Personal Certified Chef™

Initial Application | Recommended Study Materials | Final Application


  • Minimum Job Experience: Three years as an entry level culinarian plus one year as a full-time Personal Chef. Experience must be within the past 10 years. Employment Documentation Forms
  • Minimum Educational Requirements: High school diploma/GED plus 50 hours of continuing education. If you do not have a high school diploma/GED 150 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 Business 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):
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 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 PCC Practical Exam is three 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.

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 references are suggested in preparation for the written and practical exams:

  • 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
  • Culinary Fundamentals, ACF: Prentice Hall BUY
  • The Professional Personal Chef: The Business of Doing Business as a Personal Chef, Wallace, Forte: John Wiley & Sons BUY
  • Escoffier: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery, John Wiley & Sons BUY
  • The American Personal & Private Chef Association, training courses and textbooks available.

Click here to contact the ACF Certification Department.