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I took the Basic Chef Fluency test (the first one toward Chef certification) a few months ago now, so I wanted to share what I thought about it and a study guide which lot of people have asked about.

So first off, you pay for it then schedule it, and you can take it remotely. You should sign in a little early to get set up. You’ll have access to a proctor to whom you communicate through instant message. That person will screen share with you, ensuring that all other windows are closed. They’ll also have a stream of your camera, so they’ll have you do a scan of your room, so make sure you’re in a room with no notes around (i.e. I removed my bulletin board from the wall). Another note, my screen froze up, and I panicked a little, but it unfroze and no time was given back to me. Just be aware that could happen. It sucks, but whatever.

The test was pretty easy if you’re familiar with the stuff on the study guide. Obviously, right? So if you’re not familiar with the stuff in this study guide, then don’t take the test until you are. There’s not a lab portion of this test, just 40 questions and 60 minutes to answer them. The types of questions that I remember most were Kitchen and InSpec, so brush up if you need to.

While there are a lot of courses out there, there’s little in the way of a simple study guide. Chef has a pdf of the things that you need to know for the exam, and when I was studying for the exam, I wrote out bullets for each of those points. And now I’m sharing them with you!

I’ve created this BASIC CHEF FLUENCY STUDY GUIDE repo, and it’s meant for community consumption, so please…consume!

The README has instructions on how to use the guide, but it’s pretty simple. There are three files in the guide:

Basic Chef Fluency Study Sheet

This is meant to study the concepts outlined in the scope PDF by Chef. You can even print it out and mark everything with which you’re not familiar so that you can just focus on those things.

Basic Chef Fluency Kata

This is an exercise guide meant for daily use. This guide is most effective for those that are not currently using Chef in their daily practice or are just starting in Chef. It will give you a comfort with Chef enough for navigating the topics of the exam.

In your kata, you will practice:

  • creating different types of resources
  • creating and using data bags
  • using Test Kitchen
  • creating custom resources
  • bootstrapping nodes
  • performing searches
  • creating run-lists, roles, and environments
  • and more!

Basic Chef Fluency Kata Cheat Sheet

This is used in conjunction with the Basic Chef Fluency Kata. If you are uncertain about how to carry out an exercise, then you can consult the cheat sheet. As I did the kata, I took notes on anything that stumped me or that I didn’t want to have to look up every time.

If you have improvements that can be made to this guide, please submit a pull request or issue!

Also, be on the lookout for more guides for the other tests! Local Cookbook Development is coming up next!

Good luck on your exam!

Edited to add: Local Cookbook Development is up!!!! It doesn’t contain a kata, so I’m not doing a full write-up about it - just a straight study sheet. Enjoy!

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Annie Hedgpeth



Annie Hedgpeth

DevOps Engineer committed to growth and community

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