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certified master chefs

is there a listing of chefs that have attained the c.m.c. designation? i have googled and checked the american culinary federation and c.i.a. sites to no avail. i would like to know who is a c.m.c. (there are only about 80) and where their restaurants and/or schools are located.

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  1. You can look at the link below and scroll through. It lists all certified chefs (not just CMC) and their restaurants.


    Or you can call them and find out.
    (800) 624-9458.

    I hope this helps

    1. i'm curious as to why you're looking into this. i just used the link and did a quick search for my state. none of the chefs work anyplace i'd ever want to eat. they're mostly working at 3rd tier hotels; one is at a sporting arena. it would seem something that benefits those who want to do institutional cooking.

      clearly this is not a certification that has anything to do with fine dining. james beard awards, di saronna awards, mobil guides, etc. are far more indicative of a chef's talents...

      2 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        c.m.c. is a pretty small club and it is a pretty big achievement to pass the exam. many celebrity chefs are not c.m.c.'s. i was just wondering who these people are and where they are at. interesting that many go to work for big hotels or are instructors at cooking schools.

        there was an expose in the local paper a while back about local chef, keith famie (whose broader claim to fame is being the chef on the australian "survivor" that could not cook rice), in his second failed attempt to pass the rigorous c.m.c. exam. it was an interesting read.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          It isn't about where they work, the examination for that certification is intense and even qualifying to take it is no small achievement. One of the chefs at my school is currently attempting it, he spent all last year just doing the qualifier for the exam. much like the other c.m.c. at my school, he isn't doing it because he wants his restaurant to be great, its about the achievement and the pride of being one of the few.

        2. I know a Chinese food take out place that has a CMC George Wong . Peking House on Nostrand Ave and he has another rest in Brooklyn. Cool

          1. "it would seem something that benefits those who want to do institutional cooking"

            Indeed, that seems clearly to be whole point. From their site:

            Certification is a combination of culinary work experience, specialized training in key management, nutritional cooking, sanitation as well as passing a certification level test.

            While it may be a good credential for employers (depending on the details of course), it doesn't mean anything to me as a diner.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MikeG

              I think that all certifications, and even degrees (in some ways) are preciseley as you describe. We all know incredible mechanics that never became ASE certified, Network Engineers that never got a CCIE, etcetc... and when we need a car fixed or a network problem resolved, we want the person that can do it - certificates are totally meaningless in that context. If I'm looking for an incredible molé or the most incredible omakase, I want an experienced, knowledgeable and capable chef - not one that necessarily has a piece of paper saying that he's knowledgable.

              Nevertheless, those that take on the responsibility of getting professional certifications are doing a lot of extra work - they're intent on getting recognition for what they've learned and the work they've done. As an IT manager, I recognize the work that goes into a CCIE or equivalent, and it does count for something in the hiring and review/promotion process. But it doesn't count as much as what I can garner from technical questions in the interview, or from observed work. Additionally, I would never put out a job description that says that a CCIE is mandatory - why would I want to limit the incoming talent pool? If I were hiring a chef, insitutional or otherwise, I'd ask that person to cook me something and evaluate the results and methods regardless of his certification, But if two cooks were pretty much the same, I might throw the selection to the one with certification.

              1. re: MikeG

                It shouldn't mean anything as a diner really, its more of a rank thing among professionals. However, if a master chef is making your food, it is going to be beyond fantastic.

              2. Read Michael Ruhlman's The Soul of a Chef. There he questions what makes a chef. There's a section in there about a group trying to get certification. He examines technical proficiency, then passion and creativity with the final section on Keller who seems to combine both. Overall I foud it a good read and good follow up to the first book, The Making of a Chef.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jase

                  I immediately thought of this book when I read this thread. It is a great read and gave a good insight to the whole "Certified Master Chef" process.

                  1. re: mangorita

                    I was just about to ask the OP if s/he had read this book- great read!

                2. judging by the chefs who have this certification in my state, it looks like they're really numbers-crunchers. nobody is "dining out" when they go watch an nba game, but unless that guy make his numbers work on all the outlets in the arena, he will not keep his job.

                  there's a need for that kind of head in this industry as well. not everybody wants to worry about truffle harvests, ya know?

                  1. "If I were hiring a chef, insitutional or otherwise, I'd ask that person to cook me something and evaluate the results and methods regardless of his certification,"

                    Well, there is a key issue here. A CHEF runs the kitchen everything. From buying food to hiring and managing the people who cook it, to supervising sanitary and health code compliance to managing costs. Cooking skill is important, but that alone won't get you very far running a kitchen.

                    COOKS cook the food. They are not chefs. COOKS don't need to be be able to do anything but cook, show up for work more or less on time, and more or less manage not to get into fist fights with their coworkers.

                    A credential like this, if well administered, demonstrates a person's semi-proven ability to run a kitchen. On the other hand, common sense suggests that the biggest reason there are only 80 of them is that the credential isn't (yet?) widely accepted enough to warrant the cost and effort of obtaining it, not because only 80 out of many thousands of foodservice professionals are able to attain it.

                    1. It's pretty telling that not one of those who are considered top chefs in Texas restaurants are on the list. Also interesting is that the banquet (that is, catering) chef at the Driskill Hotel in Austin is listed, but the Driskill Grill chef, one of the best in Texas, is not.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: River Rat

                        (This isn't targeted towards everyone..just some culinary nerd rage..).

                        The list isn't of those considered "Top Chefs." It is a list of ACF Certified Chefs. You're "Driskill Grill" chef may be amazing, but that doesn't mean that they are certified through the American Culinary Federation. After browsing through various states, I have not yet seen one that says "CMC" most say "CEC" or "CCC." Just because you eat at a restaurant doesn't mean you know everything about the culinary arts. And just because the title of Master Chef means nothing to you as a consumer does not mean that it isn't important to those who earn the title or aspire to. As it was mentioned earlier, chefs and cooks are different. You can be a prep cook without knowing squat about being a chef.

                        "A CHEF runs the kitchen everything. From buying food to hiring and managing the people who cook it, to supervising sanitary and health code compliance to managing costs." - Yes, if you are an executive chef. Sous-chefs and Garde Mangers, etc don't necessarily deal with these aspects. It's called culinary ARTS for a reason. People who pursue a higher education and greater credetials are usually looking for more than just flipping burgers at the local Hamburger Shack. It is also an art form, not merely a way to make eating more pleasant.

                        I came across this thread while on my own search for a list of CMCs. I would like to research more about the title, because I after viewing the exam manual..I was astounded. If those of you doubting the title still believe its a bunch of bologna...you may want to look at the actual requirements.

                      2. You have to take into consideration what makes a great Chef. Is it mostly personal opinion? I think so..... If you receive 3 or 4 stars from your local newspapers that state greatness? If a certain patron, who has dined all over the world, in every acclaimed restaurant cited your meals some of the best, define you as a master of your craft? Does the fact that you produce chemically altered food to create an effect or just being inventive make you genius? These all have some validity to them.
                        What I know for sure is as a Chef myself, professionally trained ( by a few CMC's), having worked side by side with four star chefs of tremendous talent, is that we are all striving for excellence in it's many forms. The CMC program and the levels of achievement prior to are some of the most rigorous and demanding exams/cooking practicals that I have ever endured. Unfortunately the testing sites at the Culinary Institute Of America are closed to the public. I was fortunate to share a kitchen with the CMC examination while completing my Pro Chef Certification( a precursor) exam. For me it's the challenge, achievement, discipline and life experience. A CMC is one of the most intelligent, disciplined and with out doubt talented people in food service today. Most chefs will not attempt it for fear of failure and rightfully so.The success rate of CMC's exam is about 15%.
                        I've worked with many talented chefs, most educated and one who could not even read. What made them great was the respect they showed to everyone and everything they came in contact with. Not how many stars or what letters show on their Chef jackets.I have to say that if you spend at least two minutes conversing with one of these CMC's you will understand that they are a fountain of knowledge and are willing to share all they know.They may not have a cooking show or The New York Times shouting their praise but they certainly deserve a lot of credit and maybe just a little respect.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SHAUNS

                          I totally agree with you. The CMC at my school, though angry and sometimes unpleasant, could tell you anything you could ever want to know about food, and especially butchery.

                        2. You may be able to get one from world master chef's society. they require master chef status for membership, so they would know the answer for you. currently, CMC john kinsella is at MCI and one of his apprentices, is attempting the CMC test this year, maybe there will be one more CMC by years end.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: brad87561

                            I've met Chef Kinsella, well actually a handful of CMC's. Anyone who dismisses the CMC as being irrelevant obviously does not know exactly how rigorous the exam is. It's a grueling 8 day long exam that really pushes the applicant to the limits.

                            1. re: chefellison

                              More facts from a chef: There are about 75 CMC in the US. Approx 35 are instructors at the CIA (I'm guessing both NY and Greystone, CA.) Next is Johnson & Wales with ONE on staff. The rest work at exclusive country clubs across the country. I'm sure a handful are employed by the biggest food manufacturers like Kraft or Campbells Soup The exam is approx 10 hours each day for approx ten days. They weigh your trash, for chrissakes! The ultimate in dedication and professionalism. I've attained CEC, and that written test gave me a headache for two days!

                              1. re: chefdaddyo

                                Agreed. I too have my CEC & would put it to any doubters like this. The requirements to even qualify for the exam are more stringent than any other industry I can think of and that's just to be allowed to take the exam. Then you have to pass it - 2 parts, a practical exam during which your cooking skills are tested and a written exam during which not only your culinary knowledge, but sanitation, wine & liquor, HR, the whole gamut are tested. There are approximately 3000 CEC's in the country - placing it at a level of difficulty comparable to the highest of traditional educational goals. I'm quite sure there are more than 3000 PhD's in any other given field. One seems to be a little more strenuous to obtain than the other no?

                                1. re: chefellison

                                  chefellison, I can understand your sentiments, but to say that its easier to get a PhD just because there are more of them is fallacious reasoning. Might there be more PhD because there are more people interested in getting them, multiple fields in which you can get them, PhDs have been around for hundreds of years, etc? Compare that to a certification in a single profession from an organization that has been around a few years in comparison? You think its easy to go through several years of post-graduate school and defend your dissertation?

                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                    I know exactly what goes into attaining both a doctoral degree and CMC. It's my opinion that obtaining a CMC is more difficult. You don't have to agree with me, but I doubt you have the firsthand knowledge of both processes that I do...

                                    1. re: chefellison

                                      I don't dispute that training as a chef is not an easy thing. Coming from a family with a restaurant background, I know all to well. But as you note, we will just agree to disagree. I will quote a paragraph from an article in the Economist from a while back.

                                      In most countries a PhD is a basic requirement for a career in academia. It is an introduction to the world of independent research—a kind of intellectual masterpiece, created by an apprentice in close collaboration with a supervisor. The requirements to complete one vary enormously between countries, universities and even subjects. Some students will first have to spend two years working on a master's degree or diploma. Some will receive a stipend; others will pay their own way. Some PhDs involve only research, some require classes and examinations and some require the student to teach undergraduates. A thesis can be dozens of pages in mathematics, or many hundreds in history. As a result, newly minted PhDs can be as young as their early 20s or world-weary forty-somethings.

                                      Maybe we're talking about different programs. I'm thinking about programs that often take years to finish and many times, individuals never do.

                          2. Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio we have 2 here!