Recertification: Feed your mind,
and the rest will follow.
By Nick Versteeg
As a member of the ACF Certification
Commission, I have had the pleasure
of witnessing the exciting changes and
advancements within the culinary industry.
I encourage chefs to embrace these changes
and take a self-directed approach when
working toward their recertification.
I covered my first “culinary Olympics” for
Canadian television in Frankfurt, Germany,
in 1988. I was hooked, and have continued
to cover major culinary competitions around
the world for the past 22 years. Thirty years
in television and 10 years with the Food
Network has given me a unique insider’s
perspective into the culinary world. I’m always
learning, always growing. As a hobby farmer
and an advocate for food security issues, I
continue to seek out opportunities to learn
more about my passion.
example, my passion is to learn more about
food sustainability, including purchasing and
procurement, community-centered purchasing,
waste control and recycling, and energy and
water conservation. Where I live in British
Columbia, Canada, composting is mandatory.
Plastic, glass and metals are recycled, and
nothing is wasted. In the kitchen at Camosun
College in Victoria, grease is recycled into
motor oil and leftover bones are crushed into
compost, creating beautiful soil used in the
So, why does ACF require professional
development for recertification? Simply,
to maintain and/or improve competence,
to enhance career goals and objectives, to
keep abreast of trends and practices, and
to develop interest and/or expertise.
Nick Versteeg, left, films Ciril Hitz,
department chair for the International
Baking and Pastry Institute, Johnson &
Wales University, Providence, R.I.
if they enhance your knowledge and are directly
related to your professional development.
Maintaining your certification requires a
minimum of 80 hours during a five-year
period, which translates into 16 hours per
year, a relatively small investment of time to
strengthen your career objectives. Consider
the following when formulating a five-year
• Identify competencies/skills to enhance.
• Identify learning opportunities/mentorships.
• Align professional development with job
duties to move to the next level.
• Create a clear plan or timetable.
• Review your process and reassess.
I encourage chefs to take this same
approach to their recertification. Instead of
taking hours for the sake of completing the
requirement, hone in on your passion. For
RECERTIFICATION AT A GLANCE
When it comes to choosing programs to
meet your recertification requirements, find
courses that will develop your mind and
awaken your social consciousness. ACF
has several approved continuing education
providers listed on the Continuing Education
Web page, where you can easily connect with
courses such as food sustainability, gluten-free cooking or fruit sculpture.
As for me, I continue to further my knowledge
and appreciation for food issues. Therefore,
to encourage more dialogue on this topic,
I welcome your feedback on current food
sustainability topics by completing a short
online survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/
Take the time to develop new skills and
knowledge. This will enrich you personally
and count toward your ACF recertification.
The recertification process encourages you
to grow in the industry through completion
of continuing education hours. Continuing
education and professional development can
encompasses many methods and learning
opportunities, including trade shows, online
education, formal coursework, conferences
and workshops. ACF accepts hour-for-hour
credit for participation in educational experiences
At age 61, as a culinary film producer and
hobby farm owner, I still find myself learning
things I thought I knew. To quote Harry S.
Truman: “It’s what you learn after you know it
all that counts.”
Develop a passion for learning, and earn
hours in the process. It’s a win-win.
Nick Versteeg, an ACF Certification
Commission member, is producer/director of
DV Cuisine and a hobby farmer in Duncan,
British Columbia, Canada.