Success in a practical certification test is due to many factors. Reading the guidelines carefully for the level you will test at, asking someone that has successfully completed the test, questions to clarify any uncertainty you may have about the test. Practicing diligently and getting feedback on your work from experienced Chefs are all good techniques and will help you perform at a high level during your practical test.
Here are few more suggestions that can help you achieve success during your practical certification test.
Sanitation is without a doubt the most important aspect of any food production program. That is why candidates can fail the exam by making a critical food safety violation. Please click here to review an excerpt from the ACF practical exam manual on food safety, and take the 25-Question Food Safety Quiz (also shown below) to refresh your knowledge of these key food safety issues.
Menus for practical tests. I think the menu is very important. Menus should be typed and well thought out. You must bring several copies for the judges, and I find it helpful if you can highlight the requirements directly on the menu. For an example, perhaps the market basket items are printed in a different color font on the menu. The four classical cuts might be italicized on the menu and the cooking methods could be bolded. All this will help the judges identify that you have followed the guidelines of the test. Download an example (also shown below).
Organization is the hallmark of any true professional. Check out the practical test Organizational Tips (also included below).
This is not a competition! It is a demonstration of specific skills like roasting, precise cutting, protein fabrication, timing, sanitation and organization, etc. So creativity is not the most important factor. Keeping you program simple and executing at a very high level is far more important.
Mental preparation. Some days in the kitchen are better than others. If something unexpected happens, stay calm and remember it is OK to talk about your options with the test evaluators.
[message type="info" width="100%"]NEED MORE INFO ON CERTIFICATION? Contact Chef Marcus Herrington, CEC, ACE at email@example.com.
- Download a 25-Question Food Safety Quiz refresher
- Download a CEC Practical Sample Menu
- Download Organizational Tips (with pictures)