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SWFL chefs test for excellence on Sanibel Island

By Staff | Jun 19, 2013

Pictured left to right, Boun Chanthavong, sous chef; Mark Brown, executive chef; and Derek Bryner, sous chef stand in front of The Sanctuary Golf Club, the site of practical chef examinations on June 26. PHOTO PROVIDED.

The Sanctuary Golf Club is hosting ten chefs next week for a series of challenging examinations to display culinary expertise.

Fourteen different levels of certification are offered to chefs by the American Culinary Federation as a way for professionals to show they have reached a certain benchmark in their trade. These practical examinations are offered at locations all over the United States with 14 test centers in Florida, including The Sanctuary Golf Club, Florida Gulf Coast University and in nearby Sarasota.

Derek Bryner, banquet sous chef at The Sanctuary who completed his own certification last year, said about half of the men testing on June 26 are going for the Certified Executive Chef (CEC) practical, the ACF’s second highest certification, while others are going for Certified Sous Chef (CSC) and Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC).

While the CEC is a common certification, he said, others are more rare, like the Certified Master Chef (CMC), for example, having only been issued to 70 people in the world.

The practical examinations last three hours and chefs have to score a 75 percent or higher to pass. Bryner said they perform a number of tasks to complete a full, three-course meal. Certified culinary evaluators from all over the state judge the meals and there is a point system determining a pass or fail.

“It’s not extremely difficult, but it’s stressful. You know what you’re going to do and you have your menu written, but stress, panicking and unforeseen factors are a big contributor to a guy’s not doing well,” said Bryner.

This is the second year The Sanctuary has served as a practical examination center. Bryner said it’s the only place on the island where a chef can obtain a higher certification and not just any kitchen is permitted to serve as a test center. The ACF demands a “high-level” testing venue with plenty of space for each chef candidate.

Sheryl Tatum, director of Membership and Marketing for The Sanctuary, said it’s a bonus for The Sanctuary and the island community to host such an event.

The Sanctuary continues to be recognized for its competitive spirit and a focus on using local, fresh fare. In July, The Sanctuary received a 2012 Achievement of Excellence Award from the ACF during a national convention at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The award honors properties that demonstrate excellence and passion for the culinary arts.

For more information on the American Culinary Federation, visit www.acfchefs.org, and to see what The Sanctuary Golf Club offers, visit www.sanctuarygc.net.