Story and photo by Jeffrey C. Doepp, CFAY Public Affairs
Ashore and afloat food service professionals from Yokosuka and Atsugi took part in a nine-day course in advanced culinary techniques and to receive certifications from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) at the Commodore Matthew C. Perry General Mess on board Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) Sept. 23 to Oct. 1.
The 20 culinary specialists (CS) participating in the course are from ashore commands of CFAY, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan and Naval Air Facility Atsugi, and from afloat commands of USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56, USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Shiloh (CG 67).
According to Certified Executive Chef Ed Glebus, president of the ACF, San Diego Chapter, ACF certifications are designed to identify those chefs who have demonstrated a level of culinary skill and expertise through education, work experience and culinary knowledge that is consistent with ACF chef level.
“When a CS obtains certification, it’s demonstrating that they have the skills at their level and hopefully, inspires them to improve themselves and do better and rethink the way they do things, which in turn produces better food served,” Glebus said.
Glebus along with Chef Michael Harants from Mechanicsburg, Pa. and Chief Culinary Specialist Brandon Parry from Naples, Italy, who are all instructors for the certification course, also provide refresher training in the basics of nutrition, sanitation and supervision.
“We are certifying chefs on all different levels starting with entry-level culinarian all the way up to executive chef,” Glebus said. “After attaining certification, it cannot be taken away and it will show their future employer within the Navy or outside the Navy that they are qualified at that level, which would be an advantage over a chef who doesn’t have the certification.”
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Christine Cheung, one of the food service professionals, from the CFAY General Mess, who was hand selected to attend the training was very excited about obtaining her certification.
“I want to improve my skills, learn more ways to perfect the level I am at and to become a more efficient chef,” said Cheung. “Getting my Chef de Cuisine certification is very important to me because it will help me when I return to the fleet.”
The ACF is the premier professional chefs’ organization in North America, with more than 230 chapters nationwide and 20,000 members. A certification from the ACF is a symbol that reflects his or her professionalism and culinary expertise. The certification verifies that professional chefs and cooks have the knowledge and skill required for elevated culinary positions and that their food is prepared to the highest standards.