Clark College Kitchens to Host Two National Certification Tests

For Immediate Release 
 October 16, 2023 

For additional information (media inquiries & photo requests):  
Maureen Chan-Hefflin, Communications & Marketing  
T: 360-992-2243 E:  

Retail Bakers of America tests are Oct. 21-22; American Culinary Federation test is Oct. 28

VANCOUVER, Wash.  Clark College’s Tod & Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute will open both its baking and cuisine kitchens to host two national exams for professional bakers and professional chefs in October. 

Clark’s baking kitchens host Retail Bakers of America (RBA) tests Oct. 21-22

A display of various pastries made by Professional Baking and Pastry Arts students at a student showcase

The college’s Professional Baking and Pastry Arts program will host the Retail Bakers of America’s certified baker and certified master baker practical tests Oct. 21 and 22. This is the first time Clark has hosted the tests.

“Clark College is honored and excited to host Retail Bakers of America to our campus kitchen,” said Alison Dolder, professional baking and pastry arts instructor who leads Clark’s program. “We have a large viewing window in our kitchen, so anyone can come and watch the test.”

Clark College is one of only three RBA testing sites scheduled during this academic year. It’s the only West Coast testing site. Dolder worked with Marissa Velie, RBA certification and education director, to bring the national tests to the college’s baking kitchens. 

“The RBA is always looking for great test sites across the country,” Velie said. “It was time for us to visit the West Coast and give bakers in that part of the country the opportunity to get certified. Having the exam at Clark College has been a long time in the making. We are excited to finally make it a reality.” 

A display of sweet desserts made by a Professional Baking and Pastry Arts student at a student showcase

The certification program verifies professional competency in the baking industry. The RBA has three levels of baking certification: certified journey baker, certified baker and certified master baker. The test is open to any professional baker in the U.S. who qualifies to take the exam. 

For the Certified Master Baker exam that will be administered at Clark College, bakers must have at least 10 years of industry experience and must pass a 200-question written exam before they can take the practical test. Velie will travel to Clark’s campus to administer the practical tests, which will entail 8 hours of production on each day.

The judges are certified master baker professionals, Collette Christian from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and Lee Ann Adams from Sheetz in Claysburg, Penn. Test results will be provided to candidates immediately following the exam.

Every Clark College student enrolled in the Professional Baking and Pastry Arts program takes RBA’s certified journey exam as part of the curriculum expectations. 

“This is a great opportunity for our students to observe experienced bakers go through the rigorous process of the certified master baker exam,” Dolder said. “Someday, it could be them.”

Clark’s cuisine kitchens host American Culinary Federation (ACF) practical exam Oct. 28

A week after the baking tests, Clark’s cuisine kitchens host the American Culinary Federation’s practical exam for professional chefs working toward their certified executive chef certification. Testing will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 in the cuisine kitchens inside McClaskey Culinary Institute.

The exam includes 3 hours of prep and cooking and 15 minutes at the end for chefs to present their required dishes. During the exam, each chef must prepare two plates each of a fish course, a salad course and an entrée course. Areas evaluated include fabrication skills breaking down fish, chicken and lobster, proper cooking techniques, safety and sanitation, timing, station and product management and appealing plating.

McClaskey Culinary Institute's bustling kitchen full of culinary students during one of the certification tests

The college’s chef-instructors Earl Frederick and Aaron Guerra are practical exam evaluators and test administrators. Frederick will administer the exam. Guerra and two ACF-certified guest chefs will evaluate the results.  

Clark College cuisine management instructor Chef James “Sonny” Demartini will take this practical exam, which is geared for professional chefs. 

Unlike the baking kitchens, the cuisine kitchens do not have an observation window. Both the college community and the public are welcome to observe quietly.

Chef Aaron Guerra, a Clark College cuisine management professor, said, “We ask that anyone observing give the candidates plenty of space and not engage them while they are testing. We especially welcome students so they can see the process that we hope they eventually will attempt this exam.” 

The college’s current cuisine management students will take the AFC’s certified culinarian exam later in the academic year.

About Clark College’s professional baking and pastry arts and cuisine management programs

Clark College has offered professional baking and cuisine management education for more than 60 years. The college’s professional baking and cuisine management program offers a certificate of achievement in baking and pastry arts fundamentals (nine-month program) and an associate in applied technology degree in professional baking and pastry arts management (two-year program). Learn more about the Professional Baking and Pastry Arts program.

The college’s cuisine management program offers certificate of achievement in cuisine fundamentals (nine-month program) and an associate in applied technology degree in cuisine management (two-year program). Learn more about the Cuisine Management program. 

About Clark College

Founded in 1933 and celebrating its 90th year, Clark College provides residents of Southwest Washington with affordable, high-quality academic and technical education. It is a public community college offering more than 100 degree and certificate programs, including bachelor’s and associate degrees; professional certificates; high school diplomas and GED preparation; and non-credit community and continuing education. Clark serves a wide range of students including high school students, displaced workers, veterans, parents, non-native English speakers, and mature learners. Approximately three-quarters of its students are in the first generation of their families to attend college. 

About Retail Bakers of America

Retail Bakers of America, a not-for-profit trade association, is committed to the success of the retail baking industry. Its certification program is recognized throughout the industry as a standard for excellence in skills and knowledge. Learn more about RBA Certification.

About American Culinary Federation

American Culinary Federation is the largest professional chefs’ organization in North America. It is the leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeships, competitions, and accreditation. ACF operates the most comprehensive culinary certification program in the world. Learn more about ACF Certification.