National Commission of Certifying Agencies Accredited ProgramCertified Executive Chef® (CEC®)

Education Requirements:
One of the following:

  • High School Diploma/GED plus 150 Continuing Education Hours (CEH)
  • 250 Continuing Education Hours (CEH)
  • Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts
  • ACFEF Apprenticeship Program

Mandatory Course Requirement: Five 30 hour courses in each of the following: Nutrition, Food Safety & Sanitation, Supervisory Management, Beverage Management and Cost Control Management. Courses completed more than five years ago (except Cost Control and Beverage Management), also require an 8 hour refresher in each topic. Courses are available through ACF approved providers or any academic institution. Mandatory course requirements count toward CEH education requirements.

Work Experience Requirement: Five years as a Chef de Cuisine, Executive Sous Chef or Chef in charge of food production in a foodservice operation. Must have supervised at least five fulltime people in the preparation of food. Experience must be within the past ten years.

Exam Requirement: Successful completion of written and practical exams.

Application Process

There are three steps in the application process:

Step 1
Initial Pre-Approval Application

Submit Initial Pre-approval application with proof of education, 30 hour courses and work experience. Employment verification can be submitted on the Employment Documentation Form or employer letterhead. Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing applications.

Step 2
Schedule Written & Practical Exams

Upon receiving approval for the Initial Pre-approval application, you are eligible to schedule your written and practical exams. Please visit the written exam and practical exam pages for scheduling information.

Step 3
Final Application

After successful completion of the written and practical exams, submit the Final application with exam pass sheets and application fee. Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing. Upon approval, certificate will be mailed.

All applications and exam preparation information can be found in the Certified Executive Chef Candidate Handbook.

Recertification Information

CEC® Certification requires renewal every five years. For more information, visit the recertification page.


Fee Type
Member Estimated Costs
Non-Member Estimated Costs
Initial Application
Written Exam
Practical Exam
Final Application

CEC Certificant Bulletin - 2018

Have questions or need more information? Contact the ACF Certification Department.

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