The first batch of Jamaican students were tested for ACF certification March 29-31 at Montego Bay Convention Center, Rose Mount Cres, Montego Bay, Jamaica. Thirteen Jamaican chefs tested for various levels of ACF certification, and three of Jamaica’s ACFcertified chefs tested to become certified as ACF Evaluators, qualifying them to assess candidates and award certifications.
This project is part of a pilot program of the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation, which is working to help more locals get certifications thereby raising the country’s profile on the international culinary stage.
“I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made with this very important initiative. My Ministry is determined to provide more training opportunities to increase certification and innovation for the very talented people of Jamaica,” says Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett. “This is the essence of what is going to build out the professional pathway in tourism.”
“This will open opportunities for Jamaican cooks and chefs to elevate their skill set,” says Chef Jeremy Abbey, ACF Director of Certification. “The big hope is to increase the quality of Jamaican gastronomy using ACF standards as the benchmark.”
“I decided to pursue this certification as I believed it’s a phenomenal program that the Ministry is hoping to implement in the Jamaican hospitality industry. This program will help individuals to become more competitive in both the local and international job market allowing them to focus on their area of specialization,” says Ashley Reid, a recent graduate of the University of Technology, Jamaica, who tested to become a Certified Culinarian. “I learned a lot through this entire process and the chefs are very forthcoming, providing useful criticism to each candidate to help them to grow. My critics stated that I had confidence in the kitchen and showing my art however I was slightly nervous and a bit harder on myself for presentation. I was pleased with the outcome of my dish and the overall testing opportunity.”
While the results of the tests have not yet been returned, ACF is already at work on more initiatives like this one. “It’s already been talked about by other people to move this model to other countries,” Abbey says. “There’s talks for Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, and we have some interest from South Africa and Taiwan.”