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2017 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 achieve. It represents the pinnacle of professionalism and skill. Today, there are 69 CMC®s and 10 Certified Master Pastry Chefs® (CMPC®) in the nation.
Congratulations to the newest 2017 American Culinary Federation Certified Master Chef: Chef Arnaud Berthelier, CMC®
Chef Berthelier, CMC® completed his 2017 exam in a retest on Feb. 2-4 at Schoolcraft College, Livonia, Michigan.
Congratulations to the 2017 American Culinary Federation Certified Master Chefs: Gerald Ford, CMC®; Joseph Leonardi, CMC®; and Shawn Loving, CMC®, CCA®.
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 CMC®s or CMPC®s, 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
The 2017 ACF-CMC Exam took place Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, 2017 and the retest took place on Feb. 2-4, at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan. Visit the ACF Flickr page for daily photographs from the exam.
2017 CMC Exam Updates
CMC Exam Day 1: Healthy Cooking
Candidates were evaluated on their knowledge of healthy cooking principles by developing a menu and preparing a four-course meal for 10 people. Mastery of cooking skills were assessed in the formulation of the menu and its components not to exceed 1,000 kcal, and were verified by a registered dietitian. Demonstrated competencies included four classical cuts; four cooking methods; and knowledge of platter service. Time format: four hours and 30 minutes kitchen preparation; 30 minutes service.
CMC Exam Days 2 & 3: Buffet Catering
Candidates' knowledge of the different types of garde manger products, understanding of the functionality of the garde manger kitchen and the utilitarian philosophies therein were evaluated over two days. Candidates were also evaluated on their ability to demonstrate the high art form attributes of presentation necessary in a cold-food competition, to be presented as four plated portions and eight portions on a platter as served on a buffet. Demonstrated competencies included emulsified forcemeat; cured protein; cold salad; cold mousse; among others. Time format: 12 hours preparation; three hours setup and presentation.
Candidates are required to pass each cooking segment with a score of 70 or higher with a cumulative score of 75 to pass the exam. If a candidate does not pass one segment but has a cumulative score of 75 or higher on the last day, he/she can retake the one segment they did not pass on a designated day, usually the day following the exam’s conclusion.
Evaluator scores have been tallied. The following chefs will move on to Day 4 to test their skills in classical cuisine: Arnaud Berthelier, Gerald Ford, Joseph Leonardi, Shawn Loving, Tim Recher, Seth Shipley, Kevin Storm, and Amanda Zimlich. Candidates who do not receive 70 or higher on two segments do not continue the exam. Unfortunately, that was the case for two of the candidates. Hari Pulapaka and Randy Torres will not be continuing with the exam. Reaching the point of the practical exam requires enormous commitment to the craft of cooking. We congratulate the chefs who have reached the end of their 2017 CMC exam experience on their achievements as candidates. The knowledge and skills gained throughout the process are invaluable to their careers and to the chefs they mentor.
CMC Exam Day 4: Classical Cuisine
Candidates were evaluated on their ability to understand, interpret and execute the philosophy of Auguste Escoffier and classical cuisine demonstrated in Le Guide Culinaire, from which they developed a menu. Candidates prepared 10 portions and platters appropriate for Russian service that included a soup, fish course and entrees, with four plated portions and six portions on a platter. Time format: four hours preparation and 30-minute service window.
The following chefs will move on to Day 5 to continue to test their skills: Arnaud Berthelier, Gerald Ford, Joseph Leonardi, Shawn Loving, Tim Recher, Kevin Storm, and Amanda Zimlich. Reaching the point of the practical exam requires enormous commitment to the craft of cooking. We congratulate Chef Seth Shipley who has reached the end of his 2017 CMC exam experience on his incredible accomplishments to date.
CMC Exam Day 5: Freestyle Cuisine
Candidates’ personal cooking styles and philosophies were evaluated in creating a four-course meal from a market basket of ingredients that included an appetizer or soup; fish course; salad course; and main course. The menu was presented as four plated portions and six portions appropriate for Russian service. Time format: four hours production and 30-minute service window.
CMC Exam Day 6: Global Cuisine
Candidates’ knowledge of global cuisines from the Americas, Asia and the Mediterranean were tested by preparing three main dishes representative of the traditions, philosophies and methodology of each region’s cuisine. Candidates prepared 10 portions of each region’s main dish prepared for Russian service with four plated portions and six portions of each main dish. Time format: four hours preparation and 30 minutes service
CMC Exam Day 7: Baking and Pastry
Candidates were tested in their competency in baking and pastry skills and production, with special attention given to product consistency and detail of finishing techniques. Candidates prepared 10 portions of a hot or cold kitchen dessert that included the five fundamental components of a complete dessert. The final presentations are to include one two-pound recipe of a yeast-leavened product; two dozen portions of a chemically leavened quick bread; and two dozen portions of a puff pastry vol-au-vent or bouchée. Time format: five hours preparation and finishing.
The following chefs will move on to Day 8 to continue to test their skills: Arnaud Berthelier, Gerald Ford, Joseph Leonardi, Shawn Loving, Tim Recher and Kevin Storm. Reaching the point of the practical exam requires enormous commitment to the craft of cooking. We congratulate Chef Amanda Zimlich who has reached the end of her 2017 CMC exam experience on her incredible accomplishments to date.
CMC Exam Day 8: Continental Cuisine and Market Basket
During the continental cuisine exam, candidates are to demonstrate knowledge in the continental and Northern Europe cuisines of Spain and Portugal; Germany, Austria and the Netherlands; Switzerland; Italy; Russia and Poland; England and Scotland; and Scandinavia. Candidates prepared 10 portions of each region’s main dish prepared for Russian service with four plated portions and six portions of three main dishes. Time format: four hours preparation and 30 minutes presentation.
During the market basket exam, candidates are evaluated on their ability to write and prepare a menu within specific time constraints and demonstrate a mastery of cooking methodology, butchery and craftsmanship. Exemplary plating, platter construction, taste and finishing skills are scrutinized.
Candidates must use each ingredient in the market basket to prepare a five-course menu presented as four plated portions and six portions for platter service. The five courses include an appetizer, soup, fish course, salad and main course. Time format: five hours preparation and 30 minutes service.
After eight days and nearly 90 hours of cooking, the American Culinary Federation is pleased to announce the 2017 Certified Master Chefs: Gerald Ford, CMC; Joseph Leonardi, CMC; and Shawn Loving, CMC.
Two candidates will have the opportunity to retake the final day of the exam at a later date: Chef Kevin Storm due to an injury and Chef Arnaud Berthelier based on his score. We wish them success as they plan ahead for the retake.
ACF sincerely thanks the entire team and apprentices at Schoolcraft College for helping to make the CMC exam a success.