MATC’s Pastry Arts Instructor Certified as an Executive Pastry Chef by the American Culinary Federation (ACF)
Tom LaPierre, a pastry-arts instructor from Milwaukee Area Technical College, earned his ACF credential as a Certified Executive Pastry Chef earlier this year. LaPierre is the fifth person from Wisconsin to achieve this certification.
According to the American Culinary Federation website, “The Executive Pastry Chef certification is designed to identify those pastry chefs who have demonstrated a level of culinary competence and expertise through their education, work experience, culinary knowledge and skills that is consistent with the executive pastry chef level.”
LaPierre began thinking about taking the Certified Executive Pastry Chef exam in 2011 and started preparing for it the following year. He studied extensively for six months before taking the two part test. The first part is a 90 minute written exam that tests culinary knowledge and the second part is a practical exam.
“I considered the Executive Pastry Chef certification an opportunity for personal and professional growth,” said LaPierre. “I felt I had reached a certain level of knowledge and expertise in my career and I wanted to be validated by my peers. I also wanted to be a role model to my students and show them that no matter what you have learned you can always achieve more.”
LaPierre enjoys teaching the Chocolate, Sugar, & Confections Class to students pursuing associate degrees in baking and pastry arts. “I especially like teaching techniques using chocolate and cocoa butter. Students end up creating chocolate showpieces that they are very proud of.” LaPierre finds teaching a very rewarding experience. He has been teaching at MATC for four years and prior to that taught for one year at Nicolet Area Technical College in Rhinelander, WI.
When asked if he has any advice for students that are just starting out with their baking education, LaPierre said, “The field of baking and pastry is a wonderfully creative field that requires a mastery of both the art and science of baking. If you want to excel in this field you need to take it very seriously and be extremely dedicated. Try to find mentors who have a lot of valuable information that they can teach you. Realize that there is never a time when you will stop learning and nobody knows everything.”
LaPierre, attended the Culinary School of Kendall College with the idea of becoming a traditional culinary chef. After graduation, he worked as a chef in several restaurants and hotels before taking a job in a bakery. “I finally felt I had found my true calling,” said Lapierre. “After that, I continued working in the field of baking and pastry arts while simultaneously taking continuing education courses from industry experts.”
His achievements include having a cake featured in American Cake Decorating Magazine and working as the Executive Pastry at several high-end resorts. “I am especially proud of my American Culinary Federation Certification as a Certified Executive Pastry Chef,” LaPierre added. LaPierre plans to continue to teach pastry arts at Milwaukee Area Technical College like he has over the past several years. “Having this certification gives me an additional level of confidence in my skills and abilities,” said LaPierre.
For more information about becoming a Certified Executive Pastry Chef, please visit this ACF web page: http://www.acfchefs.org/ACF/Certify/Levels/CEPC/ACF/Certify/Levels/CEPC/
For information about MATC’s Baking and Pastry Arts program, please visit: http://www.matc.edu/business/degrees/baking-pastry-arts.cfm