Certified Culinarian®

Initial Application | Recommended Study Materials | Final Application | ACFEF Accredited Program Graduates | Recertification


  • Minimum Job Experience: Two years as an entry level culinarian. Experience must be within the past 10 years. Candidates with a one year Culinary Arts program certificate require one year of entry level work experience. Candidates with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts do not require job experience. Employment Documentation Forms
  • Minimum Educational Requirements: High school diploma/GED. If you do not have a high school diploma/GED, 100 hours of continuing education are required. Hours earned for mandatory courses and/or refreshers are included in the minimum CEH requirement.

In addition to the requirements listed above, you must provide documentation of three 30-hour courses—one in Nutrition, one in Food Safety and Sanitation, and one in Supervisory Management. If these courses were taken more than five years ago, an eight hour refresher course is required in each topic. These courses are available through ACF approved providers or any academic institution. Note: the ServSafe certificate may only be used to meet your sanitation refresher requirement.

Understanding the Certification Process

Initial Pre-Approval Application

Submit application and documentation of requirements to ACF for approval by:
E-mail (preferred): certify@acfchefs.net
Fax: (904) 940-0742
Mail to: American Culinary Federation, Inc.
Certification Department
180 Center Place Way
St. Augustine, FL 32095


Once the candidate’s application is approved he or she will be eligible to take the written and practical exams. Only after approval may a candidate register for the written or practical exam.

Certification Examinations

The purpose of the certification examinations is to assess and objectively measure the knowledge and skills of a candidate to determine if they meet ACF standards.

  • Written Exam: ACF written exams are administered by Comira. The written exam fee is $75. An ACF number is required at time of registration. To request an ACF identification number contact certify@acfchefs.net prior to registration. You can register for the exam by calling (800) 947-4228, option 4, Mon.–Fri. 6 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific time, Sat. 8 a.m.–noon Pacific time, or you can register 24/7 at the ACF/Comira Online Registration Site. Please note that you must have a credit card to register online. Written exam scores are valid for two years.
    • Candidates have one hour to complete the 100 multiple choice question exam.
    • No support materials other than pens, pencils, and calculators are permitted.
    • A score of seventy percent (70%) or higher is required to pass.
  • Practical Exam: All levels of ACF certification require candidates to be tested for practical skill proficiency. The CC practical exam is two and half hours and can be taken at any ACF approved test site. A score of 75% or higher is required to pass. Practical exam scores are valid for one year.

    To help you prepare for the Practical Exam, review the Practical Exam Candidate Manual.

Final Application

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 all back-up documentation, copies only (no originals) are included.

Opportunity for ACFEF Accredited Program Graduates

Graduates of ACFEF accredited postsecondary degree or certificate/diploma programs who are members at the time of graduation are eligible to receive either a Certified Culinarian® (CC®) or Certified Pastry Culinarian® (CPC®) certification depending on the concentration of their program without paying any fees or taking any separate exams. Non-member graduates are assessed an $85 fee. All graduates must provide a copy of their final transcript showing date of graduation and documentation of ACF membership at the time of graduation. Certificate/Diploma graduates must also document one year of entry level work experience to receive their certification. Application and documentation must be submitted within one year of graduation.


Certification is good for three years for all newly certified and recertifying Certified Culinarians and requires 48 continuing education hours (CEHs) including refreshers.

Recommended Study Materials

The ACF Education Foundation offers certification training courses and practice certification exams on eCulinary. Courses contain study materials in all major subjects related to the ACF certification exams, including sanitation, nutrition, and supervisory management.

The following books are suggested in preparation for the written and practical exams:

  • Culinary Fundamentals, ACF: Prentice Hall BUY
  • Baking Fundamentals, ACF: Prentice Hall BUY
  • Supervision in the Hospitality Industry: Applied Human Resources, 5th Ed., Miller, Walker, Drummond: John Wiley & Sons BUY
  • Nutrition for Foodservice and Culinary Professionals, 6th Ed., Drummond, Brefere: John Wiley & Sons BUY
  • Food Safety Fundamentals: Essentials of Food Safety & Sanitation, McSwane, Rue, Linton, Williams: Prentice Hall BUY
  • The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking Pastry, 4th Ed., Friberg: John Wiley & Sons BUY
  • Escoffier: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery, John Wiley & Sons BUY

Click here to contact the ACF Certification Department.