Anthony Anobile and Sara Feltz smile for a photo in their chefs coats while standing in one of Pierpont's industrial kitchens.


Fairmont, WV – Two of Pierpont Community and Technical College’s culinary instructors – Sara Feltz and Anthony Anobile – have passed their Certified Executive Chef® (CEC®) exams to earn certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

To apply to become a CEC®, individuals must have at least five years of experience as a chef de cuisine, executive sous chef, or chef in charge of food production. Additionally, candidates are required to have supervisory experience and complete 30 hours of courses in nutrition, food safety management, supervisory management, beverage management, and cost control management. An associate degree in culinary arts or equivalent is also required.

The certification process consists of both written and practical exams. The three-hour practical exam tests individuals in safety and sanitation skills, organization, craftsmanship, and finished product skills. Pierpont’s duo traveled to West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling to complete their exams.

For Feltz and Anobile, preparation for the certification began months in advance. “The first couple of weeks were spent coming up with ideas and recipes for the menu, as well as charting a task list and timeline,” said Anobile. “The last couple of weeks were spent practicing the recipes in the kitchen and making changes and adaptations along the way.”

The team credits coworkers, mentors, and loved ones for their support during the extensive preparation period. “My predecessor Chef Jay Mahoney came to watch me practice, give advice, and offer other helpful tips throughout the process,” said Feltz. “Also, my husband Jimmy was the most supportive during all of this.”

“We had help from many at Pierpont’s Culinary Academy, as well as some outside chefs to assist with tasting, critiquing, and advising on our food and procedures,” added Anobile. “That help was much appreciated and a key part of our success.”

During their practical exams, Feltz and Anobile were provided market baskets consisting of fish, lobster, chicken, Swiss chard, a bitter leaf variety, and an artichoke, sunchoke, or plantain, among other fresh ingredients. Each chef had to prepare a three-course meal consisting of an appetizer, salad, and entrée and demonstrate technical ability in classic vegetable cuts, cooking methods, vinaigrette emulsification, and sauce crafting. A panel of evaluators monitored for technique and critiqued the flavor and presentation of each of the dishes.

Earning a CEC® certification fulfilled both personal and professional goals for Feltz and Anobile. “This level of achievement means the world,” said Feltz. “It is something I have wanted to do since I began cooking professionally and have been surrounded by so many great chefs who were at that level. Now teaching in the industry, it was imperative for me, my students, and [Pierpont] to certify at a higher level.”

“Becoming a CEC® was a personal challenge to push myself and become better as a chef, instructor, and professional,” said Anobile. “Certifications such as these let our students know that their instructors are knowledgeable and skilled and that Pierpont and the food service management program strive to set the industry standard of excellence.”

That standard of excellence has led Pierpont’s Culinary Academy to rank nationally as a premier home for culinary arts, nutrition and dietetic technology, and pastry and baking arts programs. In 2023, the program expanded into a new 10,000-square-foot facility housed within Middletown Commons in Whitehall. The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with two full-scale industrial kitchens, classroom and dining room spaces, faculty offices, and more.

In addition to providing students with real-world training and experiences while completing their programs, Feltz stresses the role of faculty in positioning themselves as guides for their students as they develop their skills.

“I know our students look up to me as a mentor and role model, so I always need to push myself to be the best for me and for them,” she said. Anobile adds that earning certifications such as the CEC® shows students that there are no limits to what they can achieve at Pierpont and beyond.

Students in the program graduate with the qualifications to pursue a range of certifying exams through the ACF, such as the Certified Culinarian® exam. Certifications provide opportunities for advancement and networking for chefs in all stages of their professional careers

To learn more about Pierpont’s Culinary Academy, click here.