Originally published Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 03:16p.m.

SEDONA – Jennifer Jackson, lead faculty member at the Yavapai College Culinary Institute of Sedona, is nearing the pinnacle of educational honors in her profession.

Jackson recently became one of fewer than 20 people annually to earn a prestigious Level II Chef Rating from the Culinary Institute of America, the world’s premier culinary college.

Level II is equivalent to a master’s degree in the culinary industry.

The rating is bestowed only on students who apply and are accepted to the Institute and who complete four days of rigorous examination and kitchen practice.

Dr. James Perey, Yavapai College Executive Dean and Campus Executive Officer of the Verde Valley campus, expressed pride in Jackson’s accomplishment.

“Testing occurs only twice a year and the success rate is only 70 percent,” he said.

Jackson, who teaches high school and adult students at the Sedona center, described the Level II yearlong preparation and examination process as “physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting.”

She said she was relieved and thankful when it was over.

“Going through such rigor to achieve this level of certification will make me a better instructor on many levels,” Jackson added.

“My biggest lesson was to show compassion for students and to acknowledge their individual strengths. As an instructor, I do not want to lose that piece of making a difference in the lives of young people.”

Jackson said she’s not planning to seek a Level III Chef rating anytime soon. “There are only a handful of chefs in this country with a Pro Chef III. I may or may not be in that category. Only time will tell.”

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