Be The Change

Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

Aloha! As we begin a brand-new year, let’s challenge each other to be the change taking place in our organization. There are so many exciting things happening.

Let’s start with this: I’m happy to report on developments by the ACF Certification Commission in regards to the CMC exam. Following an initiative to bridge the gap between CEC and CMC, new education requirements have been added to the CEC/CEPC certification levels. This will help strengthen the knowledge base of certificants, help them better prepare for the written exam and reduce CMC application requirements. Building on a partnership with the American Master Chefs’ Order, the commission is clarifying the expectations of the CMC exam through a new candidate handbook, and is also putting together an education program to enhance professional skill sets. The new delivery model will be announced later this year. For more information, contact Jeremy Abbey, certification director.

We are building partnerships with international organizations to increase awareness of ACF certification, and we continue to explore the translation of certification exams into Spanish. This is an important step as we strive to reach and serve a wider group of prospective members.

Accreditation and apprenticeship are two areas of vital importance to ACF and the industry. You’ll notice an improvement in chapter communications, so ask your chapter president to share information and updates, and also find out how you can learn about our military and industry partners. And, get to know your chapter liaison with the national office for all accreditation and apprenticeship matters.

In the area of workforce development, Center on Halsted, Chicago, is one of five pilot programs that successfully tested three candidates for CFC/CFPC (certified fundamentals cook/certified fundamentals pastry cook) certification, all of whom passed with flying colors. Additionally, Job Corps has committed to adding culinary sites in 2018. Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is working with ACFEF on events activities, booth swaps, securing ACF judges for events and arranging certification testing at the FCCLA national convention.

We continue our corporate and professional development efforts through continuing to build and further our relationships with other associations, such as Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, U.S. Personal Chef Association, Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Research Chefs Association and many more organizations. In addition, ACF’s presence at trade shows allows us to identify and increase our pool of prospective members, strategic partners and sponsors. We also promote ACF’s brand awareness, visibility and reputation at these shows. We have realized new membership leads and paid memberships, as well as increased awareness about certification for chefs and employers.

Membership surveys overwhelmingly voice the need for change in our future events to keep members engaged, interested and coming back. New ways to bring exciting, cost-effective meals and experiences to attendees is at the forefront of events planning for 2018. We are working with host chapters and MBI Inc. to bring innovative, fresh ideas to menus for the upcoming year.

Event registration types have been streamlined for 2018, with a full registration that includes meals and an education-only badge. ChefConnect conferences and Cook.Craft.Create. will offer CEHs that align with certification, and ServSafe refresher courses and exams will be offered. There will be no meal tickets issued for full-registration badges in 2018, and no badge scanning into sessions for CEHs. Instead, CEHs will be issued based on type and length of badge. Career Fairs will be at ChefConnect conferences and the national convention, adding further value to these events.

Finally, I hope you find the recent Salary Survey helpful (posted on the members-only section of the website). It will give you salary information to share with your employees, and give you an idea of what the industry pays.

So, are you ready to begin 2018 with a pledge to be the change? I hope so. And I hope to see you at the opening of our events season, ChefConnect: Charlotte, Feb. 25-27. Let’s get together and share. Isn’t that what the hospitality industry is all about? Until then, aloha!

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