Certified Chefs

Written by Shirley Parker
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Opportunities for certified chefs are greater than the advancement available to those who haven't yet begun certification. Chef certification is not required to start a new career as a personal chef, but additional credentials never hurt anyone. The American Culinary Federation has 13 separate designations when issuing certificates to qualified professionals.

Certified chefs or not, chefs should purchase liability insurance. In many places, it's a requirement, and in today's litigious society (particularly in the United States), it's always a prudent step. When chefs only worked in posh restaurants or for the wealthy, and personal chefs were scarcely known, certification and insurance were not issues for the public.

Nowadays, people want to know about standards being met, the way the affluent have always interviewed private chefs. This is a two-way process. A client will ask about training or references and will need to know if a chef is afraid of aristocratic dogs or allergic to Amazon parrots in the home, whether the owner's there or not. A chef may not work well with a Siamese cat perched in the kitchen windowsill, commenting on every move that is made.

Certified Chefs and Proving It

Remember Grandma's Brag Book, carried around in her knitting bag, with all the photos of the grandkids? Certified chefs will have books of accomplishment, and a beginning chef can start one. Include copies of culinary certificates you've earned, necessary permits, photos of the food served at family gatherings where you did all the cooking, the church pancake breakfast that used your recipe, blue ribbons from 4-H Club, a newspaper write-up, and testimonials from people you've cooked for on a volunteer basis. Put all of these inside top-loading sheet protectors to keep them fresh and prevent loss.

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