Certification: The Significance
of the Journey
Farley Kaiser, CCC®, culinary arts department
chair at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary
Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Mendota
Heights, Minn., who began working in a small,
family owned restaurant as a high school
student, set her sights on a career in the
culinary industry at an early age. Her journey
toward certification began in 2006, when
she accepted the challenge to solidify her
talents through the ACF certification process.
She was so nervous about the practical
exam that she didn’t even tell her family
about her intentions to seek chef de cuisine
certification until she achieved her goal.
her in preparation for both the written and
practical portions of the certification process.
“Such lessons cannot be taught in a standard
classroom setting,” she says, so the opportunity
for her students to engage in the process and
to witness the efforts necessary to achieve
personal and professional goals was invaluable.
evening to the total cleanup she completed
of her workstation. She recovered nicely
from the espagnole spill, with some minor
embarrassment and little time lost.
Farley Kaiser teaches a class at Le
Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in
In spite of the blizzard that accompanied her
trek to the test site, she arrived on time for
the practical exam. She immediately noticed
that she was the only woman testing, and
the fact that three of her male colleagues
were also attempting the practical exam only
added to the already building anxiety.
In the end, she proved that it was, in fact,
the journey that mattered. From that point
on in her certification journey, Kaiser
worked neater and cleaner than ever
before, always careful not to have another
spill or let her nerves get the better of her.
Having successfully achieved certification,
she is a proud member of the ACF family
of certified chefs, displaying her CCC®
certification proudly and with respect. Kaiser
eventually shared her success with her
family, and she says being able to explain this
journey to her daughter one day made her
every nervous moment priceless.
From Kaiser’s perspective, the ACF certification
process was a journey that included numerous
intrinsic benefits. Investing time and energy
in personal and professional development
is historically a well-respected endeavor
throughout academia, and culinary education
is no different. ACF, through its certification
process, provides a great opportunity to
culinarians everywhere to highlight their skills
and take pride in their accomplishments. While
Kaiser describes the certification process as
“shaky scary,” she leveraged much assistance
and support during her journey from colleagues
and students alike.
Kaiser recalls thinking that she was within
three hours of either success or failure.
While she was comforted by the fact that
she successfully passed the written exam,
the stress of the practical exam wasn’t
quite as “fun” as she had envisioned. But
even after her espagnole sauce spilled all
over the workstation, she remained focused
and committed to her goal. Fortunately, this
was after the successful poultry fabrication
for her chicken Bercy. In fact, looking back,
she attributes part of her success that
Kirk T. Bachmann, CEC®, M.Ed., is vice
president of academic affairs for Le Cordon
Bleu Schools in North America and a member
of the ACF Certification Commission.
In 2007, Royal Caribbean International
launched an ACF certification program
aboard its global fleet of 21 cruise ships. The
program continues to grow, and more than
30 ACF Approved Certification Evaluators
(ACE) have had the pleasure of evaluating a
truly talented group of culinarians.
ACF CERTIFICATION ON THE HIGH SEAS
certification presents. Candidates study for
exams between ports, often after working
10-12 hours a day, seven days a week.
She likes to joke that “Le Cordon Bleu pays
me not to teach pastry classes,” thus, her love
of the culinary arts is always on display. As an
educator, she insisted on having students assist
Royal Caribbean’s culinary trainers, Craig
Cornick, CEC, and Joachim Obermeier,
CEC, guide the certification program and
overcome the unique challenges that onboard
Royal Caribbean Director of Culinary
Operations Josef Jungwirth, CEC, CCA,
believes that certification is an essential
tool in meeting the company’s philosophy.
”As we strive to exceed standards and
provide competitive recruiting and retention,
certification offers a valuable succession
plan for cooks and chefs,” he says.