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2012 Certified Master Chef® Exam

The title of Certified Master Chef® (CMC®), presented solely by the American Culinary Federation, is the highest level of certification a chef can receive. It represents the pinnacle of professionalism and skill. Today, there are only 66 CMCs and 11 Certified Master Pastry Chefs® (CMPC®) in the nation. The last group of CMCs was named in 2010. On Aug. 4–11, 2012, seven accomplished chefs from across the country will vie 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 will take place at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.

In order for a chef to apply for the CMC exam, the candidate must show documentation that he/she is a Certified Executive Chef® or Certified Culinary Educator®, provide two letters or recommendation from current CMCs and meet rigorous education and experience requirements. The cost for the examination process is $3,800. In addition, all other expenses associated with taking the exam (food for practice, travel, room, board, etc.) are the responsibility of the candidate.

On Aug. 1, three days before the exam, candidates will receive the protein for their healthy cooking segment. Within 24 hours, they must return a nutritional analysis, menu and ingredient list that is approved by a registered dietician. The practical exam is 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 is 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 fails along the way, he/she is ineligible to continue.

Meet the CMC Candidates

Seven chefs from five states vie to be the next Certified Master Chef. Learn about the candidates.

Meet the Evaluators

More than 20 Certified Master Chefs from across the country will evaluate the 2012 CMC candidates. Find out who are the evaluators.

Exam Updates

Wish you were at the 2012 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., with updates and photos on our website and through Twitter with the hashtag #ACFCMC at twitter.com/ACFChefs during the exam.

“To earn the Certified Master Chef designation is one of the most notable accomplishments of a chef’s career. It bears witness to the commitment, hard work and consummate skill that candidates bring to this most challenging of tasks—the CMC exam. These seven chefs have chosen to undergo an intensive eight-day test of culinary skills and knowledge, and they have our good wishes. If successful, they will join 66 CMCs throughout the U.S. who proudly hold this prestigious certification.” —ACF Certification Commission Chair Ronald DeSantis, CMC, AAC®, MBA, director of culinary excellence and quality assurance, Yale Dining at Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

2012 ACF Certified Master Chef Exam

Seven chefs. 130 hours. Eight-day exam. Join the American Culinary Federation as we discover the real master chefs at the 2012 ACF Certified Master Chef® Exam, August 4–11, at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.