If you are aspiring to be a professional chef or cook, or if you already are working in these professions, you might want to consider belonging to the American Culinary Federation (AFC). There are many benefits to belonging to this professional organization. There is an application process to join but if you would like to know more, keep reading.
A Brief History of the AFC
The American Culinary Federation was founded in 1929 by three chefs’ organizations in New York City. The primary goal of the organization was and still is to promote the professional image of American chefs and to make a positive difference for culinarians. In 1976, the AFC was able to elevate the position of the executive chef from a service status to a professional status in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Dictionary of Official Titles. In 1989, the AFC founded the Chef & Child Foundation as a way to promote proper nutrition for children and to help combat childhood obesity. The AFC currently includes 17,500 members in 150 different chapters and has become the largest professional chefs organization in North America.
What the AFC Has to Offer
There are many benefits of belonging to this professional chefs organization. Some of these benefits include:
- Culinary competitions
- A national apprenticeship program
- Regional and national events
- Access to culinary resources
Besides all of this, the AFC does much to help foster the growth of professionals in the chef and cook professions and the foodstuff industry. The AFC also takes education very seriously. Because the organization places high value on academic quality, they have developed an accreditation program that ensures culinary programs are meeting standards and competencies. This accreditation not only ensures a high level of professionalism but also that accountability and credibility are maintained. Accredited schools can also have more of an advantage when recruiting students. Because of the combined efforts of the ACF Education Foundation and the American Academy of Chefs, scholarships are available to high school students, college students, and professional chefs furthering their culinary education. In 1974, an apprenticeship program was established so that future chefs and cooks could receive on-the-job-training along with classroom instruction.
The AFC also holds several events such as the Cook. Craft. Create. and Convention Show that offers educational and networking opportunities for members, food service professionals, students, and competitors. The organization also holds several competitions throughout the year so that members can hone their craft while participating in a competitive atmosphere. Competitions are broken down into two categories, one for professionals and the other for students. Awards handed out by the AFC include:
- U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year
- AFC Pastry Chef of the Year
- AFC Chef Educator of the Year
- AFC Student Chef of the Year
If you desire to become a professional chef or head cook, you will be glad to know that the job outlook and growth for this occupation is faster than average and these professionals can make an average of $41,500 a year. For greater opportunities in education and to further enhance your culinary skills, you will also want to become involved in the American Culinary Federation.