Pictures2014 Certified Master Chef® Exam

The title of Certified Master Chef (CMC), presented solely by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) in the U.S., is the highest level of certification a chef can receive. It represents the pinnacle of professionalism and skill. Today, there are only 67 CMCs and 11 Certified Master Pastry Chefs® (CMPC) in the nation. The last CMC exam was held in 2012 at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. Jason Hall, CMC®, executive chef at Hammock Dunes Club, Palm Coast, Florida, was the only candidate out of seven to pass the exam.

Eleven chefs from across the nation will soon vie for the chance to join the ranks of Hall and the other 66 CMCs during an eight-day exam held Oct. 26–Nov. 2, at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles, Pasadena, California. Candidates for the CMC exam must possess proficiency in a broad range of styles and techniques, and have the ability to perform for eight days under extreme pressure.

To apply for the CMC exam, a candidate must be a Certified Executive Chef® or Certified Culinary Educator®, provide two letters of recommendation from current CMCs or CMPCs, and have completed education courses on sanitation and food safety, cost management, management and wine. The candidate must also secure funding for the cost of the exam process including the exam fee, travel expenses and practice materials.

During the eight-day exam, candidates must maintain an average score of 75 out of 100 points to be eligible to continue. Scores are tallied based on kitchen skills, plate presentation and taste. Candidates are tested on the following subjects by ACF-certified chefs:

  • Healthy cooking
  • Buffet catering
  • Classical cuisine
  • Freestyle cooking
  • Global cuisine
  • Baking and pastry
  • Continental and Northern Europe cuisines
  • Market basket

Meet the CMC Candidates

Eleven chefs from across the U.S. prepare for the ultimate test. Learn about the candidates.

Exam Updates

Wish you were at the 2014 CMC exam to see the action live? You don’t have to be. ACF takes you into the kitchens of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles, Pasadena, California, with updates and photos through Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #ACFCMC during the exam.

“This eight-day exam will test the very limits of each candidate’s skill and endurance,” said Ken Arnone, CMC, WGMC, chair, ACF CMC/CMPC subcommittee, and owner, KA-CMC LLC, Poughkeepsie, New York. “These 11 chefs have committed to a challenge that requires a combination of determination and expertise for a chance to attain the highest professional distinction available. We wish them the best of luck in accomplishing their goal of becoming a Certified Master Chef.”