Graduates of Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute

Our graduates are in demand because they have both knowledge and practical expertise

Charles MacDonald

Charles-MacDonaldTraditional, but Contemporary

A Colorado native, Chef Charles MacDonald received his culinary education at Keystone Culinary Institute, where he graduated as Colorado’s student culinarian of the year for 2007. Working with The PlimothOwner/Executive Chef Peter Ryan, Chef Charle 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 (Classic French and Italian cuisine with a modern twist)

Steve Nguyen
grad Steve Nguyen

Fast Track

“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 at the Keystone Conference Center in Keystone, Colorado.

Sara Watson
grad Sara Watson

Hands-on Experience

“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 and OpenTable. She manages the restaurant with her husband, Eric, another graduate.

Adam Kapela
grad Adam Kapela

Helpful Staff

“The most helpful part about Colorado Mountain College was the Staff, and the way classes were held. I am a very hands-on person and three years of working in a kitchen to get my degree was exactly what I was looking for. I always revisit my notes and books that I used in school.”

Adam Kapela works at the Black Butte Ranch, a destination golf resort in Bend, Oregon. He works there as Executive Sous Chef.

Sarah Naef

Photo of graduate Sarah Naef

Accommodating Program

“Going to college was not something I was ever really expecting to do, and because of the way this program was set up I was able to do it. I got a college degree, which is something I never thought I would do with three kids.”

Sarah Naef graduate from the Culinary Arts program in 2010. After working as a student and then a mentor at the Cannes film festival in France, she was hired as a permanent staff member. Currently, she lives in Carbondale with her family and works at Russets restaurant.

Scott Ulen
Photo of culinary arts graduate Scott Ulen.

Different Perspectives

“The hands-on nature of the CMC program was a great fit for me. Working in restaurant kitchens while attending classes allowed me to constantly practice the techniques I was learning in the classroom. I was able to move at my own pace through the program, and working in several different restaurants over the course of the program allowed me to see the restaurant business from multiple perspectives.”

Scott Ulen graduate in 2009. After working for a year at the Michelin-starred restaurant Tru, he has chosen to focus on charcuterie at the Chicago gastropub Owen & Engine.

Eric Watson
grad Erick Watson

Working Daily

“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 and OpenTable.