By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (AW/SW) Shawn D. Graham, Center for Service Support Public Affairs

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FORT LEE, Va. (NNS) -- Chefs competing in the 39th Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event (MCACTE), hosted at Fort Lee, Va., took the opportunity to enhance both their personal and professional acumen by earning certifications from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) as professional chefs March 13.

The ACF is comprised of more than 22,000 members in 230 chapters across the United States, and is known as the authority on cooking in America. Its mission is to make a positive difference for culinarians through education, apprenticeship and certification, while creating a fraternal bond of respect and integrity among chefs everywhere.

Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Gary Askins, assigned to Commander, Carrier Strike Group 8 said the MCACTE was a great opportunity to achieve his professional certification as a Chef de Cuisine (CCC).

"This certification is more than a mere title," said Askins. "This certification opens up doors to bigger and better things. When other cooks see this certification they know you have been a student and are now a teacher. In my opinion it is equivalent to earning a warfare device."

Askins said young Sailors should strive to obtain these qualifications, even if they don't plan on making the Navy a career.

"It's amazing how many programs the Navy has to offer," said Askins. "Earning qualifications helps you learn and improve upon your culinary knowledge. Earning these qualifications places you in elite company. Some of the chefs we have are very young and have earned awards. These programs are unifying and the results are quality and proficiency in the galleys across the Navy."

According to Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SS) Jacob Green, a leading CS assigned to Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, the path to the certification is arduous but well worth it.

"You must submit an application, along with your Joint Service Transcripts (JST), complete a written exam, score a 70 percent or above, then pass a performance exam," said Green. "Studying for the certification test is similar to preparing for Navy Advancement Exams. Working on the CCC certification will help you with your CS advancement exams. They (CCC tests) really help you master the basics and allow you to pass on the knowledge you learned to to other Sailors"

The JST is now the official transcript tool for Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard personnel that validates and documents the recommended college credits for professional military education, training courses and occupational experience of Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and veterans. This unified and standardized document makes it easier for institutions to review and articulate these credits as appropriate to service members and veterans degree programs.

"There is no requirement that says you need it, but if you are a serious chef you should earn it," said Green. "There is more to cooking than just opening a can and warming up the contents. This is a noble profession that requires a certain degree of artistry. Getting certified can only help you learn the small things that can make your dishes stand out."

The MCACTE is one of largest culinary competitions in North America. Since 1973, the competition has been conducted each year with the exception of 1991 and 2003, during Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. The competition is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and showcases the talents of military chefs from around the world in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Navy personnel interested in certification should contact the U.S. Navy Credentialing Program by submitting a Professional Certification and Licensing Voucher Request to navycool@navy.mil.

For more news from Center for Service Support, visit www.navy.mil/local/css/.

News Source : By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (AW/SW) Shawn D. Graham, Center for Service Support Public Affairs

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