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CIA ProChef Certification

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What is the reputation of this program with chefs across the country? How are the different levels I (Culinarian) II (Chef de Partie) III (Executive Chef) viewed? Is it true the first level is equivalent to a culinary degree?

As a chef would your advice be to pay $60,000 to go CIA or get certified for a couple thousand if you have the neccessary skill? Any other input about the program/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot everyone,

Clark

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  1. Not a direct answer to your post, but Michael Ruhlman's first book in his series, "Making of a Chef," describes his experience enrolled in the CIA program. Following "Soul of a Chef," the third in the series, "Reach of a Chef," returns to the CIA and describes the master chef test and discusses the growth and changes at the CIA over a decade and addresses the question of whether the formal training supplants experience on restaurant lines or exceeds that available at nominal cost at trade schools and junior colleges. All three of the books are quite entertaining and anecdotal, though they also consider questions about cooking and chefdom as an art versus a craft.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nosh

      Thanks nosh,

      I've actually read Making of a Chef and the Reach of a Chef although it was awhile ago. I'll take a look at the Reach of a Chef again. I think this question is different just because the exams are wayyyyy below the Master Chef level and have just recently been associated with the CIA.

      HAS ANYONE DONE THESE PROGRAMS??? ANY CHEFS HAVE AN OPINION??

      1. re: uvahustla

        THE PRO CHEF CERTIFICATION PROGRAM WAS CREATED BY THE CIA AND ACF TO VALIDATE HANDS ON SKILLS AS WELL AS IN DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF FOOD, WINE , PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT AS WELL AS F&B ACCOUNTING. THE THREE PRO CHEF LEVELS ARE EQUIVELENT TO THE FOLLOWING ACF CREDENTIALS.
        LEVEL I - CERTIFIED CULINARIAN
        LEVEL II -CERTIFIED CHEF DE CUISINE
        LEVEL III CERTIFIED EXECUTIVE CHEF
        THE NEXT LEVEL FOR A CHEF TO GO TO IS CMC - CERTIFIED MASTER CHEF
        THESE PRIOR LEVELS WILL GROOM A CHEF WHO DESIRES TO ATTEMPT CMC EXAMINATION.ALL OF THE THREE LEVELS INVOLVE FOUR DAYS OF COOKING PRACTICALS AND WRITTEN/ ORAL EXAMS.THEY ARE CHALLENGING AND TAKE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MENTAL PREPARATION AND STUDY.THERE ARE PLENTY OF NOTEWORTHY CHEFS THAT HAVE NOT PARTICIPATED IN THIS PROGRAM. THERE ARE THOUSANDS MORE WHO ALSO HAVE A PASSION FOR THEIR CRAFT AND BELIEVE IN CONTINUING EDUCATION.NOTHING WILL RIVAL ON LINE TRAINING, BUT CIA GRAD WITH PRO CHEF CERTIFICATION IS SOMEONE WHO HAS SHOWN GREAT KNOWLEDGE, COMMITMENT, SKILL AND DETERMINATION.