Two men wearing white chef coats sampling a plated dessert

Judges Application Process

As an American Culinary Federation competition judge, you have the opportunity to participate on the other side of intense culinary competitions. It is a meaningful way to put your culinary knowledge to work while being exposed to new trends.

You can also receive continuing education hours to put towards upgrading or renewing your certification.

Download the Application

Application
Or call us at (800) 624-9458 and we will send you the application through the mail.

Prerequisite for Being a Culinary Judge

Level I

The Level I Judge has demonstrated a high level of understanding and expertise in all areas of the judging arena.

Prerequisites

  • Completed application
  • Be an ACF member in good standing
  • Be ACF certified at the CCC/CWPC level or higher
  • Have won five (5) gold medals within the last 10 years at an approved ACF competition or a major WACS approved culinary competition (Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA), Culinary World Cup, Singapore Battle of the Lion)
  • The five (5) medals must include:
    • One (1) in Category F4 or FP-1
    • One (1) in Category A and one in Category B OR two (2) in Category C (one of which needs to be in Category C1 or C2)
    • One (1) in either Category K, KP, or KG
    • WACS equivalent medals will be accepted
  • Being a CMC; a past manager, or member of the ACF Culinary Team USA (official regional or national team only); fulfills the medal prerequisite for becoming a judge. However, all other criteria must still be met. ACF regional team members will need to add a gold medal in F4, FP-1, K, KP or KG.
  • A gold medal in the Regional COY and PCOY competition may go towards the K category requirement or additional medal requirement. Winning or a gold medal at the National COY or PCOY competition may go towards the F category requirement or additional medal requirement.

Apprentice Judging

  • Once the Prerequisites are completed, verified and approved by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair the Culinarian will be required to “Apprentice Judge” at five (5) approved ACF competitions within two (2) years and one (1) needs to be at the Regional or National Level. These will require prior approval by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair.
  • Submission and verification of the Apprentice Judge Evaluation forms that are submitted by the Lead Judge.
  • All five (5) evaluations must be at a satisfactory level and given an approved for judging stamp.

Final Approval

  • Once the Prerequisites and Apprentice Judging requirements are complete, the culinarian will be presented to the Culinary Competition Committee Chair for review and final approval. In a case that an application is rejected a recommendation by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair will be given to the applicant on what’s needed for approval. NOTE: All judges must meet the requirements and go through the full approval process.

Level II

The Level II Judge has demonstrated an expertise and achievement in hot food competitions. A Level II Judge may judge Category F, K & G and a Level I Judge must be on the panel or serve as the Lead Judge. Level II Judge may not serve as a lead judge and can only judge hot food categories. The use of Level II judges must be approved by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair.

Prerequisites

  • Completed application
  • Be an ACF member in good standing
  • Recommendation letters from three (3) Level I Judges
  • Be ACF certified at the CCC/CWPC level or higher
  • Have won three (3) gold medals within the last six (6) years at an approved ACF competition or a major WACS approved culinary competition (Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA), Culinary World Cup, Singapore Battle of the Lion)
  • The three (3) gold medals must include:
    • One (1) in Category F4 or FP-1
    • One (1) in either Category K, KP or KG
    • A gold medal in the Regional COY and PCOY competition may go towards the K category requirement or additional medal requirement. Winning or a Gold medal at the National COY or PCOY competition may go towards the F category requirement or additional medal requirement.
  • WACS equivalent medals will be accepted

Apprentice Judging

  • Once the Prerequisites are completed and verified and approved by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair, the culinarian will be required to “Apprentice Judge” at five (5) approved ACF hot food competitions within two (2) years and one (1) of which all needs to be at the Regional or National level. These will require prior approval by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair.
  • Submission and verification of the Apprentice Judge evaluation forms that are submitted by the Lead Judge.
  • All five (5) evaluations must be at satisfactory level and given an approved for judging stamp.

Final Approval

  • Once the Prerequisites and Apprentice Judging requirements are complete, the culinarian will be presented to the Culinary Competition Committee Chair for review and final approval. In a case that an application is rejected a recommendation by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair will be given to the applicant on what’s needed for approval. NOTE: All judges must meet the requirements and go through the full approval process

Level II to Level I Pathway

Prerequisites

  • Completed application
  • Be an ACF member in good standing
  • Be ACF certified at the CCC/CWPC level or higher
  • Served as a Level II Judge for three (3) consecutive years and in good standing.

Apprentice Judging

  • Once the Prerequisites are completed and verified and approved by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair, the culinarian will be required to “Apprentice Judge” at eight approved ACF cold food competitions within four (4) years. These will require prior approval by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair.
    • Two (2) must be in category A
    • Two (2) must be in category B
    • Two (2) must be in category C
    • Two (2) must be in category D I
  • Submission and verification of the Apprentice Judge evaluation forms that are submitted by the Lead Judge All evaluation must be at satisfactory level and given an approved for judging stamp.
  • In the event a competition has multiple days, one (1) category can be done per day.

Final Approval

  • Once the Prerequisites and Apprentice Judging requirements are complete, the culinarian will be presented to the Culinary Competition Committee Chair for review and final approval. In a case that an application is rejected a recommendation by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair will be given to the applicant on what’s needed for approval. NOTE: All judges must meet the requirements and go through the full approval process.

Level III Specialty

A Level III Judge has experience in one (1) major specialty and is considered a master in their craft. Competitions may use a Level III Judge only in the category of their expertise and will require a Level I judge on the panel. Level III Judge my not serve as a lead judge. The use of a Level III Judge must be approved by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair.

The specialty areas will include:

  • Cake Decorating/Sculpting (including C3 and C4)
  • Ice Carving
  • Vegetable/Fruit Carving
  • Tallow/Saltillage
  • Bread Dough Centerpieces
  • Pastry Centerpiece (Chocolate, Sugar, Pastillage, and Gumpaste)
  • Master Baker (bread categories including C5)

Prerequisite

  • Completed application
  • Comprehensive portfolio of work to include awards, pictures and any certification
  • Recommendation letters from three (3) Level I Judges

Apprentice Judging

  • Once the Prerequisites are completed and verified and approved by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair, the culinarian will be required to “Apprentice Judge” at two approved ACF competitions in the specialty of the culinarian. These will require prior approval by the Culinary Competition Committee Chair.
  • Submission and verification of the Apprentice Judge evaluation forms that are submitted by the Lead Judge.

Final Approval

  • Once the Prerequisites and Apprentice Judging requirements are complete, the culinarian will be presented to the Culinary Competition Committee Chair for final approval. NOTE: All judges must meet the requirements and go through the full approval process

To maintain ACF-approved judge qualification

  • Retain currency as an ACF member in good standing.
  • Retain currency in the required level of ACF certification.
  • Judge a minimum of two competitions every two years.
  • Attend a judges training seminar once every two years.
  • Complete a Conflict of Interest Form and anti-harassment training every two years.