Gerald Ford, CEC®

Why do you want to become an ACF Certified Master Chef®?

The reason I became a cook was because I watched a Certified Master Chef prepare a roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and pan gravy and all of those things were better than anything I had ever had. That was at a point where I knew I loved cooking and realized that my passion could become my profession as well.

What are the reasons you chose to pursue ACF certification in your career?

Working to accomplish a goal has consistently provided me with some of the deepest learning experiences and largest periods of growth through my career. ACF certification sets a standard and gives me something tangible to pursue.

When is it the right time in a chef’s career to take the ACF Certified Master Chef exam?

I can only speak for myself—I made the decision to take the exam when I felt that I had reached a point where I truly believed that I could take the exam and succeed.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 10 years?

I don’t think I can say with absolute certainty that I know, but I do know that I would like to make the culinary profession a bit healthier, I’d like to help kitchen equipment catch up with technology and the times, and I definitely would like to have a positive influence on the next generation of leaders.

How do you prepare both mentally and physically for the exam?

As soon as you know know that it’s something you want to do, that’s the best time to start preparing. Working for master chefs, apprenticing for the exam, watching an exam, interacting with master chefs and developing really high-level habits are really great ways to begin the preparation. Most recently, for the last five months, I’ve spent 50 to 60 hours a week working on the exam. In order to put myself in the best physical condition I can be, I exercise six days a week. As for the mental aspect, I meditate, listen to really hard metal and I push myself to the edge every chance I get.


Gerald Ford, CEC®, is executive sous chef at The Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Florida. He is the winner of the Les Amis d’Escoffier competition in New York City. He earned the opportunity to work at Moulin de Mougins, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Mougins, France. He set out on his culinary journey opening the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City and became executive chef of Château Robert in Montgaillard, France. Ford competes in both hot- and cold-food competitions, and is a gold medalist ice sculptor.

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