keystone supervising chefs at james beard house

The Keystone Chefs at the James Beard House, New York, New York, left to right: Kevin Clarke, Chris Brinkman, Scott Radek, David Scott, Matthew Montgomery, Steve Vlass. Front row: Steve Nguyen, Eric Hall, Brian Baker, Richard Schneider, Jason Kassib. Not pictured: Aaron Taylor.

Culinary Apprenticeship Faculty at Colorado Mountain College

Academic credentials and extensive experience at resort restaurants are the keystones of this culinary school in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Photo of Colorado Mountain Culinary Institute Director Kevin Clark with students.Kevin Clarke
Director of the Colorado Mountain Culinary Institute at Keystone

Kevin Clarke is a 1996 graduate of Colorado Mountain College’s first Culinary Arts class and has been the director of the Keystone program since 2000. He has been involved in the food and beverage industry for over twenty years with experience ranging from being the chef of a white water rafting company to the Chef de Cuisine for the historic Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone, Colorado.

Kevin has been actively involved in culinary competitions for the past fifteen years and acts the coach for the student competition team at Keystone, leading them to several state championships.

In addition to his culinary background, Kevin holds a BS in Business Administration and a JD, both from the University of Colorado.

Kevin urges culinary candidates to seriously consider Colorado Mountain College when looking for a respected program that can translate into a five-star career:

“Colorado Mountain College’s apprenticeship program is so unique and powerful because it gives students the advantage of having three years of work experience while in training. Other schools’ programs are primarily based on classroom lectures, so their students lack real world experience and experience combined with education is what will get you the job you are looking for.”

When he’s not cooking and teaching, Clarke is busy being husband and father. His wife Claire and their two daughters enjoy all that Colorado living has to offer, including skiing, biking, hiking and raising the family’s Arabian horses.

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Chef Aaron Taylor
Executive Chef, Keystone Ranch, Keystone Resort, Keystone, Colorado

Aaron started cooking at the age of 14 in fast food restaurants and now prepares truffles imported from France and local Colorado elk. Like many accomplished chefs, his education has been both formal and informal with the additional edge of growing up in the business. At the age of 18, Aaron was running the kitchen of his family’s Hungarian restaurant. Soon after graduating from Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, he started to make his mark in the culinary world.

He worked at the Peaks at Telluride, Morada Bay in Florida, Cheeca Lodge in Florida and eventually started at the award winning Keystone Ranch as the Sous Chef. Two months later the executive chef left to start his own restaurant, and Aaron, the young rising super star was handed the reins of Keystone Ranch Restaurant.

Chef Aaron was ready for the executive chef role, handling the pressure and even surpassing the high standards of the Ranch. “This is one of the most consistently excellent restaurants in the business,” Taylor says. “Every day you have to expect perfection. Our guests expect it.”

One of Chef Taylor’s trademarks is fresh ingredients. He imports fish from Hawaii and has established relationships with Colorado farmers and ranchers for the freshest greens, fruits and meats. His culinary excellence honors the Ranch heritage and continues to serve up industry accolades.

Keystone Ranch Accolades:

Zagat Survey, Top-rated Restaurant 2002-2005
AAA Four Diamond Rated Restaurant for every year since 1987
DiRoNa Award every year since 1990
The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 1996- 2003
The Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence 2004-2006

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Chef Brian Baker
Executive Chef, Ski Tip Lodge, Keystone Resort, Keystone, Colorado

For Chef Baker the kitchen has been a classroom since he was fourteen; learning from many inspiring chefs, restaurant owners and industry staff. His passion for the culinary arts and the service industry led him to the Keystone campus of Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute where he graduated. Within a few years he became Executive Chef at Ski Tip Lodge.

Ski Tip Lodge is an alpine treasure as Colorado’s first ski lodge and former stagecoach stop in the 1880’s. The venue is one-of-a kind so the culinary experience demands the same approach. Brian says, “The kitchen is the stage and the guest is the audience expecting an outstanding performance.”

He offers Continental American fusion cuisine with French techniques and influences prepared with the finest ingredients available. By researching current trends, appreciating classical foundations, and experimenting with new combinations, Brian keeps the menu fresh, seasonal and exciting for the guest.

Ski Tip Accolades

The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2005-2007
5280 Magazine: Best Place to Pop the Question

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Dave Scott
Executive Chef, Keystone Resort, Outpost Restaurants

David Scott’s career in the culinary arts has taken him to across the globe to the hippest cities and the exotic south of France, yet he ultimately chose to settle down in Keystone, Colorado. “I landed in Denver and drove up in a rented car. Passing Lake Dillon on my way to Keystone, I just fell in love with the place,” says Scott. Almost six years later, Scott still calls Keystone home – quite a feat for the globetrotting chef.

Scott was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, brought up in a high-energy household with 5 older siblings and his mother’s plentiful home cooking. He became interested in cooking at a young age, and it began to take shape as a career path while in his early teens – Scott worked in food service at the famed Hollywood Bowl Concert Amphitheater. He went on to take positions at high-profile establishments such as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s restaurant Shatzi on Main and Pinot Bistro in Studio City.

David Scott’s formal culinary education took place at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. He completed a one-year externship in Washington D.C.’s Citronelle working under Michel Richard. Scott graduated at the top of his class and accepted an offer to stay at the CIA, teaching in the acclaimed French restaurant Escofier as a culinary fellow. The CIA continued to foster his growth in food arts by sending him to the south of France to work under Roger Verge at Moulin de Mougin. After three years he returned to the states to work at Restaurant Daniel in New York City.

Dave eventually returned to his hometown to work at the Peninsula Hotel, which was at the time the only five-star, five-diamond hotel in Los Angeles. He soon looked to move away from the ever-growing city and began interviewing in Maui – but plans changed as soon as he got a call from Keystone Resort in 2001. Chef Scott joined Vail Resorts as the Executive Chef of the four-diamond Keystone Lodge, overseeing banquets, weddings, and all hotel food and beverage outlets.

Currently, Chef Scott is the Executive Chef at the Outpost at Keystone Resort. He oversees Keystone’s Outpost restaurants, including the four-diamond rated Alpenglow Stube and the family-oriented Der Fondue Chessel. When he’s not wowing guests in the dining room, Dave enjoys skiing and entertaining.

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Scott Radek,
Executive Chef, The Bighorn Steakhouse, Keystone, Colorado

Radek’s schooling came from thirteen years of heated kitchen experience. He worked as Executive Chef for Keystone Lodge & Spa in the early 90’s, then as a seasonal chef in Bear Valley, California, and as Executive Chef of Pesce Fresco Restaurant at Copper Mountain. From there he moved to Taos, New Mexico, to serve as Executive Chef at Doc Martin’s Restaurant and also Chef de Cuisine at El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa. Finally, he returned to his roots in Keystone. It’s here that he now helps budding chefs garner on-the-job training experience through Colorado Mountain College’s three-year Culinary Apprenticeship Program. “Two-thirds of my staff members are apprentices working full-time in the kitchen, while taking classes and doing their homework. When you graduate from CMC, you have what it takes to be a chef, in my opinion, it’s not just theory.

”I love the creative aspect. Food inspires me, how you coordinate basic elements to surprise and delight your guests. It’s a constant level of refining that you’re doing. I have the tools to make it happen, fine food and a great ambience,” Radek muses. “I’m the personality here, and I want to give people a memorable meal, whether it’s a special occasion or not, one that they will treasure in their memories.”

Radek seeks to delight his audience with an ever-changing menu of the most tantalizingly fresh flavors indigenous to Colorado as well as international tastes. “What I’m looking for is artisan products with the most exquisite flavors. The cheese may come from France, or the Jamon Serrano from Spain, but I will be adding Rocky Ford melons when they are in season, or Olathe sweet corn during the weeks of harvest, or whatever the network of coop farmers in Colorado presents. In the deep winter when Meyer lemons are in season, I make Meyer lemon marmalade. If it’s baby leeks they bring, that is what will be in my menu that night! I add my own flavors to engage the palates of our guests.”

Keystone Lodge & Spa, A RockResort, a AAA Four Diamond rated hotel, longest running member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Keystone Lodge & Spa offers two restaurants, a deli, and over 17,000 square feet of banquet space.

Restaurant accolades:

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2005-2007

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Eric Hall
Executive Sous Chef, Keystone Lodge & Spa

Eric Hall attended Beatie Technical School for his Culinary Arts Degree. He received his A.S. Degree Culinary Arts in the 2001 Inaugural Class from Johnson and Wales University in Denver and his Bachelor of Science from Business Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

The next five years he sharpened his culinary knowledge with an externship at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, as a Line Cook at The Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh, the Number one rated City Club in the nation. He participated in The Châine des Rôtisseurs Dinner in 2002. Eric was Sous Chef at The Lodge at Bear Valley in California and in the Mural Dining Room at Jackson Lake Lodge, Grand Teton Lodge Company.

Since 2006, he has been Executive Sous Chef at Keystone Lodge & Spa, A RockResort, a AAA Four Diamond rated hotel with two restaurants, lounge, deli, and over 15,000 square feet of banquet space.

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Chris Brinkman
Banquet Sous Chef, Keystone Lodge & Spa

Chris Brinkman, native of Colorado, completed culinary arts classes at Warren Technical School. From there he spent three years at the Rocky Mountain Chefs of Colorado Apprenticeship, completed 6,000 hours and earned a Certified Culinarian title.

He apprenticed at the Valley Country Club under the American Culinary Federation, Denver Chapter and also at Lakewood Country Club.

Chris has been Banquet Sous Chef at Keystone Lodge & Spa for a year.

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Steve Nguyen
Banquet Chef, Keystone Conference Center

Steve graduated at the top of the 2002 class of the Colorado Mountain College Culinary Apprenticeship Program and was named Apprentice of the Year. The apprenticeship program gave him the opportunity to work at Keystone’s three fine dining restaurants Keystone Ranch, Alpenglow Stube and Ski Tip Lodge.

After graduation from the apprenticeship program he was hired as Tournant Cook at the Conference Center and was then promoted to Banquet Chef.

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Steven Vlass
Banquet Sous Chef

A native of Massachusetts, Steven graduated from the Colorado Mountain College Culinary Apprenticeship Program in 2005. Prior to his CMC apprenticeship, he worked at Appollo Grill in Pennsylvania and Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida.
Eager to hone his skill and acquire more experience, Steven has competed in two American Culinary Federation competitions in the past year.

Keystone Conference Center is a purpose built complex offering over 45,000 square feet of event space. Keystone Conference Center consistently receives meeting industry recognition:

Meetings & Conventions Hall of Fame Gold Key winner
Meetings & Conventions, Gold Key 13 time winner
Successful Meetings Pinnacle Award 14 time winner
Meeting News Planners Choice Award 12 time winner
Corporate & Incentive Travel Award of Excellence Award 7 time winner
Medical Meetings Merit of Distinction 6 time winner
Meetings West Best of the West 4 time winner