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Professional Associations

Professional Associations

Membership in a culinary association can help with networking, which is one of the best ways to find a job. Some groups also offer student scholarships. Here are a dozen professional associations. Click to learn about the ones that interest you.

American Culinary Federation
American Institute of Wine and Food
The Bread Bakers Guild of America
Club Managers Association of America
International Association of Culinary Professionals
International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education
James Beard Foundation
Les Dames D’Escoffier
National Restaurant Association
School Nutrition Association
Society for Foodservice Management
Women Chefs and Restaurateurs

American Culinary Federation (ACF)
ACF is a non-profit organization for chefs. It was founded in 1929 in New York City. The group works to promote a professional image of American chefs worldwide. Its focus is education, apprenticeship, and certification. There are more than 230 chapters and some 20,000 members in the U.S.

American Institute of Wine and Food (AIFW)
AIFW is a non-profit educational organization with membership open to all. It was founded by chef Julia Child, winemaker Robert Mondavi, and others to improve understanding and appreciation of fine food and drink. AIFW encourages the exchange of information and ideas through conferences, publications, and chapter programs.

The Bread Bakers Guild of America
The Guild is a non-profit group of professional bakers, baking educators, home bakers, and ingredients and equipment suppliers. The Guild’s goals are to support education and training of young bakers, communication between group members, professionalism, and recognition of excellence. Discounted student memberships are available.

Club Manager’s Association of America (CMAA)
This is a professional association for managers of membership clubs. It has nearly 7,000 members who run country clubs, golf clubs, athletic clubs, military clubs, and other types of private clubs. CMAA provides career services, student scholarships, grants, and more.

International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP)
The IACP is a non-profit association that works as a resource for food professionals around the world. The association provides educational opportunities for its members. There is a Career Center with job listings.

The International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (CHRIE)
CHRIE was founded in 1946 as a non-profit association for those involved in educating employees for the foodservice and hospitality industry. Members are schools, colleges, and universities that offer programs in hotel and restaurant management, foodservice management, and culinary arts. Check out the “Just for Students” pages. There is information on the HcareersCampus, a hospitality careers job database.

James Beard Foundation (JBF)
JBF is based in New York City. It is located in the former home of the famous chef and cookbook author, James Beard. JBF provides a variety of education programs and scholarships. Student memberships are available.

Les Dames D’Escoffier (EDEI)
LDEI is an organization of professional women who are leaders in the field. Members include chefs, restaurant owners, cookbook authors, food writers and publicists, wine professionals, culinary educators, and hospitality executives. There are currently 26 chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Check the website for the locations.

National Restaurant Association
The National Restaurant Association is a business association for the restaurant industry. Members include restaurant owners, suppliers, and educators. Full-time culinary students age 18 and older may also join. There is a wealth of career advice on the association’s website.

School Nutrition Association (SNA)
SNA was first called the American School Food Service Association. This group was founded in 1946, when the school lunch program was started nationwide. It has some 55,000 members who are school food-service workers. SNA supports food-service professionals. It also promotes the well-being of children through nutrition programs.

Society for Foodservice Management (SFM)
SFM is an association for employees of the onsite foodservice industry. Members work in facilities like company cafeterias and college dining halls. There is job board on the SFM website.

Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR)
WCR supports women in the field. It focuses on education and helping women advance in the industry. It was founded in 1993 by eight top women chefs and restaurant owners. Check WCR website for information on membership, scholarships, and job listings.


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