Certified Secondary Culinary Educator®

Initial Application | Recommended Study Materials | Final Application


  • Minimum Job Experience: Twelve hundred (1200) secondary or postsecondary teaching contact hours are required, plus a 30-hour Basic Food Prep Course. Experience must be within the past 10 years. Employment Documentation Forms

  • Minimum Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline plus 120 hours in Education Development* or an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts plus 120 hours in Education Development*.

    In addition the candidate must complete three 30-hour courses in:
    • Nutrition
    • Food Safety and Sanitation
    • Supervisory Management
    Note: the ServSafe certificate may only be used to meet your sanitation refresher requirement.

    * Education Development: 120 hours of coursework with a minimum of eight hours of each of the following subject areas at the college level or ACF approved courses:
    1. Curriculum Planning & Development (e.g. behavioral objectives, syllabi, lesson plans, etc.)
    2. Evaluation & Testing (practical, written, and oral testing, etc.)
    3. Teaching Methodology (kitchen laboratory, lecture and non-traditional methods, etc.)
    4. Educational Psychology (learning styles, student motivation, etc.)
  • Classroom Demonstration Requirement: The hands-on demonstration requirement is intended to demonstrate a complete classroom demonstration. From beginning to end, it should be prepared to cover all the Video Demonstration Criteria following an established lesson plan and demonstrationg a "real" presentation of the candidate's teaching abilities for evaluation.
    • The candidate must submit a 45 to 60 minute video demonstrating their teaching abilities of a culinary competency set in front of a student audience as outlined in their lesson plan. The video should include student interaction in a professional setting and demonstrate the candidate's skills and knowledge.
    • Review the 16 CSCE® Culinary Video Demonstration Criteria to include in the presentation.
    • Candidates who perform 13 of the 16 tasks adequately and competently will receive a passing score.
    • Video submission via thumb drive or DVD should be QuickTime compatible H.264 encoded video file with AAC audio mov or mp4 (do not submit a video with menu). A mobile camera with panning ability is suggested.

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 Examination assesses skill proficiency. CCE® candidates satisfy their practical examination requirement by taking and passing either the Certified Chef de Cuisine® (CCC®) savory practical examination or the Certified Working Pastry Chef® (CWPC®) baking and pastry practical examination.
    • Candidates taking the CCC® savory exam will have 3 hours to complete the exam. PDF Exam Specifications
    • Candidates taking the CWPC® baking and pastry specific practical exam will have 4 hours to complete the exam. PDF Exam Specifications
    • A practical may 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.

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.

Recommended Study Materials

The ACF 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:

  • Foundations of Education, 9th Ed., Ornstein: Houghton Mifflin 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
  • Supervision in the Hospitality Industry: Applied Human Resources, 5th Ed., Miller, Walker, Drummond: John Wiley & Sons 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.