 Lb., Pork Fat Back
With baskets in hand, the CMC candidates were off on their own at
9:30 p.m. to develop their garde manger menu and to prepare the product
requisition. Both were due at 5 a.m. the next day, Saturday. It was
going to be a long night.
2010 Certified Master Chef Candidates
Friday, October 15, 2010
The CMC candidates were off and running! On Thursday, Oct. 14, the
CMC candidates were assigned their nutrition baskets and had to submit
their menus by Friday. Brad Barnes, CMC, CCA, AAC, chair, Certified
Master Chef Subcommittee, offered this encouragement, “Cook for
taste, present for elegant simplicity and allow the beauty of the food
to be enhanced by your deft craftsmanship.”
All chefs submitted their menus by the Oct. 15 deadline. Below are
the two nutrition baskets assigned to the candidates. What would you do
with these ingredients?
Nutrition Basket 1
- 1 Lamb Leg
- 2 Arctic Char
- 2 Lobsters, 1.5 lb.
- .75 lb. Purple Sticky Rice
- 1.5 lb. Parsnips
- 1 lb. Chestnuts
- 4 Blood Oranges
- 2 Persimmons
- 1 Papaya
- 2 Arugula
Nutrition Basket 2
- 1 Rib End Pork Loin
- 6 lb. Bone-in Skate Wing
- 30 Large Oysters
- .75 lb. Black Barley
- 1.5 lb. Medium Red Beets
- .5 lb. Almonds, Whole Raw
- 3 Granny Smith Apples
- 2 Pomegranates
- 2 Bibb Lettuce
The CMC exam officially begins Saturday, Oct. 23, but this first
assignment was done remotely. ACF wishes all CMC candidates much success!