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Certified Master Chef Exam returns to Schoolcraft College

by Chantele Fox, News Editor

Executive chefs and culinary arts instructors from all over the country made their way to Schoolcraft to complete the Certified Master Chef Exam which took place from March 1 until March 9, 2019.

Previously in 2017, Schoolcraft College was chosen to host this exam based upon the capability of both the facility and faculty to accommodate the test without interruption, providing a “natural flow.”

“We built the kitchen specifically to do stuff like this back in 2003,” states Chris Misiak, Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Instructor at Schoolcraft College. “We built it not knowing what kind of competitions we would have, but knowing that it would be available for it. We have the proper facility and we have a faculty that can handle 20 other Master Chefs who are flying in,” he proceeds.

Now in 2019, Schoolcraft played host to the Certified Master Chef Exam for the second straight year, hoping to maintain that highly regarded and professional facilitation as demonstrated in the years prior.

The Certified Master Chef Exam is a rigorous eight-day exam offered exclusively through the American Culinary Federation. By successful completion of this exam, chefs have demonstrated the upmost degree of professionalism and skill level. Presently, there are 72 chefs whom have successfully passed this exam, with 65 of them being certified. Additionally, there are currently 10 Certified Master Pastry Chefs.

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As the Master Chef Exam made its way to Schoolcraft, four candidates came prepared to man the grill: Timothy Bucci, culinary arts instructor from Joliet Junior College located in Joliet, IL; Michael Matarazzo, executive chef from the Farmington Country Club located in Charlottesville, VA; William Rogers, executive chef from the Cosmos Club located in Washington, D.C. and Seth Shipley, executive chef from the Belle Meade Country Club, Nashville, Tenn.

As in any kitchen, chefs are in need of support and assistance and this exam was no different. Resultingly, second year students currently enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at Schoolcraft were granted the opportunity to take an apprenticeship or stewardship working one-on-one with a possible Master Chef. To be considered, students needed to maintain outstanding academic performance, demonstrate a high level of professionalism and their merit as a whole was evaluated.

“This was a collaboration amongst faculty,” states Shawn Loving, Certified Master Chef and Culinary Arts Department Chair at Schoolcraft College. “These second-year students needed to understand the rigorous atmosphere they were going to be involved in. Their overall grades and academic standing as a whole were taken into account.”

Ultimately, four Schoolcraft College Culinary Arts students were chosen to be in stewarding positions throughout the duration of the competition, in addition to eight others who would get the opportunity to serve as an apprentice to those candidates participating in the exam. Amongst those eight apprentices was Schoolcraft student Lauren Jones, who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts from Schoolcraft. Jones worked as an apprentice to the newest Certified Master Chef, Timothy Bucci, throughout the duration of the exam.

These students worked alongside possible Master Chefs and under the most grueling circumstances. “At first it was nerve racking. It was very tense toward the end, especially when you get down to the niddy griddy,” states Rachel Jacuzzi, Culinary Arts student at Schoolcraft College when asked about her time in the kitchen. Moreover, these students were able to observe the set-up of the process. They learned proper plating technique, grasped a more in-depth understanding of the importance of timing and most significantly, knowing the pressure they would be under in the future and what is expected as they progress further into their careers.

“It really builds a lot of character; you can’t duplicate that experience in a restaurant, it has to be experienced here and it’s a lot of pressure to be one-on-one with a chef who is trying to obtain the highest level of certification in the country while being watched by Master Chefs the whole entire day. For some it was a double day, two in a row,” explains Chef Chris Misiak.

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While the exam typically lasts for the duration of eight days, a ninth was needed after, now Certified Master Chef Timothy Bucci did not score high enough on the classical cuisine major exam. Finally, by the end of the ninth day, Bucci had earned the certification of Master Chef from the American Culinary Federation.

For more information pertaining to the Certified Master Chef Exam and the 2019 results, please visit acfchefs.org/ACF/Certify/Levels/Savory/CMC/2019/ACF/Certify/Levels/CMC/2019/.

For additional information pertaining to the Schoolcraft College Culinary Arts program, please visit schoolcraft.edu/academics/culinary-arts-brewing-and-distillation-technology/culinary-arts.