By Michael Ty, CEC, AAC
Every Day Is a Learning Experience
We have all heard it said that you learn
something new every day. This is true
not just in our profession, but in our daily
dealings throughout our lives. But how many
of us have missed a learning opportunity
that we would later come to regret?
On visits to the country where I was born,
I notice that education is a priority. The
Philippines, and many other countries in
Asia, require a college education for a
person to even be considered for an entry-level position. My parents had a philosophy
of providing an education for their children,
and I, too, believe in this. My parents were
professionals—my father, a physician, and
my mother, a musician. They did not require
me to take up one of their professions, but
they wanted to ensure that I received a
formal education in my chosen field. I am
very grateful to them for affording me the
opportunity to pursue an associate degree.
Education is an important factor in the
growth of any career, whether it comes
through formal training or professional
enhancement to improve knowledge. Let me
tell you about a decision I made to do with
learning that I would do differently if I had
the opportunity to go back.
During the early years of my career, I was
attending university to pursue a degree in
management while working at Caesars
Palace in Las Vegas. One day, I walked into
the kitchen to be confronted by my chef, who
asked where I had been. He said he was
expecting me to be there earlier so he could
teach me more about cooking. I told him I
was in class, and he said if I would come in
early, he would teach me everything he knew.
Well, I took his advice, but I completed the
semester before I started learning from him. It
was truly a great experience, and I learned a
great deal. He was one of the many mentors
who guided me through my culinary career.
What I would do differently, if I had the
opportunity to do it again, is balance my time
to be able to do both—learn in the kitchen
and earn a bachelor’s degree. Looking back,
I can see that not pursuing a degree at that
time was a missed opportunity. Although
many years later I did go back to college, it
is much more challenging when you are in
business, and more difficult to concentrate
on your studies.
What I am saying is that formal education and
actual experience go hand in hand. They are
equally important, and they are vital to the
success of any person in pursuit of a career.
ACF has outstanding programs to keep
us on the cutting edge of our craft, and we
should all avail ourselves of opportunities to
participate in these programs.
For the young, aspiring chef, the
apprenticeship program is available.
Apprenticeship combines classroom
instruction with real-world kitchen
Left to right, Chief Warrant Officer 4
Russell Campbell, CEC; Michael Ty; Lt. Col.
Ross Johnson; and Sgt. Maj. Mark Warren,
CEC, AAC, at the U.S. Army Culinary Arts
Competition at Fort Lee, Va.
Michael Ty, second from right, and Master
Sgt. Mark Morgan, left, with Ben Grupe
and Eddie Tancredi, who were doing a
demo on behalf of ACF Culinary Team
USA at the U.S. Army Culinary Arts
Competition at Fort Lee, Va.
experience. Apprentices work toward their
associate degrees while being mentored by
qualified chefs in the kitchen.
Attending an ACFEF-accredited culinary
program is another avenue that you can
choose. More than 300 programs are
accredited by ACF throughout the U.S. and
internationally. What does accreditation
by ACF mean for a student enrolled in a
culinary program? It means the program
has met industry standards set by the
ACFEF Accrediting Commission. Any
student who graduates from an ACFEF-accredited program and is an ACF member
before graduation will receive ACF’s
certified culinarian (CC®) or certified
pastry culinarian (CPC®) designation.
Certification through ACF demonstrates
skill, knowledge and professionalism to the
foodservice industry. A recent salary survey
confirmed that ACF-certified chefs earn
more than noncertified chefs. Members can
elevate their certification levels one at a
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