October 27, 2021

As a culinary or pastry chef, there are certain ways to differentiate yourself and stand out from the competition in your field. One such way is to join a professional culinary association.

Associations can look fantastic on a resume, whether you’re just starting out in the field or consider yourself a culinary industry veteran. Joining a professional association can be extremely beneficial for your career trajectory as well, providing networking opportunities and educational resources to help you on your path.

One particular culinary association is the World Association of Chefs’ Societies. This international organization offers a plethora of resources for chefs at all levels of their careers. Let’s dive into its background and some of the benefits you can expect as a member.

What Is WACS?

The World Association of Chefs’ Societies is located in Paris, the center of fine French dining and a host of global cuisines. It was founded in 1928 at the Sorbonne, and today encompasses a “dynamic global network of more than 100 chefs associations representing chefs at all levels and across all specialties worldwide.”

Did You Know?

Auguste Escoffier was the first Honorary President of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies.

WACS has four core focus areas: education, networking, competition, and humanitarian & sustainability. The first area recognizes culinary education programs across the globe and issues the world’s first global culinary certification. The networking focus area offers networking opportunities for culinarians across the industry and hosts the biennial Worldchefs Congress & Expo.

As part of the competition focus area, WACS maintains a list of certified culinary judges and “sets global standards for competition rules.” The organization also hosts the Global Chefs Challenge, which brings together chefs from all over the world to compete in cooking a variety of different cuisines to prove their mastery of the kitchen. Within this prestigious competition, there are three categories that chefs can compete in: the Global Chefs Challenge, the Global Pastry Chefs Challenge, and the Global Young Chefs Challenge.

Chefs working in a professional kitchen with a grater

Finally, the focus area of humanitarian & sustainability seeks to alleviate poverty and food insecurity, offer crisis support, and promote sustainability. It includes Feed the Planet, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable food system, as well as World Chefs Without Borders, a humanitarian aid initiative to provide relief services to those affected by natural disasters.

Benefits of WACS

There are a variety of benefits that the World Association of Chefs’ Societies offers, depending on your needs and interests.

Find Resources for Your Education and Professional Development

The Worldchefs Recognition of Quality Culinary Education program recognizes Global Educational Partners, representing over 100 culinary schools and training programs, including Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts’ Boulder campus. Being part of this network offers culinary schools a seal of approval, verifying that they are skillfully preparing the next generation of culinarians.

The Global Hospitality Certification is for hospitality professionals. It provides a digital badge showing potential employers that you’ve gained a certain set of skills and knowledge and can differentiate you in the industry.

Restaurant manager stands in front of the bar holding a notebook

Participate in Culinary Competitions

WACS offers competition seminars for those who want to compete in culinary competitions. These educational seminars equip ambitious chefs to show off their skills in the kitchen. They span a variety of different areas like Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, Carving, Community Kitchen, and Vegan/Plant-Based, each one giving invaluable guidance on the nitty-gritty of competition rules as well as what judges are looking for.

The Global Chefs Challenge is hosted by WACS itself. This is a highly respected competition for chefs to compete and win the title of World’s Best Chef. There are multiple qualifying rounds before the final award is announced.

Join a Community That Fits Your Interests and Lifestyle

While WACS is a global community of passionate culinarians, within it exist smaller sub-communities. These can help chefs find like-minded people in the industry to network with. For example, the Young Chefs Club is an “educational mentoring forum to engage and promote friendship” among young chefs the world over. Communities like these offer outlets for culinarians with similar interests.

And available to everyone are the many educational resources, including the WACS blog, podcast, and magazine, which all help chefs stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends.

Why Should You Consider Joining?

You can participate in any facet of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies by registering for it independently. While there is no individual membership, you can create a free account on the website and then engage with whatever focus areas interest or excite you. For organizations, there is the option to get a culinary association membership.

Diverse-smiling-male-and-female-cooks-and-chefs-with-striped-aprons

New culinary students can gain valuable experience with WACS through entering competitions and participating in networking opportunities. And Escoffier graduates can find beneficial professional development opportunities through the organization’s many initiatives and industry-related resources.

If you’re interested in joining the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, you can contact them for more information.

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