People always ask me-What does the CCS after your name stand for? Officially, CCS means “Certified Culinary Scientist” but to me, it stands for the 19 years that I have dedicated to learning everything that I can about food science and culinary arts. It represents the years I spent in school, my time in the trenches and even the years I spent loading (and unloading) catering trucks for $9/hr. It took years of strategic planning to gain the knowledge that I felt was needed to succeed in the world of Culinology.   I am excited that there are so many out there that are interested in the whole food science meets culinary arts world because honestly, the industry needs you!

The Research Chef Association www.culinology.com wants to recognize those potential CRC and CCS candidates that don’t quite yet have all the education and experience that they need to qualify, but are ALMOST there! The Certification Candidate Status is an easy process, described below…

Do you want to be a Certified Culinary Scientist (CCS) or a Certified Research Chef (CRC), but do not yet have all of the work experience, education or qualifications needed to qualify to take the exam?  You are not alone! Recognizing this interest in certification, the Research Chefs Association later this fall will allow the many up and coming chefs and food scientists to formally indicate their intention to pursue one of the certification paths outlined by the RCA by becoming an RCA Certification Candidate.  Doing so will let the food industry know that you are almost there! And let your current and future employers know that you are increasing your food science and/or culinary competencies and gaining the skill set needed not only to be creative in the culinary arts, but also to make sure the product is scientifically sound.

The process of becoming an RCA Certification Candidate will be simple. You submit an application http://www.culinology.org/RCA-certification-candidate indicating you meet at least one of the three CRC or CCS eligibility criteria (education, food service, or R&D work experience), and pay a modest $100 ($225 for non members) application fee.  If approved by the RCA Certification Commission (RCACC), you formally become a “candidate.”  Once you meet the remaining eligibility criteria needed to sit for the exam, you pay the CRC/CCS application fee.  

Recently, a survey was sent out to all RCA members asking their thoughts on becoming an RCA Certification Candidate and 66% of the respondents agreed that there should be a stepping stone towards obtaining CRC or CCS certification, so the RCACC felt this was a positive indication that the RCA community is interested in having this opportunity available to them.

Becoming an RCA Certification Candidate will enable you to proudly display a ribbon at the next RCA convention that will let your industry peers know that you are almost (but not quite) there and are diligently working on being there in the very near future!  You’ll also be able to use your candidate status as a networking and mentoring tool- a chance to call and get to know CRC and CCS certificants and talk to them about their experiences in getting to where they are.  Look for the upcoming RCA Certification status to launch later this fall.  In the meantime, feel free to reach out to any of the RCA Certification Commission (RCACC) members to learn more about the impact of RCA certification on their careers.  Here are their names and e-mail addresses:

Albert Celentano
ChefCo Foods
acelentano@ctifoods.com

Aubrey Coffee, PhD
Clemson University
 acoffee@clemson.edu

Richard Cusick CEPC
richardcusick@comcast.net

Mary Ann Firth, CRC®
LaRosa’s, Inc.
 mafirth@larosas.com

Dianna Fricke, CRC®, CWPC
J.R. Simplot Company
Dianna.fricke@simplot.com

Susan Licker, CCS®
Frito-Lay
 susan.licker@fritolay.com

Mary Petersen
The Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ)
marypetersen@prodigy.net

Allison Rittman, CRC®
Corporate Research Chef
arittman@culinary-culture.com

Rachel Zemser, CCS®
rzemser@sbcglobal.net

Mirko Zuehlke, CMB, MSFS
T. Hasegawa Flavors
mzuehlke@Thasegawa.com

About Rachel Zemser