Culinary Arts Apprenticeship at Colorado Mountain College
Get experience in four-diamond restaurants while earning your degree
Follow your passion in the culinary arts and enjoy Rocky Mountain recreation with the culinary apprenticeship program at Colorado Mountain College.
Our program combines a traditional American Culinary Federation apprenticeship with an Associate of Applied Science degree curriculum all offered in one of the most spectacular locations in Colorado. Get the experience and education you need here to take you where you want to go.
World Class Experience
While attending the culinary apprenticeship program you will be working at Keystone Resort, a member of the Vail Resorts family of Resorts. You will have the opportunity to work in up to six different restaurants over the course of the program, gaining real world experience that will build the solid foundation that you need for a successful career. Many of your rotations will be in four-diamond restaurants, ranked among the best.
When you graduate from the program your resume will have full service hotel, large scale banquet, quick serve, and fine dining experience. We also offer classes in ice carving.
World Class Location
Nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, 75 miles west of Denver, Summit County has earned the reputation as a world-class winter and summer destination. During winter snowboarders and skiers may choose from eight different mountains at Keystone, Breckenridge, and Arapahoe Basin. When the snow melts, Summit County becomes an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
World Travel and more
We have a very successful culinary competition program. Our student teams have earned the state championship multiple times and have competed at the American Culinary Federation regional championships.
We offer international culinary tours approximately once every three year so that every student has the opportunity to experience international cuisine and travel first hand. Our students have participated in culinary focused trips to:
COSI Culinary Scholarship
A limited number of Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Grants (COSI) for students in the Breckenridge Culinary Arts Apprenticeship program are available.
There are at least 10 grants of $6,500 for 2018.
FAQ - CMC Culinary Arts Apprenticeship program
“It was the most rewarding experience of my life. This is the real world. The other school I attended just kind of simulated it. This program gave me 100% confidence because I was doing the work on a daily basis. The Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute at Keystone provides an ideal environment for aspiring culinarians. The three-year apprenticeship equips passionate culinarians with the confidence to succeed in an aggressive and competitive industry.”
Eric Watson and his wife, Sara, another CMCCI graduate, own and operate Mezzaluna in Fargo, named best restaurant in North Dakota by msn.com and OpenTable.
“My experience at the Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute was extremely challenging yet rewarding. The three years of hands-on training in a variety of kitchens provided me with the skills necessary to move forward in the kitchen and discover my own creativity. I learned the business end of the industry, from bookkeeping and keeping track of profit margins to marketing. Without this knowledge, our business would not be nearly as successful as it is today.”
Sara Watson is co-owner of Mezzaluna in Fargo, named best restaurant in North Dakota by msn.com and OpenTable. She manages the restaurant with her husband, Eric, another graduate.
“Without the CMC program, I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. It is not only an honor but it is a pretty big privilege to be at this level at such a young age and so fresh out of college.”
Steve Nguyen is the Executive Chef of Hospitality the Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colorado.
“Colorado Mountain College and Chef Kevin Clarke instilled in me the importance of foundation. There is no better foundation that I could have built my career upon than the one I received and experienced at Colorado Mountain College.” A Colorado native, Chef Charles MacDonald graduated as Colorado’s student culinarian of the year for 2007. Working with The PlimothOwner/Executive Chef Peter Ryan, Chef Charles crafts some of Denver’s best French cuisine. Formerly a Sous Chef at Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Chef Charles’ approach to cooking is first and foremost traditional, but with contemporary presentations and techniques. Charles MacDonald, Executive Chef, The Plimoth Restaurant, Denver
CMC culinary graduate A.J. Fazendin launches Prescribed Spirits in Broward County, Florida. He’s custom distilling gin and breaking ground with an entrepreneurship partnership. An excellent martini gin, his recipe blends herbs and botanicals. He said it’s very fragrant, smooth and without overpowering juniper flavor.
“I started out at the [Keystone] Ski Tip as executive chef in ’04, and 11 years later, we were recognized nationally for creating consistent, upscale cuisine. With the Open Table award, last year we made the top 100 list, and we felt like our hard work had finally been recognized. This year , this time around, being named sixth best restaurant in the country goes to show that consistency in product and a quality staff in the front and the back of the house — the majority of whom come from Colorado Mountain College’s culinary program — make a real difference.”
Brain Baker, Chef/Owner, Watershed Café, Leavenworth, WA (locally sourced – farm to table, Pacific north west cuisine)
“The culinary apprentice program at Colorado Mountain College was the perfect start to my career in the hospitality industry. It furnished me with the tools to become the Executive Chef of the award-winning Ski Tip Lodge and go on to owning my business as a personal chef in House Cured Culinary. You, too, can jump start your culinary career with the Colorado Mountain College Keystone Culinary Institute.”
Kevin McCombs, House Cured Culinary/Owner/Executive Chef, Dillon, Colorado
“My education at CMC has helped me in my career because of the three years of true kitchen experience. Not only was I introduced to all of the elements of classic cuisine, but I also was able to apply my classroom education in kitchens around the resort on a daily basis. When I graduated I was ready to step into any kitchen I wanted to. The chefs at Keystone helped mold me into the professional I am today.
Awards/Accolades: 2014 Zagat 30 under 30; 2015 Prince of porc Winner Dever Cochon 555/Competitor Grand Cochon; 5280 Magazine Best New Restaurants 2015; Best New Restaurant 2015 Westword; 5280 Magazine Best Restaurants 2015 #3; Ten Coolest Train Station Restaurants in the World – Travel & Leisure Magazine.
Matt Vawter, Chef de Cuisine/Proprietor, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Denver.