Chefs’ alliance launches first global culinary certification
HONG KONG: The World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) has just rolled out a global culinary certification scheme for the industry, in association with City & Guilds, one of the world’s leading certification bodies.
“This is the most important day in the history of WACS,” said WACS president Gissur Gudmundsson at HOFEX 2013 held in Hong Kong in early May. “For the first time ever, cooks and chefs operating at all levels within the industry are able to seek international recognition for the skills, experience and knowledge they have gained while working. Equally important, the scheme covers culinary educators whose work underpins the culinary talent of the future.”
WACS has been working with City & Guilds for nearly three years to define the nine certification levels that make up the scheme, and to ensure that these levels reflect the typical career progression within the industry. The scheme opens on 1 June 2013 for applications.
“We only work with the best and City & Guilds has been the perfect choice for us,” Gudmundsson said. “Our teams have worked tirelessly not only on designing the standards, but also to come up with a world-class quality assurance mechanism which is suitable for the scheme.
“One of the biggest challenges we have faced is geography. We wanted to make the scheme completely global so that chefs and culinary educators anywhere in the world could apply. This meant that we needed to find a way in which we can use technology to receive and process applications, without alienating those the scheme is aimed at,” Gudmundsson added.
Due to the innovative use of technology, the scheme is both accessible and affordable. Details of the nine certification levels are published on the WACS website. Applicants are required to read the requirements and determine which level is the right one for their skills and experience. If they choose to apply, they are prompted to pay an application fee. The rest of the application is handled online.
LEARNING AT WORK
“We see learning in the workplace as an essential part of improving industry standards,” said John Clancy, chairman of the WACS Education Committee. “There is hardly anything available for chefs and cooks who are busy working in the industry and who may not have the time to go back to formal education or never had the opportunity to obtain a qualification.”
“We have been absolutely delighted by the feedback from industry on the launch day and since,” Gudmundsson added. “Employers welcome the fact that individuals can take the initiative and get their skills recognised as it demonstrates passion, commitment and a desire to continuously improve, all essential qualities to succeed in the industry. What we were even more pleased with is that many of the employers we have spoken to are interested in exploring how the scheme can be incorporated into their staff training and development – which is exactly where we are hoping we can make the biggest difference.”
The WACS scheme complements qualifications and certification schemes already available around the world.
“We have made a conscious effort to incorporate existing certification schemes and competitions into the requirements where it was appropriate to do so,” Clancy added.
“For example, we will accept Master Chef and Master Pastry Chef certificates from around the world as part of the entry requirements for applications at the WACS Certified Master Chef and Master Pastry Chef levels. Equally, WACS recognised schools will also have an opportunity to link their programme to the WACS Certified Professional Cook level, provided that they can meet the WACS requirements.”