FAQ – Colorado Mountain College Culinary Arts Apprenticeship

Frequently Asked Questions about the CMC Culinary Arts Apprenticeship program in Keystone


What type of program is the Culinary Arts Apprenticeship?


We are a three-year intensive hands on culinary arts program that develops essential “real world” work experience skills and provides you with a solid “classroom education” at the same time.

Where is the campus?


We are based on the Keystone Resort. Our students rotate through a different kitchen every six months, which helps promote the development of a well-rounded cook and future chef. The restaurants that you will rotate through include the Keystone Ranch, The Alpenglow Stube, The Ski Tip Lodge, the Keystone Conference Center (one of the largest conference facility between Denver and Salt Lake City), and many other of the resort’s dining facilities. All of our culinary classes our taught at our Breckenridge location with the remaining general education courses being offered at either our Dillon or Breckenridge locations.

What is an apprenticeship?


Apprenticeship style education is based on an “On the Job Training” system where you learn by doing. You will be working in actual restaurants and will be required to perform at the level of the restaurant in which you are working. Your daily test is the guest eating your food. To graduate from the CMCI program you must have a minimum of 4,500 hours of experience.

Do I get paid?


Yes. As an Apprentice at Keystone you are also an employee. All apprentices are brought into the program at $10.00/hour. How quickly you receive a pay increase is based on your demonstrated performance in the kitchen. Most second year students are earning $11.50/hour. You will also qualify for a variety of benefits packages that will include health benefits, ski passes, and on mountain discounts. The benefits package that you qualify for may vary. For more details please call Keystone Human Resources directly.

When does the program start?


The program enrolls one new class of apprentices every June. Applications for the program must be postmarked by March and may be obtained by downloading the application from the culinary web page.

What are my chances of getting into the program?


The Keystone program is highly selective. We accept a new class of 12-17 students each June from an average applicant pool of 40 people. We are looking for applicants with a demonstrated ability to manage multiple activities. For example, going to school and working, or school and sports.

What about vacations?


You will be working in a Resort environment. During the typical vacation seasons we are at our busiest. You should plan on WORKING major holidays. Vacation time while enrolled in the program are during the Resort’s slow seasons that are during April and May in the spring, and October in the fall.

What about experience before I enroll?


We strongly recommend six months of experience in a restaurant that produces items from scratch before enrolling in the program. Most of our current students have either a year of experience OR six months of experience and have been enrolled in a ProStart course.

If you need help obtaining experience, contact the Director of the Program and ask about the working interview program. The Director may be reached at 970-496-4153.