More Reality House Clients Earn American Culinary Federation Certifications

By: SMA Behavioral Healthcare
Reality House Clients have now earned 18 certifications in Daytona Beach.
Reality House Clients have now earned 18 certifications in Daytona Beach.
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Stewart Marchman
Reality House
Daytona treatment


Daytona Beach - Florida - US


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - June 6, 2015 - PRLog -- SMA Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. (SMA) is pleased to announce that four more Reality House clients, inmates serving the remaining part of their sentence, have successfully completed the written and practical exams for their American Culinary Federation Certification and have earned their culinary certifications, bringing the total to 18 certifications in less than a year and a half.

“We now have 16 Certified Culinarian® graduates, one Certified Pastry Culinarian® (CPC), and one Certified Executive Pastry Chef,” said Executive Chef/Culinary Instructor Chef Kirk Kief CEC, CPC. The client that earned his CPC just entered the Work Release Program and is employed in Daytona Beach. Ryan Stanley CEPC, CC, the Certified Executive Pastry Chef, is employed with a Central Florida Fine Dining restaurant and was recently promoted to Executive Sous Chef. There are less than 400 CEPC’s in the nation. Another graduate, John Riesett CC,was also recently promoted into management for a top level restaurant in Orange county. There is also another graduate that is restaurant manager at a facility in Oklahoma, and three others that are successfully employed in the Daytona Beach area.

Reality House’s culinary arts vocational curriculum was designed and is overseen by the University of Florida. Instruction is provided by Chef Kirk Kief, CEC, CPC. Classroom elements include all educational components required for American Culinary Federation certification; while the real world laboratory in the Reality House kitchen develops the competencies required to work professionally in the food service industry. Students go to class and operate the facility kitchen and dining services. They prepare up to 1300 plates a day serving Reality House and eight off-premise locations.

The culinary curriculum was designed to enable the students to become eligible for ACF certification. Some of these men have restaurant experience prior to their incarceration, while others had food service experience while in prison. Reality House provides the coursework necessary for pre-certification, assists students in the submission of certification packets, and proctors the written and practical exams. AT&T Telephone Pioneers, Gordon Food Service, Cheney Brothers, US Food Service, and the ACF Chefs and Cooks Association have all contributed funds to support the culinary program.

There are a number of obstacles to operating a culinary program in a correctional environment. A special Thank You to Tomoka Correctional Institute for their guidance and cooperation in making this program available. The Tomoka Correctional Institute and the Department of Correction’s assistance and support has been invaluable to the continued success of this program. When the practical exam is administered, there has to be three Approved Culinary Evaluators (A.C.E.) present, which means that three Chefs need to travel to Reality House for this event. They travel from their restaurants, schools, etc., from as far away as Orlando, Leesburg, and Jacksonville. This is all voluntary service by the evaluators.  The ACF evaluators also had to have background checks and clearance before being allowed on premises to evaluate the practical exams. The Floor Supervisor for the Reality House kitchen, John Kent CC,CPC, serves as the ACF Exam Administrator to be sure that all required paper work is accurately recorded and submitted to the ACF.  And finally, there is the cost. It’s approximately $260 per person to certify so they are constantly looking for sponsorships and grants.

In spite of the past obstacles, graduates leave Reality House with their ACF certification, self-pride, and the knowledge and skills to be on any kitchen team in the country. They also have the ACF as a network to help them network and continue their certifications if desired.

About Reality House
Reality House is a component of the Residential Services Division of Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare. The program is licensed as a Level II Residential Facility by the Department of Children and Families and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF) as a Therapeutic Community (TC) for Criminal Justice. The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) recognized Reality House as a “Best Practice” in 2001, and CARF designated Reality House as an “Exemplary Program” in 2007.

They provide inmates nearing end of their sentence with substance abuse treatment, vocational training, and job placement assistance as they prepare to re-enter the community. Reality House includes 145 treatment beds and 28 work release beds. It is the only addictions treatment program of its kind in Florida housing inmates offered in a freestanding environment, outside the walls of a prison. Milieu therapy and social learning theory provide the clinical foundations for the clients’ recovery process. Duration of the residential phase of the program is nine to twelve months depending upon client’s clinical progress and criminal justice status.

About SMA Behavioral Healthcare
SMA Behavioral Healthcare has been serving the northeast Florida community with mental health and drug treatment services for over 50 years.  SMA provides more than 35 mental health and substance abuse programs, providing prevention, diversion, intervention, and treatment services, delivered to diverse client populations Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, and Volusia counties.

SMA Behavioral Healthcare’s mission is to deliver exceptional and comprehensive behavioral healthcare to individuals and families in our community. SMA’s vision is of a community where addiction and mental illness are treated promptly, comprehensively and with respect for all. Contact SMA at 800-539-4228 or online at or stay connected on Facebook at

Pictured: Photo 1 from L to R: John Kent CC,CPC Practical Exam Administrator, Christian Markussen CEC, CCE, David Bearl CCE, CCC, AAC , Ryan Stanley CEPC,CC (Client), Roy Clanton CC(Client), Roberta Clare CEC, Kirk Kief CEC, CPC Executive Chef/Culinary Instructor

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Tags:Sma, Stewart Marchman, Reality House, Daytona treatment
Industry:Food, Health
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Page Updated Last on: Jun 06, 2015
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