Should Club Chefs Get Certified?

By | March 22nd, 2017

Glenmoor CC’s Executive Chef, Penelope Wong, struggles with whether or not to get certified as an executive chef as she deeply questions the validity and value of what is being tested.

How many of us ask this question of ourselves? I certainly do, almost on a daily basis. This is a tale of my own conflicts regarding certification.

When I first accepted the role of Executive Chef at Glenmoor Country Club (Cherry Hills Village, Colo.), my General Manager at the time had urged me to pursue certification as a Certified Executive Chef. I entertained the notion by getting involved with my local ACF chapter, attending meetings and dinners, and networking with other club chefs who were on the same path. But, to put it bluntly, it wasn’t long after that I lost interest in what the ACF had to offer me as a young chef trying to pursue further culinary growth and achievement. I no longer felt I was benefiting with any takeaways after each month’s meetings and/or events. I wasn’t alone either. The general consensus among the group of chefs I networked with felt the same as I did. So I discontinued my participation within the organization and eventually canceled my membership.

Fast forward 20 years: In my tenure as an executive chef I have amassed a wealth of knowledge in both culinary as well as business management. I have experienced first hand what it takes to earn the respect of a team. I have learned to find the sweet balance of leading an operation in which quality is the driver yet costs are strictly maintained. I have learned how to motivate and inspire a team to envision a shared goal of personal and professional growth. I have learned how to fail. And I have endured what it takes to succeed.

In the last few years, the subject of certification has resurfaced. Developing several close friendships and relationships with my peers, I’ve been urged to reconsider certification to possibly the highest level of certification a chef can achieve. My initial reaction was of laughter. I have never viewed myself as a competitive chef. I truly believe all chefs are very good at some things and not others. My list of strengths and weaknesses regarding overall culinary knowledge would more than likely be very skewed, and not in a positive direction. I know what my strengths are as they have helped me achieve the level of success I have in my career.

Don’t misunderstand me: I believe that there is always more to learn. In my kitchen I know I will learn something new almost every day (hopefully, from one of my cooks). My belief is that we all have something to learn from one another. So why not further my culinary growth by diving into the world of certification. Ultimately, I know that if I pursue this, what I will walk away with is a significant amount of knowledge I didn’t have going in. So what am I waiting for??

Here’s the opposition: Although I have nothing but the utmost respect for my friends and peers who have gone through the processes and stages of certification, I question the validity of certification overall. I’m not saying that certification does not carry the weight of immense culinary talent and knowledge behind it. What I am saying is that I simply don’t share the same level of belief in the content which leads to certification. In my recent discussions with many certified chefs including several certified master chefs, it has been an interesting discovery that these chefs all have such different opinions regarding certification and the processes leading up to it. A fellow successful chef (already a CEC who is insanely talented and has been involved in some of the highest levels of competition that would make him a textbook candidate to pass “the exam”) shared the same sentiment as I do: “I don’t care to support what the exam is supposed to be about. So I have a bad day and don’t make a clear consommé, this doesn’t mean I’m not a great chef.” I could not have said it any better. And while a cloudy consommé would not warrant a failure during the exam, it certainly carries with it an ominous cloud of judgment.

For the record, I respect the importance of the fundamental understanding and knowledge of the basics that culinary was built on, but I question the absence of recognition regarding the evolution of culinary talent and the discoveries of new techniques.

In the progression of what falls under the massive umbrella of modern day culinary, there is a significant dichotomy of irrelevant testing material versus upholding the traditions and standards of what the exam was built on. Here’s my conflict. While I appreciate that there is a general skill level being tested, why is it that ONLY a certain few skill levels are tested in order to be deemed a ‘master’  or simply a Certified Chef? And with so much of the tested material becoming abstract and irrelevant in today’s world of what falls under the broad spectrum of “culinary,” why put forth the effort in training and the expenses involved in testing for something that people just don’t care about anymore?

In our industry as chefs, we feed the masses on a daily basis. The title ‘chef’ carries with it the weight of having a fundamental and broad base of knowledge in culinary skill, nutritional knowledge, the ability to execute a multitude of tasks and to run a responsible P&L encompassing all labor costs and costs of goods as a businesswoman (or man). The daily responsibility of a chef is to try to master the impossible in a not-so-friendly environment. In the day-to-day grind of feeding the masses, the majority of our clientele simply don’t care about the beauty of classical technique, let alone whether or not their consommé is crystal clear. It’s amusing how much of the general populace think celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse are Certified Master Chefs when they’re not even Certifed Executive Chefs!

In speaking with another chef who is currently very active in the certification process and is training for the exam, he offers a more positive outlook. For him, going through the certification process and working all the way up to passing the exam is an opportunity to have a voice in helping to shape the future of young culinarians the right way. He would like to have an opportunity to help implement changes to the exam to make it more relevant to today’s world of culinary to help gain more interest and accolade behind the achievement. Whenever I spend time with this Chef I find myself quickly sold and I buy into the whole idea of pursuing certification once again. On the opposition, another certified chef shared his perspective: “For some, the exam is the end goal, then it’s time to move on. For others, it’s the starting point.” (This particular individual is no longer an active chef.)

So, what now? I wish I had the answer! I struggle with this question every day. I know that this is a sensitive subject matter among chefs. I also know that there will be chefs out there reading this while talking shit about me, saying how silly and ignorant I am to the whole process and how it’s the basic fundamentals that are the backbone of our life as culinarians. And how it is that basic fundamental knowledge that should be tested among chefs who really want to achieve greatness.

I know there will be equally as many chefs reading this while talking shit about the belief that certification is the only way to prove yourself as a great chef and that they could probably outcook any certified chef any day in a real kitchen environment.

Then I ask this: why can’t we just appreciate each other as the uniquely talented chefs we all are? I’m curious to hear thoughts on this subject matter. I welcome your feedback, good or bad. You might just give me some insight to help me decide what my next move is. And I admit, it could be that I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. But there are a lot of certified and non-certified chefs out there who have some very strong opinions regarding the subject of certification.

Has the pot been stirred enough yet? I’m passing the spoon.

17 Responses to Should Club Chefs Get Certified?

  1. Francisco Gonzalez says:

    Penelope, I cannot agree more with you on this one,and congratulations on your new position, although the majority of my peers believe I have a great talent, for being able to execute all type of pastries and desserts(mostly french) ,create chocolate,sugar and ice show pieces and with 25 years of cooking experience, a CMC or even CEC, is not on my bucket list and I still sleep well, best regards
    Francisco Gonzalez

    • Penelope Wong says:

      Francisco, thank you for taking the time to respond and to share your thoughts with me. Much appreciated!

  2. Good Afternoon Chef,
    My name is Gary Klinefelter and I am a Certified Executive Chef and also will be inducted into the American Academy of Chefs this July. I am the Executive Chef of Gulf Stream Bath and Tennis Club in Delray Beach Florida and I too struggled with the idea of Certification. At one point in my career, I was so pissed off by the ACF that after being a Certified Chef de Cuisine and having spent nearly 20 years in the ACF including my formal apprenticeship, I left the ACF totally and thought it was useless. Fast forward 8 years and I was in the job market trying to get back into the Club Business after spending many successful years as an Executive Chef / F&B Director at resorts throughout the Caribbean. I found that clubs AND hotels did not even want to talk to me unless I was a CEC. I was shocked. I pursued my CEC and took the exam and passed both the written and practical on my first try. Myself and several colleagues also started our own ACF Chapter in the Virgin Islands so that we could promote education and certification through our younger culinarians as well as seasoned veterans who maybe just needed to be able to see thing from a different direction. Now, I do not agree with everything that the ACF is about, but I feel that the value of what you get for your membership dollar is outstanding. Do I wish that the ACF had some of the greatness that Star Chefs does? Of course, but I have grown immensely in my career since becoming a CEC and many doors have opened up to me because of it. I am also finishing my training to become an ACE (approved certification evaluator) as well as a CCA (certified culinary administrator). Will any of these certifications provide me with better opportunities? I sure hope so, but I do not know. But one thing that I do know is that certification and being active has kept me sharp and I do believe in it 100%. I feel that if you were to allow yourself to buy into the whole thing and pursue it, you may find many other worlds that open up to you because of it. Just one guys opinion of certification after I had my own struggles. I wish you all of the best in whatever path that you may choose.

  3. I have been an executive chef for a little over 25 years. 10 of those years I was a CEC, then I opened a business and didn’t have the time to get recertified. When I went through the certification process there was no practical exam it was education hours and years of experience in the field as a Chef supervisor. If you have the time and ambition by all means go for it. It can only be a benefit for furthering your education, you get that fancy title 🙂 and the practical would be a good way to challenge yourself!🔪

  4. Tim Husband says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Great article, Penelope. I actually just joined the ACF today, primarily because I need to find a new Sous and the talent pool in Jackson Hole is somewhat limited. I have always viewed certification as an exercise in “old boy network” futility. After the conference in Atlanta my views have been slightly skewed. Still don’t know if I will go for certification, but I do have a broader outlook on the ACF. Thanks.

    ps – in the process of hiring my first (known) felon.

  5. I have been an uncertified Exec Chef for 24 plus years and have thought about getting certified but really don’t have the desire to go through the steps. I did spend the time to get my CCM, Cert Club Mgr., through the Club Managers Assoc. and the 5-7 years of effort to do that seems to set me apart in the club world for which I have worked for 14 years of my career. The education provided at local CMAA events as well as the National Conference is in my opinion far superior to education offered through ACF. I would highly recommend to any chef in the club world to consider this if self-development is the priority. Culinarily, I can dine around the world and learn and experience food so I spend half of my education budget on travel and dining and the other half on educational opportunities with CMAA.

  6. Nick Berta, EC says:

    I mostly feel the purpose of getting certified is to communicate to others with little to no actual BOH experience that one has been “vetted” by a reputable organization. This being said, I have worked with CEC’s that were extremely talented. I have also worked with CEC’s that need to hang it up. Which ultimately leads me to feel there isn’t any credibility from the inside looking in. IE, “They let that guy through?” I have never had a positive experience with the ACF (which I am no longer a member). I feel it’s turned into a self servicing entity. I feel the same way about Culinary School (which I dropped out of). I have worked with really qualified graduates/interns with bright futures, but I’ve worked with more kids that have no business pursuing this path; so I feel they were lied to. At the end of the day, I feel it’s a gateway to potential job opportunities. It’s a piece of paper. A pre-requisite. Do I care to work for people who only care to check filter boxes? My answer could be my own arrogance or some militant rebellion against anyone that ever told me I wouldn’t make it, didn’t promote me, or didn’t hire me because I didn’t have that paper. It keeps me up at night. Sometimes.

  7. Mark Ellis says:

    Penelope, I have been the Executive Chef at the Dallas Athletic Club since 1989. I was a Certified Working Chef at that time. 28 years later I too have not gone for CEC credentials, much for the same reasons. I have stayed a member of the TCA and ACF for all these years but have not been very active. To tell you the truth, I get much more out of the Chef to Chef conference than I ever did at any ACF meetings or conventions. I have been blessed ( or possibly Cursed ) to have been able to spend that much time in one place. Maybe if I was jumping around from place to place it might have been more important for me to go for the title. Now at 57 I am proud of my career and need no CEC credentials. I attended the Chef to Chef Conference in Atlanta and would have liked to have met you. Maybe next year. Take Care and God Bless.

  8. Edward G Leonard, CMC says:

    Chef Penelope, you make very good points. As I am a past ACF president and the one responsible for making all levels have practical testing along with being a CMC chair for 6 years I offer some comments as you have passed me the spoon. Your view on ACF is not wrong as well, our time off is valuable and if going to a meeting, belong to an organization and you not getting quality education out of it or something that makes a difference in your profession then it is a waste of time. The best thing many of these federations offer is networking and friendships. ACF is a personal decision and for most cooks and chefs they are not relevant to success in the industry and half over 50% student membership. Sadly, many of the younger and older top restaurant chefs do not have interest and no reason to join are successful in so many ways, what organizations need to realize is you need those culinarians they do not need you. My only objections to your points are the comment on making people cook irrelevant food and you have to be a competition chef.
    I will say that you can be a very talented and very successful chef without certification for sure and as the industry shows the majority of great cooks, up and coming stars are not and that’s a fact. In my view the certification of great value is the CMC because of the exam, the number of days and the chefs I know that have taken this test. It is certainly not the paper mill that WACS and ACF have become together which now has made certification carry even less weight than before. A world global master chef means nothing if one has not stepped into the kitchen and has been tested to validate the master of skills needed to earn that title a world CEC same thing.

    The CMC exam is not about being certified as a chef but a master of cookery. The courses are very relevant, as any of the top chefs cooking modern cuisine successfully (that being the key word) have had solid practical training and have cooked everyday food at one time using the techniques of cookery that have been around since the test of time. These dishes and methods still please over 80% of the dining public. If one is a master of charcuterie no matter how cool or modern the work is they had to master the techniques of curing, drying, smoking, preserving and forcemeats before I create that Chianti + roasted garlic salumi of quality.

    In fact the failure of younger chefs who attempt all these new techniques and do not succeed is because they do not have an understanding of a proper braise, sauté or roast first which you the foundation to develop modern good tasting food.

    The CMC exam is not about outdated food or being a chef at the core word of the chef job description. It is about the mastery of all around skills from cooking, baking, charcuterie, butchering skills, global cuisine, pastry and cooking methodology at a very high level.

    This is what the exam is and it’s not for everyone, as you said some cooks have weaknesses in some areas and strength in others the exam means you have a solid skill set and knowledge in all areas.
    Yes there is cooking under some pressure and time frames which are required that show the organizational skill set of a chef and the ability to perform and cook great food at that level. What is a paella? Chefs say well no one makes this anymore, no one eats this. (Those in Spain would disagree as well as at my club). That said it is the cooking of rice, the ability to batch cook and extract all the flavors from the meats and seafood folded into this lovely cooked rice and then the ability to make that flavorful crust and a dish that you savor when eaten.

    One can say no one eats salmon coulibiac anymore and you could say it is irrelevant. The skill set to prepare the salmon, the egg and rice mixture the herbs, make a great dough and bake it all together to perfection is an art and a skill set. The cook that can does this dish perfect is talented skilled and at another level. Grant Achatz did this dish just recently at his restaurant, even to improve and make a modern version one must master and understand the classic and the techniques used.

    A master of cookery understand that even if they never made the dish before it is about the skill set, the technique the methodology and understanding of food no matter what you are asked to make.

    And yes if your consommé is cloudy because of a bad day it does not take away you can be a good (cook) chef, but if every day it is something wrong, and everyday food with issues then I would say no way are you a good cook there or in the work place as well. Having that bad day or consommé does not carry an ominous cloud of judgment. Some very talented chefs have had a bad day, even failed a day and still passed the exam as we realize there are tough days in the kitchen and other factors. Maybe the CMC should be master craftsman or cook and not chef? As chef is a whole bunch of aggregated skill sets for as you say feeding the masses, budgets, HR work ect ect.

    At the end of the day certification is a personal goal for the reasons one wants. For me it was to walk in there and prove to me that the passion, the love for my craft and experience could pass the exam.
    I had it in my head no matter what dish, bread or pastry I was given to make the fact that I understood the fundamentals of cuisine and process and did them fairly well it would shine through for a simple thing called food.

    Fact is regardless of certification one does have to do their job day in and day out and perform at a level acceptable to the members, guest and their employer. My certification perhaps places more pressure on me at times and all I do. For me personally to earn the certification gave me a chance to give back, to mentor others, to guide students and receive opportunities with the craft I love. I also have coached and mentored chefs for the exam with a 70% success rate.

    As with anything in life it’s what you do with something once you earn it and to do good, to inspire, to coach and to keep learning is key. I have many incredible chef friends’ great people and great talent who have nothing to do with certification don’t want it or need it. I respect this.

    My only thought is if you want to earn something at least do it the right way, put yourself on the line and in the kitchen and show the skill set and passion, not earn a piece of paper that has no substance its like a degree that’s not accredited.

    One day chef you will make that personal decision and no matter what your success achieved, your talent is yours and always will be and you have done very well without any initials. As I teach my kids the only person you prove anything too first and foremost is yourself. Thanks for the spoon chef and maybe we can bang pans together one day.

  9. Gregory Mummert says:

    This conversation has been very intriguing. As a chef at a successful club in central Pennsylvania, I am very fortunate to have reached the title of Evecutive Chef. I have no certificate to hang on the wall. No letters behind my name. And at 53 years old I may never take the plunge. It’s midnight and I have just finished a six course wine dinner for a wonderful man celebrating his 85 th birthday. As much as would like like to say I put all my talent to the test tonight. In the end my staff and I did a very good job. However we are as individuals are not masters of anything. Together we do a good job, sometimes great, but always good.

    As club chef’s we settle sometimes for balancing a multitude of expectations. We need to offer the best seafood, steaks, veal and chicken tenders in town. We do so much for everyone around us, we something sacrifice our own career oppertunities to achieve today’s success. In my case. I have been at the club for 36 years. I have done very well for a dishwasher. The thought of attempting to start a certification process at this point is daunting. So I will more than likely spend the next ten years self training though videos, magazine, triple d and through the challenges that that the membership offers in the way of resources to do whatever I think will keep us at the forefront of the club industry.

    That being said. It is inspiring to here chef Lenord to speak of the pride and confidence that has not come from bieng certified as a master chef. But it seems that his pride and confidence has made him a master chef.

    Chef Wong. I have spoken to you a few times. Your confident and carry yourself with pride and poise. If you want it. I believe you would do well. It’s sounds like chef Lenord gone offer you a few tips for sure.

    It that is not your goal. Your may want to think about a CEO position. When I sat in to your break out session last year, that was my first impression.

    There are many talented chefs who handle the day to day tasks of meeting and exceeding budgets. I believe it may be time for these talented chef’s (like yourself) to think bigger.

    A Cmaa certification may be something we all should take a look at.

    Anyway. I read this early today and thought about it often as the F and B staff carried the day, as it always does. I hope it sounded fun and light.

    Thank you.

    P. S. Don’t share this with your CEOs.

  10. What a great forum! Thank you all of you chefs for sharing your honest thoughts and for the many and very wise advises. The bottom line is follow your heart chef Penelope Wong.
    I have been an ACF member for many years, cooking for 40+Years, 25 of them as a club chef (8 years at the Jonathan Club, & last 17 at Ocean Reef Club). I totally agree with chef Leonard, going for the CMC is not for everyone, but to me, I would have LOVED to take this challenge head on. However, finding the time to commit and do what it takes to become certified and eventually a CMC has always escaped me. My “excuse” Working for big clubs requires focus, organization, leadership, broad culinary knowledge, skills and DEDICATION. With that said, if I would had a mentor insisting and coaching me along no doubt I would have tried. So surround yourselves with the people you aim to be.

    To all of you Chefs, just don’t wait too long, if you feel you want to get certified as a Club Manager or CMC or CEC do it! Don’t wait or you may regret it. Certification may open other doors and take you to a greater purpose.
    Good luck and a big shout to all of you chefs winding down your Friday workday past midnight. Tomorrow Saturday we are doing again and twice as hard!
    Keep on cooking and may your pan always be full.

    • Penelope Wong says:

      Chefs,
      Thank you all for taking the time to share your comments, opinions and/or past experiences with the ACF as well as your successes. My intent on this article was not to scorn the ACF. So let me start off by stating that I appreciate and respect the intent behind the organization. I believe the ACF to be a very important and vital organization for young culinary students as an educational stepping stone and guide.

      I do, however, believe that their processes and systems in place for certification are not very conducive and/or user friendly to the demanding schedules of a working Chef. This is where my frustration has been. When I had decided to go down the certification path once again, I immediately delved into gaining all of the requirements (i.e. paperwork) in order to qualify as a candidate to take the written exam. This included refresher courses in management, sanitation and nutrition. All very simple subjects for Chefs who have been working in the field, especially over the last 20 years. I took the written exam and passed; got it out of the way. My next move is the practical exam – which I have been trying to sign up for since May of last year. After repeated attempts (at least 8) to contact the local judges to set up a date, I received only one reply stating that July 1st would be a potential date. I went into stalker mode and continued to reach out on a weekly basis up until the actual date of July 1st trying to confirm and get signed up. I did not receive ANY replies, phone calls nor emails. In August I received a complimentary reminder from ACF headquarters that I qualified to take the practical and that I should try to get that scheduled as quickly as possible. When I reached out and explained why I’ve not signed up for a practical yet, I was told my name was to go on the list to be the first one signed up on their next scheduled date in my area. Several weeks went by and still I did not hear any news. When I decided to reach out again to see if there were any potential dates listed, I was told the last exam was just two weeks ago. When I asked why my name did not go on the sign up list when this date was announced, I was told the practical was open to culinary students (wtf? really?) I’m really not trying to come across sounding like a bitter woman scorned, here, but I have been a bit disappointed with my experience in trying to further my career opportunities with an organization that claims they are here to do just that. I’ve not given up completely, though. I still check the website on a regular basis to see if there are any dates set, yet. I’m still waiting…
      Fortunately and unfortunately, I’ve got the full support of my GM and Board of Directors with full funding support if I decide to go headstrong into certification at the highest level. I don’t know how much longer I’d like to tell them that I’m still waiting on a date to take my practical for CEC first. I find myself avoiding certain board members who like to ask me how the process is going each and every time I see them!

      Again – thank you to all Chefs for taking the time to read my rubbish, and especially for taking time out of your very busy schedules to offer me a little insight. I appreciate each and every single one of you.

      Best-
      Penelope

  11. Pablo Juan Colon says:

    i agree 100%!with you Chef and I will say this the most successful estudent ithey are in the schools with not exam , test or home work, is not about what you can do that day on the exam, is about what you can do on your daily basic in the flour with you heart and passion and show to your people your commitment and respect to this uniform greatness is not about if you pass or not the exam is about be in the fire and make happen everyday no matter what happen in the kitchen my brother and sister be bless

  12. Lawrence McFadden says:

    The Certified Master Chef examination is a chapter in ones career; not the end all or columniation of the ones career. In many cases it the beginning, and while I participated in the 2001 examination there were items, terms and preparation that were new to me. The exact fact for taking the examination. Learning is a lifetime experience in all of life’s chapters, whether they be certification, job descriptions or classes that add to the complete knowledge of someone.

    Certification is a personal decision and one that should remain as such. Of course anyone can call themselves a chef, hang the shingle and start a business. Only a certified chef can in fact claim they went through a process, vetting of knowledge or skills that ended with a certification. Hence why we seek diplomas from various higher educational institutions’. Someone can claim they are a millionaire or Icon of business and not have a MBA or college education, and that is certainly within their priority.

    To attach certification to success is not accurate or reasonable as it is simply a process where someone can test their learned skills and enhance their fraternity of networking. The Master Chef is very relevant as Ed mentioned and very accurate in it’s ability to test your “previous” knowledge not future skill sets or learnings. Have you learned the correct technic with the right terms and transitioned these learning into success at the business level. The examination touch all phases of excellence from financial, leadership and or course technic mastery.

    If the CMC or Certification is deemed the holly grail then potentially it was mis-understood and mis-represented in it context. It should be as mentioned a measurement of what needed to be addressed or challenged moving forward. To call yourself a Master Chef or Certified Chef is to say you have stopped learning, you deem your career completed and you have decided not to pursue the necessary education to make yourself successful on several industry platforms.

    In fact on some of business cards I don’t possess the CMC certification as it isn’t relevant to my current job. When in Asia it wasn’t understood so best to keep for individual conversation. When in the General Manager role today, again not on business cards but not far conversation and pride to accomplish a goals, and deep impression on others that I have completed something meaningful.

    The ACF organization is very easy to poke fun at. BUT the question is are you part of the solution or part of the problem. They have come leap years and as an association it is very easy, due to our paying dues to feel that we have a “right” to state your opinion without solutions. Much like many of our members in private club who feel it is their paid rights to complain about the club organization, direction or hiring practices. So the question; is it an opinion, preference or problem. If you ask yourself this questions then you will probably find the right solutions. The ACF has done a great job in many areas, and when you manage a large number of members yes we will not always seek the consciences of agreement.

    To stand on the sidelines and question others methods or education is only hurting the ones not involved. All of us can say we don’t have time, but once involved the gifts return in a win/win proposition. You leave most sessions seeking the additional meetings to complete your balance scorecard of professional vs. personal. You challenge yourself when the schedule is most full to place another event, activity or appointment directly harms way to excel and mentor others.

    Penelope, I hope you consider challenging the certification as you have done. I hope you continue and successful accomplish the goal if that is what will benefit you and your team. Remember when you represent yourself in competition, certification or speeches you are representing your entire brigade that don’t have your voice yet. You inspire those to walk in your shoes or stand on your shoulders. And if successful many will pass you in their abilities positions and career successes. Good luck with your conundrum.

    • Penelope Wong says:

      Lawrence,
      Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate the time you took in sharing your insights; a lot of VERY GOOD insights indeed. What you offer here is detailed and offers revelations I’ve not heard, yet, amongst my conversations with Chefs and CMCs and it really offers a sense of purpose behind my conundrum.

      During a brief conversation I had with another CMC, the general statement made in disdain was, “Well, there is only one certification that matters anyway…” This statement, unfortunately, may have caused me to show a little bit of bias in my initial rubbish. But I truly hope I don’t come across as disparaging by any means. I have nothing but respect for those who have gone through the certification process with ether a pass or a fail. I certainly don’t question others methods or education or ultimate decision of delving into the world of certification, I just wonder if this is the world for me.

      Your last statement of my goals affecting and/or benefitting my team is probably the best advice I’ve heard, yet. Thank you for that reminder. My team is my family. I know that I have their support, in whichever direction I take this battle; and I will make sure that I continue to have a positive impact on their successes as well.

      Best,
      Penelope

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