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2009 CMC Assessment

2010 Certified Master Chef® Exam

The American Culinary Federation is the leading provider of culinary certification in the U.S., offering 14 designations. The title of Certified Master Chef® (CMC®) is the highest level of certification a chef can receive. It represents the pinnacle of professionalism and skill. Today, there are 66 CMCs and 12 Certified Master Pastry Chefs® (CMPC®) in the nation.

It had been over four years since the last CMC exam but on Oct. 23–30, 2010, 12 accomplished chefs vied for the chance to join the ranks of the elite group known as Certified Master Chefs. The eight-day practical exam, sponsored by McCormick For Chefs, took place at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.

In addition to the exam, there was an inaugural Certified Master Chefs Summit held on Oct. 29, 2010, which gathered CMCs from around the country for the day.

What it Takes

In order to be accepted, each candidate had to document that he is a Certified Executive Chef® or Certified Culinary Educator®, provide two letters of recommendation from current CMCs, and meet rigorous education and experience requirements.

On Wednesday, before the eight-day practical exam, candidates received the protein for their healthy cooking segment. Within 24 hours, they returned a nutritional analysis, menu and an ingredient list approved by a registered dietician.

The practical exam was administered in eight segments: healthy cooking, buffet catering, classical cuisine, freestyle cooking, global cuisine, baking and pastry, continental and northern Europe cuisines, and market basket, demonstrating that the chef is well-rounded. Each category was graded in two parts: kitchen skills and presentation, and tasting. The minimum passing score for the entire exam is 75 points out of 100. If a candidate failed any segment, he was ineligible to continue.

Meet the Chefs

Twelve chefs from nine states vied to be the next Certified Master Chef. Read about the candidates.

Meet the Evaluators

Certified Master Chefs from across the country evaluated the 2010 candidates. More

What Happened

You can read what happened each day during the 2010 CMC exam as well as see ACF daily posts and photos. More

“It is the most intense examination in the world.” —John Kinsella, CMC, CCE, WGMC, AAC

“They may be good chefs and cooks, but until they earn that title, they aren’t master chefs.” —Edward Leonard, CMC, AAC, WGMC