FAQs About the Culinary Apprenticeship Program

Frequently Asked Questions about the CMC Culinary Institute

1. How do I know if this is the program for me?
2. How many restaurants will I work in?
3. Do you have a culinary competition team?
4. What are your student to teacher ratios?
5. What should I expect for a benefits package?

6. Are there culinary scholarships available?
7. What will I be paid while I am an apprentice?
8. Does Keystone offer staff housing?
9. Do I need foodservice experience to consider this program?
10. What if I don’t have experience?

1. How do I know if this is the program for me?
If you are looking for the best “hands-on” degree program that will provide you with the essential skills and knowledge to succeed in the modern culinary environment, you have found it. For over a decade the Colorado Mountain Culinary Institute has been training culinarians to succeed where the daily test of your learning is a paying guest in an actual dinning room. If you learn best by doing and you want to have the “real world” job skills that employers are looking for, we are a good fit for you.

2. How many restaurants will I work in?
Our unique partnership with Keystone Resort allows the Institute to rotate our students through as many as six different restaurants during their apprenticeships. Some of the restaurants you may work in include four fine dining establishments, a classic steak house, the largest conference center in the Rocky Mountains, a fondue-themed restaurant, an Italian-themed restaurant and many more dining locations. For more information on dining at Keystone, please visit the resort’s website at www.snow.com.

3. Do you have a culinary competition team?
Yes, the institute and the resort strongly support participation in culinary competitions. Over the past ten years, our junior competition team has represented Colorado at the ACF Western Regional competition five times. The team travels to several shows each year competing in Orlando, Florida, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, and Albuquerque. Participation on the team is based on desire and dedication. The chefs on the Resort have won the prestigious Knoebel Cup, a traveling trophy awarded for the culinary team that wins an annual competition sponsored by the ACF Colorado Chefs Association

4. What are your student-to-teacher ratios?
We believe this is one of the strongest assets of our program. Where most culinary programs will run ratios as high as 20 students to one chef, we average a 6:1 ratio in our culinary skills classes, AND you reinforce what you learn in class every day while you work!

5. What should I expect for a benefit package?
Keystone Resort offers several benefit packages to their employees that include medical, dental, and, vision coverage and a free multi-mountain ski pass. We understand that a happy, healthy cook is a better cook!

6. Are there culinary scholarships available?
In addition to the office of financial aid at Colorado Mountain College, Keystone Resort has a scholarship program awarding dollars based on academic and culinary performance. Successful students can earn 50% of the cost associated with tuition and fees. There are also funds awarded from various organizations based on your participation in culinary-related community services.

7. What will I be paid while I am an apprentice?
All culinary apprentices are started at $8.50/hour. You are then promoted through the resort’s “cooks” classification based on your completion of culinary skill sets. Currently, most second-year apprentices are earning $9.75/hour.

8. Does Keystone offer staff housing?
Yes, Keystone offers more staff housing than any other employer in the state of Colorado. As an apprentice you are eligible to live in staff housing. Housing is located on the resort, which reduces the need to have a car. Keystone has several housing options with the most popular running $389.00 per month for a two-bedroom, four-person apartment. The apartments are fully furnished and are leased on a month-to-month basis.

9. Do I need food service experience to consider this program?
Yes, most successful applicants for the Keystone program have six months to a year of professional kitchen experience. We strongly recommend that you work in a kitchen that prepares items from scratch for a minimum of six months to make sure you have the passion that will carry you through your culinary education.

10. What if I don’t have experience?
We can help you get experience through our “working interview.” We will place you in one of our restaurants alongside our apprentices during the winter season. You will be required to fulfill the same monthly learning objectives as the students and will have monthly performance reviews with your chef. If you successfully completed the interview, you will have a space reserved for you in the next culinary class. If you are interested in the working interview, please contact the director of the program in August or September for starting dates in November.

We hope this has answered most of your questions related to the Colorado Mountain Culinary Institute, Colorado Mountain College at Keystone. We suggest reading the book “Becoming a Chef” by Dorenburg and Page, available at your favorite bookstore. This motivational book highlights many industry professionals and the paths they took to achieve their individual success.