The Road to Creating Edible Art
By Kami R. Smith, CEPC®
The road toward any goal can be filled with
challenges, frustrations and roadblocks. My
road to certification had many surprising
twists and turns that led me down a path I
never dreamt of traveling.
After graduating with a degree in foods,
nutrition and dietetics from Tennessee
Technological University, Cookeville, Tenn.,
my plan was to attend graduate school
and work toward a registered dietitian
degree in the healthcare foodservice field.
After a family member was diagnosed with
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the experience
derailed my healthcare ambitions. And after
having had enough of hospitals to last me
a lifetime, I no longer had the desire to
pursue that goal.
positions I held took me from restaurants
to high-volume hotels, bakery/cafes and
pastry instruction, and even landed me
on a TV show, “Cooking with Chef Kami.”
Veering off into a unique type of pastry
position, I entered the world of research
and development at Schwan’s Bakery, Inc.,
Atlanta, as a research pastry chef. Working
side-by-side with food technologists and
scientists was an amazing experience.
From there, an opportunity opened with
Schwan’s Food Service, Atlanta, as a
manager of culinary services under the
direction and mentorship of Kit Kiefer, CEC,
CCE, AAC. Working with him changed my
life. He challenged my technical writing skills,
menu development and culinary knowledge.
Dawn Foodservice, a division of Dawn Food
Products, Inc., Atlanta, as corporate pastry
chef. Certification has advanced me within
the industry, brings value to my culinary
team and assures my customers that I can
and will deliver viable solutions.
ACF has provided the tools, support and a
safe haven for me to flourish. I encourage
you to accept the certification challenge.
Whether your road leads you to Certified
Culinarian® or Certified Master Pastry
Chef®, the certification path is vital for your
personal and professional development.
What now? What was I supposed to do
with a degree in nutrition if I wasn’t in a
healthcare setting? I was without a plan.
The National Culinary Review | September 2011
My “aha” moment struck while I was
flipping through a magazine and saw
an ad for Johnson & Wales University’s
pastry-chef program. I thought to myself,
“Hmmm, I really like chocolate, and I have
a knack for making things look pretty.” With
my parents’ encouragement, in just a few
months I was traveling down a new road
headed toward a new goal.
Kiefer was the one who stressed the
importance of obtaining ACF certification to
advance within the industry. Until then, I didn’t
know much about certification or the value it
could bring to my career. So, with his direction
and leadership, I began the certification
process. Within a few months, I found myself
standing in front of three ACF-approved
certification evaluators at a practical exam
demonstrating my skills and abilities. Soon
after, I was awarded my Certified Executive
Pastry Chef® certification.
I’m thankful for mentors past and current
who have fostered me in my career. Now
it’s my turn to give back and inspire those
around me to be great and stay passionate.
I wish you “foodie love” and great success.
With an associate degree in baking
and pastry arts from Johnson & Wales
University, Charleston, S.C., I was richly
equipped with a new passion in life—
creating edible art. The various production
Since achieving certification, I am more
confident in myself and my abilities. I
am proud of my accomplishment, and
continually strive to be a better chef. After
receiving my certification, I returned to my
passion and joined the culinary team at
CEPC Spotlight News
• A new Certified Executive
Pastry Chef® written exam
launched Aug. 1. The purpose
of the exam is to assess
the knowledge and skills
of an executive pastry chef.
The CEPC® certification
underwent a job analysis,
making the exam relevant to today’s executive
pastry chef. www.acfchefs.org/CEPC
• How sweet it is to have ACF certified chefs
Megan Ketover, CEPC®, and Orlando Santos,
CEPC®, compete on Bravo’s “Top Chef, Just
Desserts” starting Aug. 24.